The 2016 Democratic Convention by the numbers
Posted on July 22, 2016 by Palmer Gibbs
The Democratic National Convention kicks off its four-day meeting on Monday, July 25, just a few days after the dust settled on the Republicans’ respective gathering. Democrats will rally the faithful in Philadelphia, finalizing their presidential nominee as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and marking the first time a woman will sit at the top of the ticket for a major political party.
Although the Republican primary grabbed more headlines for its salty language and internal discord, the Democratic race didn’t exactly feature “Kumbaya” singing circles. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders engaged in a hard-fought battle for every last delegate until the bitter end, holding out on endorsing Clinton until mid-July.
That’s all in the rearview mirror now, as Dems coalesce around their nominee and prep for a week of speeches, floor votes and so very many balloons. Graphiq politics site InsideGov examines the Democratic National Convention and highlights the key facts and figures behind this year’s event.
According to convention organizers, Sanders and first lady Michelle Obama will speak on Monday, former President Bill Clinton will speak on Tuesday and President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will speak on Wednesday. Hillary Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, will have prime-time speaking slots on Thursday, when Clinton will officially accept the nomination.
Democrats also announced that more than 60 other federal, state and local lawmakers will speak during the convention. Exact details are still TBD, but expect to hear from the likes of New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro, South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton’s freshly minted vice presidential pick, is also slated to speak.
A huge source of contention throughout the Democratic primary surrounded the party’s so-called superdelegates, a mix of elected officials and party execs who can vote for whichever candidate they choose. Superdelegates are different from regular delegates, who are bound to support the candidate their state chose during the primary or caucus vote.
Clinton garnered the support of most superdelegates throughout the race, thanks in no small part to her many years in Democratic politics.
Superdelegates have been a controversial piece of the Democratic nomination process for years, but momentum is building this cycle for a change to the system. Democrats will discuss potentially putting the kibosh on superdelegates during a meeting about party rules this year. According to NBC News, Sanders and company are prepped for a fight over cutting superdelegates.
How’s this for a spot-on reflection of the current state of American politics? As Republicans released a very conservative party platform before their convention, Democrats pushed through one of their most progressive platforms ever. Even though Sanders lost the nomination, during platform discussions, he advocated strongly for a variety of policy positions that move the Democratic Party more to the left.
The draft platform, which will be made official during the meeting in Philadelphia, calls for raising the minimum wage to $15, cutting carbon pollution and creating a “reasoned pathway for future legalization” of marijuana. It advocates for national nondiscrimination policies for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and for a pathway to citizenship for otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants.
The nuts and bolts of the convention will take place at the Wells Fargo Center in the southern part of Philadelphia, near FDR Park. According to news reports, higher-ups in the local Democratic Party have been lobbying to get the convention to Philly since 2010. Dems last met for a nomination meeting in the city in 1948.
Convention organizers estimated the event would pump about $350 million into the local economy. But local news startup Billy Penn found that figure will likely end up much lower. It reported that the Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau estimated “an overall economic impact of $170 to $250 million.”
Security around the Republican convention was a hot topic, especially considering the head of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, told Congress that he was “concerned about the prospect of demonstrations getting out of hand” in Cleveland. Similar unease hasn’t bogged down the Democratic installment, but event organizers still publicized a list of “prohibited items,” including weapons of any kind, drones, backpacks or ammunition.
Officials in Philly are bracing for “tens of thousands of protesters,” according to local news outlets. Nearby FDR Park will have six protest zones, plus first aid and water stations. A sizable group of pro-Sanders supporters, who organized via social media, plan to converge for large demonstrations at the convention. One organizer told a local TV station that he got city approval for 30,000 demonstrators at FDR Park.
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