2016 Convention Dispatches

Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee (DTC) member Susan Cocco attended the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia on July 25-28. These are her dispatches from the convention floor.

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Final Dispatch, Posted 8/29/2016 @ 10 am — Day 4 (July 28) Observations:

The bar is set. It is very high. And why not?

We are America. We are great. We are proud. Perseverant. Strong in spirit. Mighty. Courageous. Diverse. Forgiving. Smart. Ingenious. Leaders of the world.

And above all, STRONGER TOGETHER.

The four night display of breathtaking talent, top-tier surrogates from the military, science, healthcare, civil rights, veterans, gun safety, healthcare, economic development, foreign affairs, all faiths, staggers the mind. To be present was an honor and a joy.

The grit, love and hope of citizens, the devotion to others demonstrated not only by the vets, the dreamers, the wounded, victims of 9/11, brutality, flood and disasters, gun violence as well as Hillary Clinton reaffirms the progress, the possibilities and the success of every day people, supported not by hand outs but by hands across our nation.

The final night of the convention was stunning in its stark contrast to the dismal view of Americans and our country offered by Trump.

It is obvious.

Can Trump marshall vets, preachers, police from all over the country, teachers, terrorism experts (real ones), jobs builders, Congressional and Senate leaders, decorated as well as unsung heroes the way HILLARY does? NO.

Did Trump demonstrate that former rivals, critics and doubters are ready to support him and his plan and vision the way HILLARY does? NO.

Did Trump provide proof points that other than his immediate family members he’s has made real economic impact on Americans, worked to remediate the “wrongs” he sees and did something about it the way HILLARY does? NO.

Did Trump back up claims that he will be a great commander in chief, negotiate with or confront detractors or enemies with clarity, confidence, judgement, as well as the ability to be measured, yet swift, the way HILLARY does? NO.

Has Trump made it clear that he can bring Republicans, Independents, Democrats and the non-partisans into one nation, ready to work that way HILLARY can? NO.

Can Trump state that he has faith (of any kind), believes in the unity of spirit, goodness of the people, and understands that the American people not only want a fair shot for themselves and their families, but also for their communities the way HILLARY does? NO.

Can Trump articulate how he alone will make us great, why we should believe him, and what “great” means, the way HILLARY does? NO.

The stunning vote of confidence of ordinary people, unsung heroes, defenders, protectors, generals, grieving parents, children, warriors, healers of faith, healers of might, scientists (loved that), teachers, workers, leaders great and small was extraordinary.

The arena was an atmosphere of revival, community meeting, and a call to action.

And not of course just because she’s done this work for decades, but also because of HOW she did it and the success she’s had.

On stage for all to see and hear on night four was the woman who can be our President. Someone to be proud of. Someone who is proud of us. Someone with the ability to listen, adapt, think, and change. Someone with our best interests at heart. Who won’t ever, ever quit, who dreams big and who makes those dreams a reality.

Hillary Clinton is not only the woman who CAN be our President, she is the person who MUST be our President.

STRONGER TOGETHER.

From Philadelphia. With grit and determination. With confidence that we are a mighty people. With gratitude for what we have done and will do. With the knowledge that America is second to none. With hope in my heart.

And with the conviction and certainty, that we must win and that we can.

Posted 8/28/2016 @ 11:24 am — Day 3 (July 27) Observations:

Respect for each other. Positivity. Make efforts to be the best society for all. Work together. These themes infuse all events, from the sweeping rhetoric at the hall to the policy sessions and caucuses.

Breakfast — Our Congressional delegation, along with Senators Murphy and Blumenthal are considered heroic and feisty. Dan Malloy’s stand on guns, living wage, paid sick days has made an impact on other states. I’ve heard from those in the hall and in events when I introduce myself that Dan’s speaking on guns in particular, is powerful. He’s been to other states via the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and made the case that we must get common sense back in order to reduce, or dare I say end, gun violence.

Respect. Work together. Step up to the era where we will work hard for jobs, families, education and strong communities. We are not living in darkness.

We heard this from Congressman Joe Kennedy III, Congressman Kathleen Clarke of MA and Congressman John Lewis.

John Lewis addressed the CT delegation at breakfast. Stolid, passionate and utterly grounded in the urgent need to make our lives better, and to come to righteous and just measures to stem gun violence, get better safety measures in place and make it a moral imperative to live together respectfully.

John Larson and others made it clear that Republicans in Congress who DO support common sense measures on background checks, gun safety, etc., are being held hostage by Republican leadership and the NRA.

Message to citizens: make it clear that we want them to vote with their constituents, with compassion, with common sense, not with their leadership or the NRA.

Message to Ridgefield–hold Frey accountable for supporting the Republican Platform. And don’t shy from bringing it up or bringing up other votes where he doesn’t reflect his constituents.

Scenes from the Arena:

  • Native American delegates in traditional clothing, festooned with “I’m With Her” buttons
  • Young, young, young activists and idealists everywhere in their best, eager to soak it in
  • Older (OK, not that old) women in particular, tears streaming down their faces as we nominated Hillary
  • People of every color and ethnicity–it is amazing–not only did the Democrats have more diversity on the stage in one hour than the Republicans had in four days–our delegates reflect America.

Delegate Chatter:

  • If you are in possession of a floor pass, a hall pass or heck, even an “arena” pass (which gets you in but not a seat–anywhere), you have gold in your hands. This is crazy. Stories everywhere of people begging from friends in delegations across the country, lobbyists, organizations with “honored guest” status. I am very, very, very grateful to be here.
  • Chatter–there are more potential candidates for 2018 swirling around this delegation than you can image, for all kinds of offices. Lots of folks not quite being direct but coy. Lots of them having small one on ones in the rear of rooms.
  • CT’s bigger cities are here–Toni Harp, Luke Bronin, Joe Ganim. The Party leadership is going in this direction I believe.
    Parties or policies–every attendees is confronted daily with 20+ meetings, lunches, receptions, some fluff, others a combination of fluff and speeches, a few speeches and real policy. Like every other convention I have attended, delegates seem to be interested in events, some speeches and lots of parties and receptions. I am an outlier.

Last Night:

  • JOE BIDEN–there is nothing more to be said.
  • Let’s talk about LEON PANETTA. His speech, and that of MIKE BLOOMBERG were devastating to the Republicans (I hope). To see the Head of the CIA go over the top in outrage was amazing. To see Bloomberg (gotta love it), make it clear that he was worried and we needed to elect Hillary as an Independant was great (hope it plays in Peoria, but I think it will play amongst “real” Republicans.
  • Obama–I will miss him, greatly.

Posted 8/28/2016 @ 10:42 am — Notes from Tuesday (July 26):

Day 2 of the convention, inside and outside of the arena focused on women, families and health. And woman power was on display.

The DNC Women’s Caucus featured the notables of the Party and organizations including the movement for the ERA, equal pay, paid family leave and Planned Parenthood. Most impressive were the panels of elected women from across the country.

For local Town Committees, I was inspired by a panel of four young (32 and younger) African American women who were elected in their 20s and are making impact on their communities and states. The Vice Chair of the Boston City Council, a 3 term (elected at 24) member of the Colorado State Assembly who proudly announced that she was running for Speaker of the House, along with the other young women on the panel, spoke confidently that their election was part of a movement to bring more equity, better schools, family and community action to fruition. I was struck by their presumption that they belonged, the time is now, run and make a difference. Women of even a decade ago in my opinion were groundbreaking, testing, working and getting their lives, careers, and homes together in order to run. Younger women benefit from the efforts of those before them, but most importantly as Millennials, they expect to be entrepreneurial, to take a stand, demand transparency, and work with others to have their values and priorities drive action. They inspired me.

Roll call was inspiring. The grandeur of America, our people(s), our stories and our dreams were up close and very present during the roll call to nominate Secretary Clinton. If you did not tune in the roll call provides delegates –many of them party officials, others “plain” citizens to get to the microphones and call out their votes. Beaming, smiling and proud. It is the only time that individual voice are heard from the floor. While we knew the outcome in advance, it was thrilling.

Lots of work behind the scenes to ask delegation whips to keep members respectful and to acknowledge the hard work on bringing all together to defeat Trump.

At every breakfast, event, speech I attend, there is a “shout out” to “Bernie” delegates for their energy, contributions and efforts. The importance of defeating Trump cannot be underestimated.

I know many watched President Clinton, who of course, was exceptional. I have one observation for all, which is that he was asking us to “marry” Hillary…just like he did.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 10:15 pm:

When Biden dropped his voice to a whisper thousands of people were silent. When he left the stage the house was raucous.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 11:09 pm:

Photos from this evening on the convention floor:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 3:45 pm:

Photos from last night and today:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 7:47 am:

Philadelphia under a heat dome reminds us of just how the heat and humidity made the task of coming to agreement even more challenging when the framers worked to create the Declaration of Independence.

The city, streets and highways are festive, clean, and nearly empty of workers and residents who gave over their town to delegates and activists.

Our CT delegation is well placed in the Wells Fargo Center, behind a media pool, with a birds eye view of Wolf Blitzer and the many, many A and not so A list commentators here providing continuous coverage. There are no empty seats. The seats are filled with a rainbow of Americans, all here to be inspired, and to work to bring about a victory in November. The contrast with the Republicans could not be greater.

Last night we were proud to hear Dan Malloy tell his story, there were literally gasps on the floor when he revealed that of course, he was the boy that was told he couldn’t or wouldn’t succeed. Many delegates on buses, in line mentioned him, as his stance on gun safety is well-known. Dan is making the rounds of delegate breakfasts as a speaker, furthering his message and his work for Hillary.

The night belonged to Michelle Obama. Fierce, smart, loyal, and great leader, mother and marker of all things we have done and have yet to do. Cory Booker was a preacher, leading us to our higher selves. Bernie in the house received the validation of the crowd when he indicated that the Party has moved to embrace signature issues and concerns. He walked off the stage knowing that we will work to insure that there are no Trumps in our future.

The tone here is positive, energized and very unified. The best of us is on display.

Susan