Monday, June 20, 2016

Democratic Convention Leaves Convention Goers Fired Up; Celebrates Diversity, Unity

Christina Hale and John Gregg
Photo from Gregg for Governor on Facebook
I attended my sixth Indiana Democratic Party Convention this weekend, and I came away from it feeling fired up and ready to go.

Conventions are pretty familiar to me now.  They are typically organized in a similar fashion.  You check in, mingle for a bit, then go to your Congressional District Caucus Meeting.  In that meeting, you elect the delegates to the National Democratic Convention as well as listen to speeches from candidates and other folks.  The 7th District affair went smoothly.

During the lunch break, I had a chance to people watch.  With a women's gospel music convention, Indy PopCon, and 2,150 Democrats in the Convention Center, there was plenty to see.  Many Democrats went across Maryland and Washington Streets to the Rally Against Hate.

The festivities resumed about 1:30 pm in the individual constituency group meeting.  For the last few conventions, I've attended the Indiana Stonewall Democrats constituency meeting, but there were groups for a variety of constituencies.  The ISD group focuses in on the LGBTQ community.  It gives the candidates a chance to speak to the individual groups that make up the big tent of the Democratic Party.

After an hour break, the main session of the convention convened.  This is always one of my favorite parts of the day.  You never know what's going to happen when you get 2,150 or so Democrats in one room.  It can be like herding cats.

John Zody, the Indiana Democratic Party Chair, did a great job navigating a tricky set of circumstances.  Some delegates reportedly loyal to Bernie Sanders wanted the resolutions passed by the resolutions committee read in full on the floor of the convention.  When that motion failed, the Sanders supporters made a new motion to read the titles of the resolutions that were defeated by the resolutions committee.  After a close vote, Zody had the committee read the four resolution titles that were defeated.  One of the resolutions that failed would have removed the superdelegates from being eligible to vote in Philadelphia.

Sanders won Indiana, but many of the Hoosier superdelegates have committed to vote for Hillary Clinton effectively equalizing out the delegate count for the presumptive nominee.  Superdelegates have been a part of the party's national convention since 1984.

Other than earlier a scene where Sanders supporters waved signs in the face of Hillary Clinton's new Indiana campaign director, there were no major outbursts or stoppages of the convention, and things moved along swiftly.  Other state conventions have been interrupted or have devolved into chaos.  Indiana's did not.

There wasn't much mention of Hillary Clinton at all in the main session.  Congressman Andre Carson mentioned her, but he also reached out to the Bernie Sanders supporters crediting the Vermont Senator for his run and for moving the discussion to the left.  He brought the floor to its feet.

Also speaking were U.S. Senate candidate Baron Hill, Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, Attorney General nominee Judge Lorenzo Arredondo, and Lieutenant Governor nominee Christina Hale.

John Gregg left the convention floor standing and cheering wildly.  The man from Sandborn deftly attacked Mike Pence while touting his own plans for the office in a spectacular speech with many applause lines.  One of the biggest was when Gregg said his administration would be based on "competence, common sense, and inclusion."

"But unlike what we see today, a Gregg/Hale Administration will be lean, clean, but not mean,"said Gregg.

The entire convention had a theme of unity.  LGBTQ Hoosiers were right at the center.  Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the Permanent Chairman of the Convention.  Dana Black, a candidate for the Indiana House of Representatives was a Sergeant-at-Arms and also gave a very moving tribute to the young men and women killed in the Pulse Orlando mass shooting last week.

Republicans met on the day before that mass shooting and voted to write discrimination into theri party's state platform.

Democrats have nominated a tremendous ticket.  This time around I feel very good about John Gregg's chances.

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