SUMMARY (ALL TIMES EST):
– Listen to our interview with Tablet Magazine's Yair Rosenberg here
– To read our coverage of the first day, click here
– Keynote speakers tonight include Mothers of the Movement and President Bill Clinton
– Opinion polls currently suggest a close race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
– Get in touch and let us know your thoughts, either via Twitter (@TheSaharZ) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LIVE UPDATES (PAGE MUST BE REFRESHED MANUALLY):
11:19They forgot the gavel again. Tip for tomorrow, glue it to your hand before you go on stage. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for following. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to bathe my fingers in ice until tomorrow. At 10am tomorrow, we go again. Have a good night!
11:18 Is there a motion to recess the convention? YES, MOTION, ME, OVER HERE!
11:15 There's now a prayer, which I *think* closes the night.
11:12 She's running up a real set-list here, she's onto song number 4. Pictures of all the past Presidents of the U.S.A flash by in chronological order on the big screen, before an effect of them being "smashed." It's a glass ceiling reference. Now the screen is taken up by a live feed of Hillary Clinton, who thanks everyone for their support.
11:09 Alicia Keys asks "where my Bernie people at??" to which the answer is "holding a sit-in at the press pavilion." Incidentally, last I heard, Philadelphia police had taken over the Buzzfeed section of the pavilion while they tried to decide how to remove the protesters from the tent. No word of a lie.
11:07 That said, none of the kids in my family have Alicia Keys' voice. Also, a parade of celebrities isn't necessarily a bad way to use the last prime-time segment of the night as far as the Democrats are concerned.
11:03 I sort of thought Bill Clinton's speech was going to close tonight. I'm losing focus a bit, but I think Meryl Streep's speech was about how great Hillary Clinton is. I definitely heard her talk about "grace and grit." You can fill in the gaps. You know at big family events where the kids plan a little show of some kind at the end when everyone thought it was over and everyone applauds them because "aww isn't it cute"? This is sort of the impression I'm getting here, just with celebrities instead of kids.
10:59 Anyway, it's over now, and Meryl Streep is on stage. Back to the Clinton speech:
That speech landed in the hall, no matter the "bill Clinton talks a lot" jokes on Twitter.
— Clare Malone (@ClareMalone) July 27, 2016
Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton made no direct mention of Trump's name. Don't think a single speech at the RNC didn't have Hillary's name
— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) July 27, 2016
Seriously, could have gone on another half hour as far as I'm concerned. Just a master of it.
— Jonathan Bernstein (@jbview) July 27, 2016
10:57 So twitter informs me it's called "Fight Song" and, among others, we have Idina Menzel (from the Frozen soundtrack), Jane Fonda, and Mandy Moore. Save a drowning man here… tweet me @TheSaharZ and let me know who else is here.
10:54 And he's done. Opinions on it coming up very soon. In the meantime… Elizabeth Banks is back on stage. There's still an entertainment segment to go tonight, including Alicia Keys. It starts with a group of celebrities who have recorded an acapella song for her campaign. If you can recognize any of them, please do let me know. I'm terrible at this. Bring back obscure State Senators from Georgia.
10:52 He talked about a trip Hillary sent him on to West Virginia about five minutes ago. Everything since then has apparently been off the teleprompter. This speech is a mix of planned and improvised.
10:50 The strategy in this speech is going head-to-head with the Trump campaign's assertions, specifically, the one about her as the "status quo" candidate.
10:49 The crowd starts up a chant of "Hilary! Hilary!" After letting them go on for a bit, he gives a wry smile and says "we have to get back on schedule."
10:45 After talking his way through all of Clinton's foreign policy achievements, he asks "how do you square this image of Hillary to that portrayed at the Republican convention? You just can't. One is real, one is made-up!" The camera pans round and catches Elizabeth Warren grinning like a child with front-row places at a One Direction concert.
Snark aside, there is something deeply moving about watching a man who asked his wife set aside her ambitions for his, repay the favor.
— Yoni Appelbaum (@YAppelbaum) July 27, 2016
10:41 In case you're wondering what year it is at the moment, 2008. Obama has just won the election and is trying to persuade Hillary to become his Secretary of State.
10:38 "As you'll see Thursday night when Chelsea speaks, Hillary has done a great job of being a mother" gets a big round of applause. Subsequently "You saw the same yesterday with Michelle Obama" gets a standing ovation. 24 hours later.
This Bill Clinton riff on Clinton being a change maker and worth her years in public life was ad libbed (teleprompter wasn't moving).
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) July 27, 2016
10:33 He's now talking about Israel in a context you don't often hear at these events; an educational method called HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) that the Clinton's saw in action on a trip to Israel and helped promote in the USA.
10:30 Conservative blogger and Fox News contributor. It is one of the more interesting points, that both candidates have the same perceived weakness, which will (probably) nullify it as a campaign issue.
GOP shouldn’t be questioning the motives of keeping a marriage together. They kept a vow that Trump broke twice.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 27, 2016
10:27 He's going through this chronologically. He's just been elected Governor, he's in his first year, and they're about to become parents. When he talks about Chelsea being born, the camera pans over to her. Any child knows there is no more awkward moment than hearing their parents talk about their birth in front of them. Multiply that times prime-time TV, and that's Chelsea Clinton at the moment.
10:24 Meanwhile in the protest area outside the arena…
Protesters are burning an Israeli flag now in front of the secure perimeter and chanting "intifada" pic.twitter.com/6YfGHBhR6z
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) July 27, 2016
10:20 Bill has moved on from the story of how they met, and is now at the story where he proposed to her, the first time. She said no.
— Jacob Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) July 27, 2016
Bill Clinton says he and Hillary have been walking together since Yale: "We have done it in good times & in bad, through joy & heart break."
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) July 27, 2016
10:13 What we do know is that the emphasis of this speech is set to be about Hillary Clinton the person, rather than Hillary Clinton the politician. The pressure is on here, because this is where she's traditionally weak, and nobody will be able to help more than her husband. He starts by going through the story of how they met. The crowd is on his side, laughing at his jokes.
10:11 Standing ovation for President Clinton, but then again, you knew that already. None of the speakers tonight really lit up the room, not since the roll-call, and Clinton was always the best bet to do it. So here goes.
10:10 I'll tell you one person who certainly didn't predict how the 2016 race would turn out up until now, and that's Donald Trump. If he had, he almost certainly wouldn't have tweeted this back in 2012:
Smart move by the Democrats to have Pres. @billclinton play a key role in their convention.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2012
Obama keeps namedropping Bill Clinton– he is no Bill Clinton.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2012
10:07 So this is set to be the final speech of the night, and it promises to be an exciting one. As mentioned earlier, there's been no early leak to the press, so nobody knows what's coming except for maybe, and that's only maybe, Bill Clinton himself.
10:05 on the subject of recognizable voiceovers, here's another one, and it's tonight's keynote speaker, and President number 42, William Jefferson Clinton. The music in the background is Snow Patrol's "Open Your Eyes." Just in case you were listening and wanted to find it.
10:03 This is the first openly foreign policy and security based speech. Albright references the recent email controversy, and says that the Russians "would be happy to see Trump win." You'd have got good odds before this election campaign started on the Republicans having to defend themselves from allegations of ties to Putin. Then again, you'd have gotten good odds on most of the things that have happened.
9:57 Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gets a standing ovation from the crowd. She was Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, and the first female to hold the role. She campaigned with Hillary earlier on in the campaign, and landed herself in hot water when she made statements which were interpreted as attacks on female Bernie supporters.
Klobuchar is fine, but seems like this would have been the point for a moderate GOP foreign policy type endorser.
— Jonathan Bernstein (@jbview) July 27, 2016
9:52 Even though the theme of this speech is ostensibly security, a good portion of it is devoted to a crossover between that and women's rights and women's issues, especially human trafficking. Now a survivor of human trafficking, Ima Matul, takes the stage to reinforce that point.
Gotta give Dean credit. Takes a man to laugh at himself.
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) July 27, 2016
9:47 Now speaking at the end of that video segment is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. One of the criticisms of day one of the DNC was that there was no mention of terrorism or security. Klobuchar takes that on straight away, and builds a case for Clinton as a leader who takes decisive action on security and human rights issues.
9:42 Now this I have to say I wasn't expecting. A video on Clinton's time as Secretary of State involves a long section on her work to achieve a ceasefire between the Israelis and the Palestinians during the large scale operation when she was Secretary of State. I'm not surprised she's talking up her foreign policy credentials, but prioritizing her role in the Israel/Palestine conflict resolution attempts is… brave. Also a large role for the Iran deal, which was highly controversial. At the talk today at J-Street, one of the speakers mentioned that he'd have liked the Iran deal to be mentioned, but conceded it was unlikely. Well here we are.
9:40 Elizabeth Banks directed Pitch Perfect 2 apparently. Now you know. She's back on stage again.
9:38 Dean is taking on Trump and Pence, and the crowd are booing every time he mentions their plans to "rip up Obamacare". He also references Pence's support by the tobacco lobby. He says that "as someone with a medical degree … cigarettes do harm your health, Governor, although I hear you didn't get the memo."
9:34 2004 Democratic candidate and former DNC chair Howard Dean is on stage. He's the first speaker to address "all the Republicans who couldn't recognize their party last week in Cleveland."
9:32 Moore gets a few laughs when he says "she always looks out for the *dramatic pause* little guy."
9:29 Actress Erika Alexander is on stage to give a brief introduction to the next speaker, Ryan Moore. He suffers from a form of dwarfism and is talking about the support he has gotten from Hillary for over 20 years. Again, the idea is "she's been doing this stuff since long before she was running for President."
9:21 This has been a run of speakers hammering home the same message. That, and the fact that it's so close to primetime, means this is a real emphasis. Rep. Crowley also attacks Trump, saying that he took money intended to help get mom-and-pop stores back on their feet to expand his empire. I imagine Trump will have a response to that.
9:20 Representative Joseph Crowley is on now, talking about the cousin he lost at 9/11, and the support and help Hillary Clinton provided him.
9:17 Manning is talking about how Clinton came to visit her when she was recovering. She says "I trusted her when my life was on the line, and she came through. Not for the cameras, and not when anybody was watching… This is the Hillary Clinton I want you to know." This is a very well delivered and received speech.
9:15 Detective Sweeney isn't a natural speaker, and he ends his speech with the words "Hillary Clinton keeps her promises, like she did for the excellent Lauren Manning" and walks off. Manning is on to speak now, she suffered burns to 82 percent of her body, and she gets a huge round of applause when she talks about how she fought to return to her 10-month old son, "so that the terrorists would not get one more." She gets a standing ovation.
9:08 In turn, it appears that Debra Messing was on stage to introduce Former NYPD Detective Joe Sweeney, who will be speaking on behalf of the first responders to 9/11. This is important to counter the narrative the Republicans are trying to build of the Democrats and Hillary Clinton as anti-law enforcement.
9:06 Interesting, Elizabeth Banks introduces Debra Messing. Do celebrity speakers need celebrity warm-up speakers? She's got one, anyway. New Yorker Messing is talking about the response to 9/11 and the shared values of Americans in responding to the events.
9:05 Oh, she's back. Elizabeth Banks is officially compering the event now.
8:59 Senator Barbara Boxer starts by asking the crowd "are you ready to elect the first female president of the U.S.A.?" I can only imagine she missed the hour and a half long roll-call which determined that question. And the three speakers who started their speech the same way.
Word just went out that there's no advance text on @billclinton speech. Because there's a good chance he is still writing it.
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) July 27, 2016
8:58 Governor of Columbia, South Carolina, Steve Benjamin comes out on stage to chants of "We love Steve" from his South Carolina delegation. He's talking about how he met Hillary, and how his 10-year-old daughter pledged her full support to the Clinton campaign.
8:48 A bit more star power now, as Lena Dunham and America Ferrera take the stage. Smart line "we know what you're thinking, who cares what some celebrity from off the TV thinks about politics, right? Yet they made him the nominee."
8:45 On the previous subject of Black Lives Matter, interesting point made by Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight. He says:
"You may think that opinion on the Black Lives Matter movement is equally divided, based on the usual pro and con news reporting. That’s not actually the case. According to the most recent CBS News poll, 41 percent of Americans mostly agree with Black Lives Matter. Only 25 percent mostly disagree."
8:43 Big response from the crowd for Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood. She starts by saying "This year is not just about electing a woman as President, it's about electing *this* woman as President."
8:40 Elizabeth Banks is back. She's not been on enough times to be compering, but she's still been on more times than anyone else. I don't really understand why she has such a pivotal role, but maybe I'm just not aware of her cultural impact?
8:38 Also, an interesting quote from the Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, was when she said "this isn't about being politically correct, this is about saving our children." That addresses a specific talking point that Trump and the GOP like to address, that they're the party taking a stand against political correctness.
8:35 The Mothers of the Movement leave the stage, and taking their place is Andra Day, along with a group of drummers.
8:32 The mother of Trayvon Martin is talking now. Trayvon's case was one of the highest profile cases, after he was shot by George Zimmermann, who was initially not charged, and then after mass protests, was charged but acquitted.
20:28 The mother of Sandra Bland gives a halting speech, as she holds back tears. It's openly political, telling the crowd to vote for Hillary Clinton. That might sound obvious, but not all the speeches have been. The mother of Jordan Davis speaks next, and talks about her son, who was shot "for playing loud music." The camera pans around the audience occasionally, and there are delegates in tears. She makes a point of saying "the majority of police officers are good people, doing a tough job."
20:21 The Mothers of the Movement is a group of mothers who lost sons to gun violence or law enforcement incidents. They include the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Dontre Hamilton and Eric Garner. There's a tribute to each of the boys in the introductory video. And here they are, accompanied by a chant in the crowd of "Black lives matter."
20:20 There's a President on stage. It's Tony Goldwyn, who portrays POTUS in the series Scandal. He's there to introduce the Mothers of the Movement.
8:18 He does talk about how the statistics prove that violent crime is actually going down, and has been consistently for decades, and how despite that, public trust in law enforcement is eroding.
8:16 The Police Chief of Pennsylvania is speaking now. It's in a similar vein to the previous speech, talking about the need to respect police officers, and for police officers to work with the community.
8:14 in case you thought I was joking about Donna Brazile's exit, here it is:
— Mashable GIF (@mashablegif) July 26, 2016
8:12 It's a solid speech by an individual talking about an issue he is highly qualified to talk about, but it's not setting the arena alight. They really need to try something different to win people back, unless they're happy for people to take a nap and preserve their energy for the keynote speakers.
8:08 Attorney General Eric Holder talking about the need for respect towards citizens by law enforcement, and repeats one of the catchphrases of the convention "stronger together." In the meantime, in case you were interested, the Sanders protesters in the media tent are still there. Somewhat self-defeatingly, some of them are refusing to talk to the media.
“Donald did you hear me? Already great nation.” — Eric Holder at #DNCinPHL
— Eli Lake (@EliLake) July 27, 2016
8:06 Freeman really does have a hypnotic voice. "a nation looking to find justice demands a leader who knows what it means." There's also a religious undertone to it, with a segment of Clinton reading a quote from scripture.
8:02 The founder of the Eagle Academies, which give an education to young African-Americans who might not otherwise get one, gives a good speech. His students, who line both sides of the stage, recite the poem "Invictus" in military-style unison. Now Elizabeth Banks (Hunger Games) is back on stage, introducing a video on social justice. If I'm not much mistaken (and I'm not), the voiceover on this video is Morgan Freeman. Now *him* I've heard of.
7:57 Donna Brazile literally just danced off the stage. Amazing.
7:54 Donna Brazile is speaking now, and like the previous speakers, is emphasizing the work Clinton did with the Children's Defense Fund, where they first met. She's getting a slightly better response from the audience, but it's definitely quietened down.
7:49 There's a whole string of speakers now with the same message, all about how Clinton has helped people for her whole life, there's a lot of focus on her life before she was elected to any office. This is meant to disprove the idea that she is only out for herself.
7:38 It's parody time, as Elizabeth Banks steps out on stage in a manner very similar to that of Donald Trump last week, while "We Are the Champions" blares out. I had to google her, if I'm being honest. She was in the Hunger Games.
7:34 Schumer talks about Clinton's responses on 9/11 and her fight for those who suffered diseases as a result of going in to help find survivors. He also talks about not just the need to elect Clinton, but the need to gain a senate majority, which will elect a liberal judge to the Supreme Court and overturn Citizens United.
7:31 Senator Chuck Schumer, who opens with "Hello New York!" He talks about working alongside Clinton, and about how "if she tells you something, take it to the bank."
7:28 And here is the grandfather, President Carter himself, appearing via video link.
7:26 State Senator of Georgia, Jason Carter, grandson of President Jimmy Carter, up on stage now. The video preceding him was of Donald Trump's statement on PoW's, so I assume his speech might have something to do with that.
7:24 Away from the main stage, Bernie supporters who walked out of the hall when Clinton was announced are now staging a sit-in, in the middle of the media pavilion. Smart tactic, if somewhat futile.
Never have so few been Periscoped by so many pic.twitter.com/Rgf4q1ZOpn
— Paul Singer (@singernews) July 26, 2016
7:22 Literally the only people applauding at this point are the other women on the stage.
7:19 I think they're giving everybody a go here… the audience isn't really responding any more.
7:16 among the female representatives speaking is Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who we will be interviewing on Thursday.
7:06 Nancy Pelosi up on stage, and alongside her all the women in the House of Representatives, all 65 of them.
7pm Governor Terry Mcauliffe has the easiest speaking gig of the convention. He could not bother speaking, and just stand there and flip the crowd the bird, and he'd still get rounds of applause.
6:59 Clinton's Press Secretary tweets:
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) July 26, 2016
6:54 Vermont gives 22 to Sanders, 4 to Clinton. Sanders stands up to speak, to rapturous applause. He moves to suspend the procedural rules, and that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee. Cue madness in the arena. People hugging each other, everyone on their feet, the place is absolutely rocking.
6:52 Back to Vermont to finish up. Bernie Sanders is with his delegation.
6:49 West Virginia keeps their report down to about 10 seconds. I''ve always liked West Virginia.
6:44 Vermont, where Clinton didn't get a single delegate, has chosen to pass.
6:43 Hillary Clinton is officially there! South Dakota was the state which pushed her over. We have the first ever female nominee of a major political party.
6:35 It would definitely make for a story, and help the cause of unity.
Lots of anticipation/suspense about the VT delegation, whether @BernieSanders will join, whether Clinton will be nominated by acclamation.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) July 26, 2016
6:32 Anybody seen the Eurovision song contest? This feels like that, but without the singing (Indiana's brief rap aside).
6:29 Now *that* would be special.
Clinton won 0 pledged delegates in Vermont. So that means it would need to put her over the top with superdelegates, one of whom is BERNIE!
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) July 26, 2016
6:27 We're not far now from the state which will tip Hillary Clinton over the edge and guarantee her the nomination. We're on Ohio, which was one of the ones discussed that might get the honor. Home-state of the convention, Pennsylvania, was also mentioned.
6:24 Still on the N's. Between the New's and the North's, possibly not surprising it takes too long. Northern Mariana Islands up now, for the first time ever. 2 votes for Sanders, 9 votes for Clinton. Might sound like a lot, but don't forget California had 551.
6:22 Harsh. Fair, but harsh.
It's a cross between taking attendance, this is your life, diner placemat state capitol trivia, and the announcer screaming goooooooooool!
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) July 26, 2016
6:20 I really hope there's a musical interlude after this. New York up now, the state of Hillary Clinton, and also the birthplace of Bernie Sanders, lest we forget.
6:16 Lot of states beginning with M and N. What's with that? New Jersey up at the moment.
6:06 There's a real party atmosphere inside the arena. If the Dems were hoping this would united the crowd and end the tensions, it really seems to be working.
6:02 We're up to the Chairlady's own State of Maryland. In case you were wondering. Anybody got a running tally?
I don't recall nearly as much down-ballot plugs during the RNC roll call last week. But to be honest that feels like months ago.
— Jody Avirgan (@jodyavirgan) July 26, 2016
5:52 Remember the freestyle rap I was hoping for from the governor of Pennsylvania yesterday? We just got it from the Indiana delegate instead.
5:49 Anyone got an abacus?
5:45 Guam have travelled 8000 miles across nine time zones to vote. I feel like that deserves a round of applause. Doesn't get one though.
Bernie Sanders' brother Larry reads the names of their parents to the convention and even my cynical eyes water
— Nick Riccardi (@NickRiccardi) July 26, 2016
5:39 Casting the final vote for "Democrats abroad" is Bernie's brother, Larry Sanders. He dedicates the vote to his parents, and gets a huge round of applause from the audience. He voted for Bernie, in case you were wondering.
5:37 Delaware – "The state that brought you nylon" catchy.
5:36 I'm not keeping up with the votes, but it does sound like it's all going comfortably according to plan. Apologies to any Bernie supporters out there hoping for a last minute miracle.
5:35 Connecticut announces itself as "the home of pizza." Any Italians want to take that up?
5:32 California up now, with 531 votes to assign. 221 to Bernie Sanders, and 330 votes to Hillary Clinton.
5:28 You'll forgive me for not repeating each vote of each state. There's a lot of them and they're rattling through them.
5:25 Each state is called out, told how many votes it has, and asks how it votes. Each delegate is also giving a small plug for its state. Alabama goes first, it has 60 votes, and counts 50 for Clinton and 9 for Sanders. If you're confused about the math, so is the chair of the committee, who shrugs and says "I'll count it as an abstention."
5:23 The roll-call of the states begins now. The chair of each state's delegation will report the vote of its delegation.
5:15 Representative John Lewis of Georgia is seconding for Clinton tonight.
5:10 Senator Barbara Mikolski of Maryland is first up to endorse Hillary Clinton. No booing tonight, it seems like the rowdy Sanders' supporters of yesterday are on board, or at least staying quiet if not.
5:09 – Correction, Shyla Nelson is also seconding Bernie Sanders. She's the second person to second him. He stands and waves to the crowd, who serenade him with another round of chanting and applause.
5:07 The cameras pan to the audience and zone in on Bernie Sanders. Cue outbreaks of chanting among his supporters.
5:05 He finishes up by saying "that's why we should endorse Bernie Sanders." Not sure I follow the logic, but there we go. Anyway, delegate Shyla Nelson of Vermont is up now, I presume, to endorse Hillary Clinton.
5:04 – Now I'm confused. Feeney has just said "we have to join together to endorse Hillary Clinton as President of the United States." I mean, we know she's going to win, but surely if your sole purpose is to second the nomination of Sanders, you should at least pretend?
5:03 Five times.
5:02 Seconding Gabbard's endorsement is trade unionist Paul Feeney. He's said "brothers and sisters" four times in the first minute of his speech.
5pm Tulsi Gabbard endorsed Bernie back in February, and while she has accepted that Clinton is the presumptive nominee, she has not endorsed her.
6:57 The Sanders crowd are cheering every sentence. I can hardly bring myself to break it to them, but unless we get an absolutely incredible turn of events, I bring a message from an hour into the future, and it's that Clinton will be nominated.
4:54 Looks like we're going to get our roll-call vote early. Loud chants on both sides now, for Sanders and Clinton. We start with nominating speeches. We start with nominating and secondary speeches on behalf of Bernie Sanders. First up, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.
4:51 Another difference between the speakers last week and this, is a much bigger emphasis on specific policies, for example with laws that Hillary Clinton will support as President. Grimes has everybody in the crowd on their feet, admittedly by telling them to stand up. As she concludes, another round of "Hillary! Hillary!" goes up. The crowd really seem in the mood tonight, straight from the start.
4:48 Alison Lundergan Grimes is up now, the youngest Secretary of State in the nation, representing Kentucky. There weren't many southern accents on display yesterday, now I think about it. She makes the point too, saying she's "proud to be part of a new generation of Southern Democrats."
4:45 Tom Harkin is using sign language, and is now teaching the whole audience a sign. Both hands clasped, making a circular motion in front of the body. It's the ASL sign language symbol for "America" and it goes down well with the crowd. The crowd is a lot more on-side than 24 hours ago, with a few chants of "Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton" as he walks off stage.
4:41 That's the ceremonial part of the evening concluded. Now we kick off the speeches, and it's Tom Harkin, a former senator from Iowa is up first.
4:38 the Pledge of Allegiance is recited by Paralympic gold medallist Mallory Weggemann, and now the national anthem is being sung by Timmy Kelly.
4:30 On the dot, we are underway.
4:21 The hall seems to be filling up nicely, and we're almost set to go. Among the things to look out for is the roll-call vote, where each state announces which way it's delegates will be voting. That is set to take place at around 6pm. Here's a brief run-down of what to expect tonight, courtesy of the New York Times.
4:19 Also since the start of the day, Mothers of the Movement seem to have been moved lower down the bill for tonight. Not quite sure what the reasoning behind that is, but maybe Tim Kaine will be at the top of the bill instead? He's set to speak during the convention, and he doesn't currently feature on the schedule.
4:17 Rumored to be among the musical acts tonight is Alicia Keys. I've got to say that on star power, the Democrats definitely seem to have the edge, no disrespect to the RNC's house band or Scott Baio.
3:33 As I mentioned earlier, the main goal of tonight for the Democrats is to make Hillary Clinton more "human" and likeable. Three or four years ago, she was as popular as an ice-cream truck in a heatwave. Since the start of the campaign however, her favorability ratings have been falling like Carly Fiorina at a Ted Cruz event, and she's now at a net -15 according to Huffington Post's average.
2:30 Ok, we're done at the second and last J-Street event for the day, which means we can turn our attention to tonight, and what we can expect to hear from our speakers.
2:28 Ilya Sheyman repeats something I've heard a few times here, which is that it was either the Iran deal or war. This seems to be a slight oversimplification in my book, but how do you feel about it? Tweet @TheSaharZ or email email@example.com
2:26 Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent for Al-Monitor says that we shouldn't resort to "knee-jerk reactions" to everything Iran does, but examine each issue on its own.
2:22 Toni Verstandig of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace says the tensions between the two parties on the Iran issue are "good tensions" that are promoting discussion and dialogue, and that there should be an attempt to find bipartisan agreement.
2:18 Question from Nahal Toosi, "do you think Donald Trump would actually back out of the Iran deal if he got elected?" reply from Congressman Blumenauer: "depends what day of the week it is."
2:09 Rep. Blumenauer says that "engagement is powerful" and that "if we'd had exchanges with Cuba for the last 40 years, Fidel Castro would have been a footnote."
2:05 Sheyman says that every time we discuss Iran as a security issue, we lean into the Republican narrative. He also repeats something I heard in the earlier session, which is that the only alternative to the Iran deal was war.
2:01 The balance on the panel is being provided by Iranian-born foreign affairs correspondent for Politico, Nahal Toosi, who is asking some very tough questions. Her latest regards whether the panellists genuinely believe that this agreement will change the policies of the government of Iran for the better. Barbara Slavin is trying to make the point that Iranian society has adjusted, she says Iran is "one of the more secular societies she has visited in the Middle East" and that they would be "predisposed to like us, if we reach out to them." Ilya Sheyman says that the way Americans view Iranian domestic politics is the same way Iranians view American domestic politics.
1:57 Also starting in a couple of minutes is the Democratic Convention Jewish roundtable event. We're going to try and provide some updates from that as well. In terms of this event, there's a lot of talk so far about the economic impact of *not* trading with Iran, with the case of Boeing's sale of planes to Iran being mentioned several times. One speaker points out that other than Boeing and a few other companies, many are still barred from trading with Iran. If you want to give your opinion on the deal and the implications, you can tweet @TheSaharZ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
1:25 I'm back with J-Street, for a talk on the Iran deal and J-Street's role in the campaigning in favour of it. Spoiler alert, I'm expecting them to speak about why they liked it and why they did a good job supporting it.
1:02 In today's installment of "technology hates me," we're having a bit of trouble with the page, which we're currently trying to correct.
12:51 Let's try that again. Here is our second interview, and it's with Yair Rosenberg. Yair is a senior writer for Tablet Magazine, and one of the most prominent Jews on Twitter. We talked about anti-Semitism online, and his thoughts on the race so far. It's a great interview, click below to listen.
12:30 apologies to those who saw the previous message, there was a technical issue with the interview which we're now working on. It should be up within the next 10 minutes.
11:59 I've relocated to a cafe in between events, which is playing 90's pop classics. I might just stay here for the rest of the day. Air conditioning and cheesy pop, that's all I ask for.
11:36 We're pretty much done with the morning session here at J-Street. Another one to come this afternoon.
11:29 I may also be interviewing someone from J-Street (not confirmed yet), so if you have any questions you'd like me to put to them, let me know via the usual means, either on twitter @TheSaharZ or via email to email@example.com
11:22 The numbers regarding the Jewish community and its voting preferences will be the subject of one of our upcoming interviews, so keep an eye out for it
— (((Ron Kampeas))) (@kampeas) July 26, 2016
11:18 In case you're eagerly waiting for tonight, here's what you can expect. The theme is "a lifetime of fighting for children and families" and will focus on Clinton's record and character, and on her trustworthiness, an area where she is perceived as being weak. There is also going to be a state-by-state roll-call vote, which is the last stand for Sanders' delegates. In the primetime speaking slot will be President Bill Clinton and speakers from the Mothers of the Movement organization.
— (((Ron Kampeas))) (@kampeas) July 26, 2016
11:10 Bernie Sanders has been booed at a breakfast of the California delegation. This is the same delegation which was booing every speaker last night
— Mollie Reilly (@MollieReilly) July 26, 2016
Sanders to CA supporters: "It is easy to boo, but it is harder to look your kids in the face if we are living under a Trump presidency."
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) July 26, 2016
11:08 There is definitely a packed house here, it's standing-room only.
— Tali deGroot (@talidegroot) July 26, 2016
11:00 Representative Yvette Clarke of the 9th Congressional District of New York gives an interesting brief talk about her constituency in Brooklyn, which includes Lubavitcher, Modern Orthodox, and Reform communities, all in close proximity to each other, and the fine line she has to walk on many issues.
10:56 The Iran deal is the subject of the next panel, but it has already come up here several times. Jim Gershtein says that the polling they did showed that 60 percent of Jews supported the Iran deal, higher than in the general public.
10:52 I should mention there is a small anti-J-Street protest outside. There are about 20 protesters from the Republican Jewish Coalition, leading chants against J-Street, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
— Amna Farooqi (@afarooqi99) July 26, 2016
10:42 Jim Gerstein, a pollster who has done work for J-Street, says that for 90 percent of Jews, Israel is not one of their top two issues that affect how they vote. He says that doesn't mean they don't care about Israel, but that they feel that both parties are sufficiently pro-Israel.
10:36 David Axelrod is the first speaker. He was the Chief Strategist for President Obama's Presidential campaigns, and was a senior advisor to him during his first term of office. The discussion is about "evolving politics of the Jewish community." He is talking about "remembering the importance of the special relationship between Israel and the USA" but equally, "not to be afraid to campaign for issues which you believe are in the interests of Israel, which brings us back to the two-state solution."
10:30 It's not yet 11am and I'm sat in a steakhouse, which in Philadelphia feels almost normal. I'm here for a couple of J-Street events which are taking place today. In between of course, I'll be updating you on everything else that's happening around the city.
9:57 Welcome back for the second day of the Democratic National Convention. Before we start, let's take a spin around the internet and see what people are saying about yesterday’s speeches:
Politico’s Glenn Thrush says that Bernie Sanders came across not so much pro-Hillary as anti-Trump, that Michelle Obama’s speech was “perhaps the single most effective political address delivered in 2016” and that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s speech was “solid but unmemorable.”
Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza also praises Michelle Obama’s speech, calling it “an absolute home run.” He also praises Sanders’ speech, although like Thrush, the praise is slightly more muted, calling it “generally, fine – if too long.” He adds that the fact that he wasn’t booed, and the three minute long applause he got before he could even start speaking, made it a good night for the Vermont Senator. He differs from Thrush on Silverman’s spontaneous outburst; “to the Bernie-or-bust people, you’re being ridiculous!” saying it will be “one of the memorable lines of the convention. He also singles out Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who had “a total disaster of a day” after she was booed at her own delegation breakfast, and pushed out of any involvement at the convention.
The New York Times follows the theme of Michelle Obama being “the unquestioned star” of the night, and praises Sanders and Warren for their “full-throated” endorsement of Clinton. They also mention the Sanders delegates who agitated for most of the first half of the program.
On the other side of the aisle, the conservative RedState blog declares the big winner of the night to be… Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. Their article says the evening was “long on scare tactics about Trump, short on any reasons to support Hillary Clinton that would be persuasive to anyone who wasn't already committed.” Jennifer Rubin, conservative blogger for the Washington Post, had a lot of praise for the first day, saying that “with more star power and better music, the Democratic convention looked and sounded happier than the Republican gathering.” She also highlighted the video showing Trump mocking a disabled reporter, and the backlash to it (including from Fox News commentators and Gov. Chris Christie), which was followed immediately after by a speech by cerebral palsy sufferer Anastasia Somoza, calling it a “’10’ on the scale of political hits.”