Live from the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia

     (CN) – A team of reporters from Courthouse News is reporting live from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Monday is Sen. Bernie Sanders’ big day at the convention. After speaking with 1,900 of his delegates Monday morning, he will address all of the delegates tonight. Also speaking are a trio of Democratic Party all-stars: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts; Sen. Cory Booker, of New Jersey; and First Lady Michelle Obama.
     10:09 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker woke up a sleepy Democratic National Convention with a hopeful speech calling for unity and love Monday night.
     “My fellow Americans, we cannot fall into complacency or indifference about this election because still the only thing necessary for evil to be triumphant is for good people to do nothing, you know the saying,” Booker said. “My fellow Americans, we cannot be seduced by cynicism about our politics, because cynicism is a refuge for cowards and this nation is and must always be the home of the brave.”
     Booker, once rumored to be on Hillary Clinton’s shortlist for vice president, drew a standing ovation from the crowd with a paraphrase of Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.”
     He criticized Donald Trump and praised Hillary Clinton as a fighter for the poor and less fortunate.
     He spoke of America as a nation of love and called it to rise above cynicism and hatred to work together to make the country a better place for all those who live in it.
     Booker’s speech drew easily the loudest cheers of the night and left the convention hall buzzing while the audience awaited First Lady Michelle Obama.
     “We are the United States of America, we will not falter or fall,” Booker said. “We will not retreat or surrender our values. We will not surrender our ideas. We will not surrender the moral high ground.” — Tim Ryan
     9:54 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA Liberal stalwart Sen. Elizabeth Warren will use her Democratic convention speech to make clear her view that Americans won’t fall for Donald Trump’s plan to fan what she calls “the flames of fear and hatred.”
     The Massachusetts Democrat says in excerpts of a speech she plans to deliver later Monday that the Republican presidential nominee is peddling an old story of “divide and conquer.”
     “Trump thinks he can win votes by fanning the flames of fear and hatred. By turning neighbor against neighbor. By persuading you that the real problem in America is your fellow Americans — people who don’t look like you, or don’t talk like you, or don’t worship like you … That’s Donald Trump’s America. An America of fear and hate,” Warren said. “An America where we all break apart. Whites against Blacks and Latinos. Christians against Muslims and Jews. Straight against gay. Everyone against immigrants. Race, religion, heritage, gender — the more factions the better.
     “But ask yourself this. When white workers in Ohio are pitted against black workers in North Carolina, or Latino workers in Florida — who really benefits?” the Senator asked.
     She says bankers, oil companies and giant corporations benefit “when we turn on each other.”
     Warren says a divided America can’t “fight back against a rigged system.” She says “the American people are not falling for” Trump’s divisive rhetoric.
     Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Booker is calling for the Democratic party to unite around Hillary Clinton — and the Democratic senator from New Jersey says Clinton would be a champion for the poor as president.
     Remarks of Booker’s speech at the party’s convention have come out before his remarks later Monday. He says Clinton would measure America’s greatness not by the number of millionaires and billionaires, but by how few people are living in poverty.
     Booker says the country doesn’t always have to agree, but the U.S. can’t became a place “where our highest aspiration is that we just tolerate each other.”
     Booker also champions debt-free college, which he says represents the best of the Democratic party.
     9:27 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) — Comedian Sarah Silverman, a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, told the crowd at the Democratic National Convention that she is voting for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
     “To the Bernie or bust people, let me just say, you’re being ridiculous,” she said.
     Her comment was met with both applause and “Bernie” chants. — Ryan Abbott
     9:09 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) — Sen. Al Franken performed what amounted to a stand-up routine at the Democratic National Convention that bashed Donald Trump and urged the audience to support Hillary Clinton.
     Franken called himself a “world-renowned expert on right-wing megalomaniacs” and “proud alum of Trump U,” a reference to the for-profit university that has Trump embroiled in a legal battle.
     Franken, a former Saturday Night Live writer and performer turned senator, bashed Trump for his history of bankruptcies and shady business dealings.
     “All of Mr. Trump’s bestsellers are available at a special rate to students, which is 10 percent higher than the retail rate,” Franken said.
     After the comedy routine, Franken shifted to imploring the audience to get behind Clinton to help her defeat Trump.
     “Many of you have jobs, many of you have families,” Franken said. “Ignore them.”
     8:55 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – The Republican National Convention last week in Cleveland saw speaker after speaker come to the stage with the sole purpose of bashing November rival Hillary Clinton. So far, speakers at the Democratic National Convention have largely focused on Clinton’s record, sometimes interspersed with short stabs at the Republican nominee.
     For attacking Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the Democrats have used short video vignettes throwing Trump’s own words back at him.
     One short, featuring “The Hangover” actor Ken Jeong, hit Trump for complaining about the reduction of manufacturing in the United States while exporting the production of his own branded items to China, Bangladesh and Mexico.
     An earlier short video featured an interview with Trump in which the candidate said he got angry when he would come home and his wife had not made dinner.
     The latest video hit Trump for demeaning comments towards women made during past interviews.
     “Putting the wife to work is a very dangerous thing,” Trump said in an earlier interview played in a video Monday night.
     Some speakers have gone directly after Trump, especially Bob Casey, a senator from Pennsylvania.
     “Why would Donald Trump make products in every corner of the world but not in Altoona, Erie or here in Philadelphia?” Casey said.
     If Trump is a “champion of working people,” Casey is the starting center on the Philadelphia 76ers, Casey told the convention crowd to laughs. — Tim Ryan
     8:22 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) — The Democratic Convention just slipped into something more comfortable — a pop concert complete with a light show.
     “Like many Americans, I’m living with mental illness,” said singer Demi Lovato before being joined by a pair of back-up singers and broke into song with the house band.
     Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley followed Lovato’s number with a speech about workers’ rights and trade, and the two speakers were separated by a video explaining the threats of climate change being played over the house system.
     Meanwhile, supporters of Bernie Sanders have calmed a bit in their vitriol toward Hillary, and Sanders’ speech, which had been scheduled for earlier in the evening, has been moved to last.
     Earlier in the day, Sanders spoke to rowdy supporters at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, but was booed when he told his delegates he supported Hillary Clinton, and that walking out, booing and turning their backs would not help the movement.
     7:49 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – All through the surprisingly competitive Democratic primary campaign, Sen. Bernie Sanders insisted he wasn’t just running for president, but to foment a political revolution.
     Now, with Sanders throwing his support behind Hillary Clinton for the November election, the Vermont insurgent’s most ardent supporters are grappling with where that revolution goes from here.
     Sanders’ biggest fans, who sport buttons, t-shirts and Robin Hood hats at the Democratic National Convention, insist the political revolution their favorite candidate professed will not end when his candidacy does. They also say it does not rest on the shoulders of the 74-year-old senator.
     His supporters predict a sustainable grassroots movement that puts candidates in office at all levels of government who espouse Sanders’ values and help to push the party and policy farther to the left.
     “After we leave here today we’re going to start preparing for the day after the inauguration,” Martese Chism, an Illinois delegate, told Courthouse News. “We’re not going to get blindsided like we did the last four years and try to build the movement up 12 months before the next presidential election.”
     Though Sanders didn’t win the nomination he sought, he was able to claim a number of victories on the party platform like a call for a $15 minimum wage and free tuition to community colleges. Sanders’ insurgent campaign also convinced the party to cut down the influence of so-called super-delegates in the party’s primary process.
     “What I’ve heard from Bernie and what I’ve heard from people in New York State is that we do want to create a movement to the left for the Democratic party, to bring the Democratic party as much to the left as we can,” New York delegate Juan Rosa told Courthouse News. “So the movement is alive and well and coming out of Philadelphia we should have a better sense of where Bernie Sanders is going with what he created.”
     Louisiana Sanders delegate Zachary Edwards predicted Sanders and his supporters would exist almost as a watchdog in the short term to make sure Clinton and other elected leaders stick to the promises made during the election.
     Others promise new candidates running in local elections to help get Sanders’ campaign promises on the books as law.
     Though the talking points Sanders railed on during his packed campaign events during the primary season gained steam with the fiery Vermont senator’s campaign, his supporters insist what he helped popularize will outlast its champion because it originated from the people, not from one man.
     “A lot of people think Bernie was the movement,” Chism said. “We were the movement and we were just looking for a leader and Bernie had the same vision that we had and he became our leader.”
     7:13 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) — Democratic National Convention speakers are focusing on the party platform, setting themselves apart from speakers at the Republican National Convention last week in Cleveland, who largely sought to demonize Hillary Clinton.
     “I’m known for being someone who tells it like it is,” said Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, the first lesbian house speaker in any state. “I’m with Hillary because she is with me.”
     Kotek joined California Senate President Kevin deLeon, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, driving home the party’s plan to raise the minimum wage, guarantee family and sick leave, and require universal background checks in gun sales.
     The speakers also took some obligatory shots at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump .
     Gov. Malloy praised Clinton’s choice for a running mate while condemning Trump vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, who Malloy said signed a law that forces women to hold funerals for fetuses, sometimes even in the case of miscarriage.
     Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders have somewhat calmed in their audible resentment of Clinton, but there has yet to be arena-wide applause for a Clinton-Kaine mention, though some universal excitement spread through the crowd when the big screen showed a shot of actress Susan Sarandon, a noted Sanders supporter, in the crowd. — Ryan Abbott
     6:06 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Democrats on Monday adopted a party platform supporters hail as the “most progressive” in history.
     The platform calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, free community college tuition and an increased commitment to battling climate change. It also fully embraces the Washington, D.C., statehood movement and outlines a retooling of the “broken” campaign finance system built on repealing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.
     The platform has the fingerprints of Sen. Bernie Sanders on many of its pages, as the Vermont independent was able to secure a number of the campaign promises that brought many young and first-time voters into his insurgent campaign.
     Delegates at the Democratic National Convention cheered loudly as DNC Chair Marcia Fudge asked for the voice vote. They stayed standing and cheering even after Fudge prepared to hear from those opposed to the platform.
     After the voice vote, a small number of opponents to the Trans Pacific Partnership, a controversial trade deal that Bernie Sanders railed against throughout his campaign, shouted “no TPP,” disappointed that an explicit opposition to the deal was not in the platform. — Tim Ryan
     5:49 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Opponents of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal chanted over Rep. Elijah Cummings’ speech Monday at the Democratic National Convention.
     While Cummings cast the Democratic Party as one of inclusiveness and unity, roughly half of the people in the Wells Fargo Center held up signs with a red circle and a line through it over the letters TPP, an abbreviation of the controversial trade deal.
     Sen. Bernie Sanders made strong opposition to the free trade pact central to his insurgent campaign, and explicit rejection of the trade deal was one of the few concessions the Sanders camp was unable to win when the party drafted its platform last week.
     Clinton recently came out against the trade deal, which was ratified under the Obama administration, but Sanders supporters have expressed questions about the sincerity of her disavowal.
     Cummings was able to speak over the TPP chants, but they remained audible in the arena and the signs stood out from others people held up. — Tim Ryan
     5:23 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) — To quell the divisiveness between Clinton and Sanders supporters, the Democratic Convention rules committee paraded out two members of the newly formed Unity Reform Commission, a collaboration between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns to establish a more democratic primary election practices.
     “Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both our champions and both deserve our cheers,” said Wellington Webb, a Colorado Clinton backer.
     Maine State Rep. Diane Russell spoke on behalf of Sanders, and was greeted to “Bernie, Bernie,” chants.
     Russell also drew cheers by announcing her roll in changing the super delegate system.
     “On behalf of Senator Sanders and the political revolution, [we are] in strong support of the unity compromise,” Russell said, adding that the compromise will reduce the number of super delegates by sixty percent. “We did not win this by selling out. We won this by standing up.”
     At the end of Russell’s address, she added the tagline popular among Sanders supporters, “This is what democracy looks like.” The chant was echoed throughout the crowd.
     “Whether you support Senator Sanders or Hillary Clinton, we will all have a voice in the Clinton administration,” Russell said before adding that a Donald Trump presidency is a far worse fate than a Clinton presidency. Russell was roundly cheered.
     The rules committee then held a voice vote, and although there were a few nays, the Unity Reform motions passed. – Ryan Abbott.
     5:10 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – With Sen. Bernie Sanders’ highly anticipated speech to the Democratic National Convention just hours away, delegates are split on what they would like to hear from Hillary Clinton’s fiercest rival.
     Some Sanders backers, a diehard group of mostly young voters, say they want the insurgent candidate to continue the fight for the “revolution” he claims to have started, while Clinton supporters say he has a responsibility to get his base in line.
     “We’ve got to see big picture here,” Wisconsin delegate Deb Klock told Courthouse News.
     Though Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, endorsed Clinton earlier this month, some of his most ardent supporters say it was painful to see and are still not sold on the presumptive Democratic nominee.
     “Hillary has to give me a reason to vote for her first, she hasn’t done that yet,” South Dakota delegate Dylan Workman said. “Unfortunately, unfortunately. And I’ve been a Democrat for a long time now, but I still believe that every candidate should earn every vote they get.”
     As the convention gaveled in, Sanders supporters showcased their support by booing or chanting “Bernie” any time Clinton’s name was mentioned during opening proceedings.
     For Clinton supporters, Sanders’ backers need to see the possibility of Donald Trump winning the presidency and fall in line behind their party’s candidate, no matter how bitter the primary season was.
     Klock told the story of a friend of hers, an ardent Sanders supporter, who is now a Clinton backer after she warned him about what happened in the 2000 election. Many believe votes that went to Green Party Candidate Ralph Nader instead of former Vice President Al Gore put George W. Bush in the White House.
     Clinton supporters therefore hope to hear a message of unity from Sanders to help the party defeat Trump.
     “Our message, really, is stronger together,” North Carolina delegate Zack Hawkins told Courthouse News. “And at the end of the day both of them are stronger together. Their message and their supporters are stronger together if we’re going to continue Obama’s legacy.”
     Despite the presence of the two distinct camps and their fans, party faithful insist they are united.
     Louisiana delegate and Clinton supporter Michael McHale said he expects Sanders’ speech Monday night will help to bring his supporters under Clinton’s umbrella.
     “We’re not nearly as divided as the Republicans,” McHale told Courthouse News. “We have work to do, but I think a lot of it will be done tonight.” — Tim Ryan
     4:40 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Audible boos came from delegates and others gathered in the Wells Fargo Center when the reverend giving the invocation said the convention was gathered to elect Hillary Clinton president.
     Boos rained down from the top of the arena and rose from the floor after Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale mentioned Clinton’s name. Chants of “Bernie, Bernie” followed, though pro-Clinton shows of support rivaled them.
     A massive contingent of fiercely devoted supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders is present at the convention and many are still struggling to turn over to Clinton’s side even after their candidate endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee.
     4:01 p.m.
     PHILADELPHIA (CN) — The rancor and bad blood between Hillary Clinton supporters and Bernie Sanders supporters outside the Democratic National Convention on Monday outdid the animosity between factions on display at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.
     “No way I’m voting for her!” shouted a female demonstrator at the crowd of conventiongoers shuffling in between security check points.
     “[Expletive] off,” a man in a pinstripe suit responded.
     “No, you [expletive] off,” the woman shot back.
     Religious groups similar to the ones haunting the perimeter of the RNC appeared around the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, though because of the pro-abortion rights platform of the Democratic Party, those groups focused more on abortion than the general repentance messages seen in Cleveland.
     “You’re all members of a party that kills children,” shouted a man holding a large picture of an aborted fetus. “Just like in Nazi Germany!”
     Sanders supporters have been remarkably jubilant to be in Philadelphia thus far, despite the recent news that hacked emails from the DNC seemed to show party leaders’ clear favoritism for Clinton.
     Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz told press Monday morning that she would not gavel in the convention, a responsibility she held onto after news of the scandal broke over the weekend, leading her to resign. — Ryan Abbott

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