Democratic Convention: Day 2

A Maine state rep from Kittery reports from Philadelphia

Our morning regional breakfast meeting at the hotel had Howard Dean and Jeanne Shaheen as speakers. Dean was enthusiastic, funny, and praising his own efforts toward LGBT rights. The important event of the morning was our vote for presidential candidate. We checked off our Maine tally for the later state-by-state floor vote. Maine had 17 for Bernie and eight for Hillary. With superdelegates, our vote was 18 to 12.

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The bus to downtown was much better than Monday. The hispanic caucus lunch was massive in the crystal tea room of the old Wanamaker building. There are hundreds of Latino delegates dressed to the nueves and a highly elegant lunch.

I was able to see some of the real Philadelphia, although delegates and democratic hangers-on are everywhere. The streets are filled with hawkers selling buttons, dolls, Trump wigs. There were democracy demonstrations in the squares with many factions represented. Police are everywhere. I saw my first mounted policewoman with a headscarf. Our country is more and more diverse in every way.

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The most excellent metro ride beat the shuttle bus by far. Fast, comfortable, not even crowded, to the Wells Fargo for opening proceedings and the real business of the convention: the roll call vote. This allowed all of those Bernie delegates to have their voices heard (would have been better on Monday, but a break in tradition — horrors).

The show of roll call, with each state articulating a corny advertisement of their state’s highlights, was a display for the media. It was surprising to see the changed votes when superdelegates were added. New Hampshire, which voted heavily in favor of Bernie, ended up with a tie vote. There was some jostling in Maine as to who would announce our vote on worldwide media. Phil Bartlett, Maine’s party chair, did the honors.

The roll call highlight was Americans Abroad’s vote by Bernie’s brother, crying as he registered his vote for Bernie with a salute to his FDR-era parents. Bernie and Jane also teared up. Hundreds of Bernie delegates started their grieving and tears flowed as the reality hit home. Then the show began, entertainment, entertainment. Democracy is not a spectator sport, but it does seem to be a media show.

Deane Rykerson is the founder of Rykerson Architecture, a Maine state representative, and a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He holds a masters degree from Harvard University. He lives in Kittery Point.