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July 26 2016 6:33 PM

Today's Trump Apocalypse Watch: How to Beat Donald Trump

The Trump Apocalypse Watch is a subjective daily estimate, using a scale of one to four horsemen, of how likely it is that Donald Trump will be elected president, thus triggering an apocalypse in which we all die.

Hillary Clinton is not the perfect candidate for president, for reasons that, if you're reading this post, you probably already know: On certain issues, she seems to lack deep conviction. She's stiff. She seems a little too comfortable with big-money influence-peddling. She screwed the pooch big time with the private email thing.

But, especially in this election, Clinton does genuinely represent (and, for my money, seem to believe deeply in) some very important things. As someone who first appeared on the national stage decades ago as a woman proud to have a career outside the home—and then led a movement to pass universal health care—she is an heir to the great American tradition of progress in the face of extremely entrenched, reactionary opposition. And there may be no more moving articulation of this idea given this year than the one that was delivered last night at the DNC by Michelle Obama, particularly in this passage toward the end of her speech:

That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.

Hillary might be down in the polls right now. But the idea of America that Michelle Obama described last night is a powerful one, and her America is a real place, one that we should believe in, and work for. And that is how Donald Trump will be defeated.


Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons

July 26 2016 6:09 PM

You Want to Watch Larry Sanders Cast a DNC Ballot for His Brother Bernie. Trust Us.

Tuesday’s roll call vote featured what is sure to go down as one of the sweetest and most emotional moments of the Democratic National Convention.

Speaking for Democrats Abroad, Bernie Sanders' brother Larry Sanders cast his vote for his brother and gave a speech about their parents. Both men were trying to hold back tears and not necessarily succeeding. If you watch the video above, you may have the same struggle.

Here's what Larry said: “I want to read before this convention the names of our parents, Eli Sanders and Dorothy Glassberg Sanders. They did not have easy lives and they died young. They would be immensely proud of their son and his accomplishments. They loved him. They loved the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt, and would be especially proud that Bernard is renewing that vision. It is with enormous pride that I cast my vote for Bernie Sanders.”

July 26 2016 5:17 PM

Watch Night 2 of the Democratic National Convention Live

The Democratic National Convention glides into its second day still basking in the glow of Monday night's best-received address: First lady Michelle Obama's artful case against Donald Trump’s candidacy, during which she never invoked the business mogul’s name. But, despite Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders exhorting his tearful supporters to throw their weight behind Hillary Clinton, divisions remain.

Will Night 2—during which Clinton will be officially nominated—finally be Democrats’ kumbaya moment? Or will denialist Bernie stragglers continue to boo? We’re bringing you a live stream of CBS News’ convention coverage to find out. And don’t miss our live-blog of the proceedings featuring real-time reactions to Tuesday’s speakers, including mothers who have lost children to police and gun violence, 9/11 survivor Lauren Manning, and former president Bill Clinton.

July 26 2016 4:45 PM

We Need to Make the Liberty Bell Way Bigger

The Democratic National Convention is currently taking place in Philadelphia, aka the Cradle of American Democracy for White People.* One of the big democracy-related attractions in Philadelphia is the Liberty Bell. We learn about the Liberty Bell in elementary school: How it was kept in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) and used during the 1787 Constitutional Convention and other important history things, how it says "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," how it has a big crack in it, etc.

Pretty cool bell, right? That's what I thought before I visited Philadelphia for the first time a few years ago and went to the bell's current home, the Liberty Bell Center, to see it. And what I found was a little tiny regular bell.

A National Parks Service employee discusses the Liberty Bell with tourists in Philadelphia, February 12, 2015.

Charles Mostoller/Reuters

Look how small that bell is! It's only three feet tall. By comparison, the Statue of Liberty, another symbolic democracy thing with the word "Liberty" in its name, is 305 feet tall.

This tiny bell is too small to represent the epic greatness of the United States, history's most awesome country. So I've commissioned an artist's rendering of what I believe would be a more appropriately sized Liberty Bell.

big liberty bell.

Photo illustration by Slate. Images by trekandshoot/Thinkstock and kingjon/Thinkstock.

Let's make it happen, for America.

*But not women

July 26 2016 4:25 PM

Were Bernie Sanders’ California Delegates Drunk Monday Night?

PHILADELPHIA—Bernie Sanders’ California delegates quickly built a reputation Monday night as the rowdiest pro-Sanders section in the Wells Fargo Center. But why? Could it be that they just really like Bernie Sanders, and want to make the most out of their costly cross-country trip to support their man? Or was the raucous environment the work of some nefarious chemical, such as alcohol?

“Here’s what’s going on,” a former Clinton administration aide, David Goodfriend, told the Hill.  “Bernie-ites get hammered at the open bar, they come in here, and even when Elizabeth Warren is talking, they’re chanting over her. So here’s my offer ... California Bernie delegates: Stay sober during proceedings, and I’ll buy you a round of shots after.”

Goodfriend told the Hill that there’s an open bar behind the California delegation. We rate this statement mostly true. The California delegation sits in section 105, and by section 106-107 rests P.J. Whelihan’s Pub, which promises “a fun and friendly atmosphere, award-winning food, and various pub beer selections.” But the general public, including reporters for online periodicals, cannot imbibe any of P.J.’s various pub beers this week, because the California delegation has rented the restaurant for itself and rebranded it “California Café.”

So how do Sanders’ California delegates respond to these accusations of public intoxication leveled by the misleadingly named Goodfriend?

“He’s not telling the truth,” said California Sanders delegate Robert M. Nelson, a retired NASA scientist. “I was in that bar. I drank with many Clinton delegates last night, and we talked about a lot of important things.” Nelson had first wanted to use a four-letter word to describe the drunkenness allegations, then figured that would play into the smearers’ hands. “Their goal is to make us look stupid. We’re very educated.”

“I think unless we were drinking hot tea with our fingers out, [former Clinton administration aides like Goodfriend] would have something to say about us,” said Karen Bernal, co-representative of the California Sanders delegates. Bernal knew of one person who “may have had a bit too much to drink, but absolutely everyone else was well behaved.” She added that she saw “plenty of Clinton people that were drinking too.

Indeed, by Bernal’s estimation, California Café and its array of pub delicacies has been a site of rapprochement between California’s Clinton and Sanders delegates. “This is where we have found a lot of—can I say?—collegiality in that bar between Clinton and Sanders.”

“We’ve had wonderful interactions,” Nelson added.

Sanders supporters in California may be making their voices heard, even at times when others are trying to speak. The evidence that booze is the impetus for such vocal displays, however, is sparse.

July 26 2016 2:02 PM

These Seven Mothers Who Lost Children to Police and Gun Violence Will Stand Up for Hillary on Tuesday Night

Barring any surprise changes to the schedule, the centerpiece of Tuesday’s programming at the Democratic National Convention will be the appearance of seven black women who have lost children to gun violence and/or police brutality. Among them will be the mother of Trayvon Martin, whose death at the hands of a neighborhood watchman in Florida gave rise to the slogan “Black Lives Matter” in 2012, and the mother of Michael Brown, whose fatal shooting by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, two years ago catalyzed that slogan into a full-fledged movement.

The segment has its origins in a three-hour dinner held in Chicago last November, during which Hillary Clinton met with Sybrina Fulton and Lezley McSpadden (the mothers of Martin and Brown, respectively), as well as eight other women whose sons and daughters have been killed as a result of gun violence or interactions with law enforcement. According to the New York Times, Clinton asked each attendee at the dinner to tell her own story before saying to the group, “You have a lot of power individually. But collectively, you need to come together. The country needs to hear from you.”

Almost all the women who are appearing on the convention stage Tuesday have previously endorsed Clinton, and they’ve campaigned with her as part of an effort to build support for her candidacy among black voters. In February, at a moment when Clinton was facing a wave of criticism from representatives of Black Lives Matter over her support for the 1994 crime bill, five of the mothers appeared in a campaign video talking about how they’ve turned tragedy into motivation for political activism, and why they believe Clinton is the right person to lead on police reform and gun violence prevention.

John J. McNesby, the president of the police union in Philadelphia, has condemned the Clinton campaign for Tuesday’s speaker schedule, writing in an open letter that he and his fellow union members were “shocked and saddened,” and that Clinton should be “ashamed of [herself] if that is possible.”

Below, a brief guide to the women whose planned appearance at the Democratic convention has so insulted McNesby and his union:

Gwen Carr

Mother of Eric Garner, who died on Staten Island in 2014 after a police officer put him in a chokehold. Garner, whose death was captured on a cellphone video, was selling loose cigarettes when police confronted him. His dying words—“I can’t breathe,” uttered 11 times while he lay facedown on the sidewalk—became iconic in the Black Lives Matter movement. The officer who choked him was not indicted. Carr endorsed Clinton in January, about a month before Garner’s daughter Erica appeared in a widely circulated campaign video for Bernie Sanders.

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton

Mother of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who was shot in 2013 while hanging out at a park in Chicago after gang members mistook her friends for affiliates of a rival crew. Pendleton was one of 415 people murdered in Chicago that year. Her death stirred extra attention, however, because just a week earlier she had performed on stage at President Obama’s second inauguration.

Sybrina Fulton

Mother of Trayvon Martin, who was killed by George Zimmerman while walking unarmed through a gated community in Florida. Zimmerman, who was a volunteer neighborhood watchman, called the police when he became suspicious of Martin, then engaged the teenager in a confrontation. Zimmerman successfully defended himself against murder charges by citing Florida’s stand-your-ground laws. His acquittal was greeted with disbelief around the country and spawned the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” Sybrina Fulton endorsed Clinton in January with an op-ed on in which she praised her commitment to gun violence prevention as well as “better training for officers,” “eliminating racial profiling,” and “investing in body cameras for every police department.”

Maria Hamilton

Mother of Dontre Hamilton, who was shot 14 times by a police officer in Milwaukee in April 2014. The police officer, who was not charged, approached Hamilton while he was sleeping on a bench and engaged him in a confrontation. When Hamilton grabbed the officer’s baton from him and hit him with it, the officer perceived him to have "super human strength" and fired. Maria Hamilton founded Mothers for Justice United, and organized a Mother’s Day march against police violence last year in Washington, D.C. In February, she attended the Sanders-Clinton debate in Milwaukee as Clinton’s guest.

Lucia McBath

Mother of Jordan Davis, who was 17 when he was fatally shot in 2012 for playing loud music at a gas station in Florida. Davis’ killer, Michael Dunn, fired 10 rounds into the car Davis was riding in with his friends and was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted of murder. McBath endorsed Clinton with an op-ed published by BET that focused on the candidate’s support for gun control.

Lezley McSpadden

Mother of Michael Brown, who was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014, after a confrontation in the street. Brown’s death, and the eventual nonindictment of Wilson, was greeted with outrage across the country, and the military-style approach that the Ferguson police department embraced when dealing with street protesters further enflamed relations between law enforcement and minorities. McSpadden endorsed Clinton in March, the day of the Missouri primary, saying in a statement, “I want a leader who is willing to take the steps to reform a justice system that dehumanized my son.”

Geneva Reed-Veal

Mother of Sandra Bland, who committed suicide in a jail cell after being pulled over on a minor traffic violation in Waller County, Texas, in July 2015. Dashboard camera footage showed Bland having an argument with the officer who pulled her over before the officer threatened her with a stun gun and arrested her. Bland died after spending three days in jail under a $5,000 bond. Bland’s mother began campaigning with Hillary Clinton in February.

July 26 2016 1:11 PM

Should Bernie Be the One to Nominate Hillary on Tuesday Night?

If at first you don’t succeed …

There’s nothing to suggest this is a done deal yet. (See update below.) The Clinton camp may decide that it doesn’t want to risk a backlash from the already angry Bernie-or-bust crowd, who might not react all that calmly to having their hearts broken a second time in less than 24 hours by the man they came to cheer in Philadelphia. Alternatively, Sanders could decide that he’s not willing to put a damper on what should be a special—albeit bittersweet—moment for himself and his movement after the delegates he won during the primary are tallied on the convention stage.

Still, while that’s a big gamble (for Clinton) and sacrifice (for Sanders), it stands to reason that they really are putting serious thought into it.

The opening day of the convention was dominated by displays of intra-party discord, and while things settled down somewhat as evening turned to night, Democrats are desperate to avoid a repeat performance on Day 2. Tuesday’s lineup includes the mothers of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner, along with a keynote from Bill Clinton. If the Bern-iacs get themselves too riled up casting their votes during the evening roll call, it’s easy to imagine that energy spilling over into prime time. Shouting down grieving mothers, it should go without saying, would make for a particularly awkward convention moment. And booing the former president could put him on the defensive (never the best look for Bill), forcing him off script and ruining what has the chance to be one of the more effective speeches of the week.

Bernie, meanwhile, has already proved he’s willing to face down the boo birds if he thinks it will help defeat Donald Trump. By almost any measure, he and those working with him—as opposed to simply in his name—did just about everything they could on Day 1 to quiet the vocal protests in the convention hall. Even before the senator stepped on stage late last night to endorse Clinton, he and his team had been waving the party-unity flag all day. Sanders made the case to his supporters before the festivities got underway, and later sent out a text message to his delegate whips urging them to be respectful during the evening proceedings. His former national spokesman, meanwhile, took to Twitter to downplay the impact the DNC played in the outcome of this year’s primary. And all the while, a number of his most-well-known surrogates—from former NAACP president Ben Jealous to Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley to comedian Sarah Silverman—stood on the convention stage and tried to let the Sanders delegates down easy. (Silverman, though, eventually opted for some tougher love.)

All of that wasn’t enough to completely silence the anti-Clinton crowd, but it no doubt made things significantly better than they would have been if Sanders had remained silent. Having Bernie formally place his rival’s name into nomination Tuesday night after all the votes are counted won’t be some panacea for the party, but it would make for a powerful moment. The question Democrats will have to decide between now and then, though, is whether they think the vocal minority of anti-Clinton delegates in the convention hall will be willing to let them have it.

Update, 1:45 p.m.: NBC News is reporting that the “plan as it stand right now” is that Sanders won’t be the one to nominate Clinton after all. Instead, his home state delegation of Vermont will ask to record their votes last during the evening roll call, at which point they will request that Clinton be named the Democratic nominee by unanimous proclamation. That plan comes with its own risk, though, given that many Sanders delegates are unlikely to be happy with the idea that their votes will effectively be wiped from the convention record if the proclamation motion succeeds. Stay tuned.

Update, 2:57 p.m.: Sounds like Democrats decided to play things safe—though this doesn't automatically rule out either Sanders or the Vermont delegation requesting that Clinton be named the Democratic nominee by unanimous proclamation at the end of the roll call:

July 26 2016 12:14 PM

Cory Booker Responds to Cryptic Trump Tweet by Promising to Love Him

After just one day, Donald Trump has made a lot of very Donald Trumpian tweets about the Democratic National Convention. For example:

And this:

But his strangest tweet of the night on Monday was probably this cryptic message about Sen. Cory Booker:

Booker, who gave one of the night’s featured addresses, had a lengthy passage in his speech in which he described some of Trump’s racist statements against Hispanics, misogynistic statements, and his Islamophobic call to ban Muslims from entering the country. I’m going to guess, though, that this is the moment that got under Trump’s skin the most:

Trump says he would run our country like he has run his businesses. Well, I’m from Jersey, and we have seen the way he leads. In Atlantic City, he got rich while his companies declared multiple bankruptcies. Yet without remorse, even as people got hurt by his failures, he bragged, “The money I took out of there was incredible.” Yes, he took out lots of cash but he stiffed contractors—many of them small businesses, refusing to pay them for the work they’d done. America has seen enough of a handful of people growing rich at the cost of our nation descending into economic crisis.

Booker responded to Trump’s tweet on Tuesday in an interview with CNN, promising to “keep loving on him,” despite Trump’s “mean-spirited hate.” Booker would not speculate as to what Trump was talking about. But here’s what he told the network:

Let me tell you right now: I love Donald Trump. I don't want to answer his hate with hate. I’m going to answer it with love. I’m not going to answer his darkness with darkness. I love him. I know his kids, I know his family. They're good, the children especially, good people.

So he loves Trump. But not Trump’s hate. Also Trump shouldn’t be president:

I love you, Donald. I pray for you. I hope that you find some kindness in your heart, that you’re not going to be somebody that spews out insults to your political opposition, that you’re going to start finding some ways to love. I’m going to elevate him. I love you, I just don't want you to be my president. I don't want to you have the White House to be spewing that kind of mean-spirited hate that doesn’t even belong on a playground sandbox.

So he’s going to elevate Trump, but not join him in the playground sandbox. Also, he will pray for Trump and continue to love him, but also tell the truth about his meanness:

The reality is, I’m sorry, I’m just going to keep loving on him. I’m going to tell the truth about him, but I’m going to keep loving on him, praying for the best for him and his family. That kind of vitriol, that kind of meanness, has no place in the presidency. Bring it on, Donald. Show your truth. I’m going to show mine. Love you, brother.

Trump has not yet given any clues as to what he was talking about in that tweet or whether or not he loves Booker back.

July 26 2016 11:28 AM

There’s One Person Donald Trump Did Not Try to Mess With Last Night: Michelle Obama

On Monday night, Donald Trump posted disparaging tweets about Democratic National Convention speakers Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker. But there was one high-profile keynoter he did not attack: Michelle Obama, whose address was the consensus highlight of the evening.

Is Donald Trump scared of Michelle Obama? A search of his Twitter account indicates only nine of his 32,000 tweets have referred to her despite her close connection to a man Trump believes to be a Muslim saboteur. Even those tweets are fairly low-energy by Trump standards. Here's a typical example:

Terrible! Another:

(Reminder: Donald Trump claims his own hair is natural even though there used to be a sketchy hair-weave company located on the same floor as his personal office.)

(The "your excellency" thing was from a scene on the Nickelodeon show iCarly. Devastating.)

One reason Trump might have been quiet on Monday, obviously, is that his campaign just had to admit that Melania Trump copied sections of her own convention speech from Michelle's 2008 convention speech in Denver. In the course of making that admission, as it happens, Trump speechwriter Meredith McIver wrote that Melania has "always liked" Michelle. On that front, here's one more tweet Donald Trump has sent:

Wow, sounds like someone is a little jealous! Think about it: Donald Trump spends 90–100 percent of his waking hours clenching his fists and fuming about Barack Obama while smoke comes out his ears like a guy in a cartoon. Barack, meanwhile, generally ignores Trump and answers to only one person: Michelle, a figure who Trump's own wife openly admires (and copies from) and who is vastly more popular than he is. Everywhere Donald Trump turns, Michelle Obama is getting the better of him! He just can't figure out how to get an edge on her, and it induces a state in which he very rarely finds himself: the state of having nothing to say. (Update, 7:40 p.m.: Trump has commented on Michelle Obama's speech—and not only did he not criticize it, he praised it.)

July 26 2016 10:45 AM

Watch an MSNBC Host Confront Bernie Sanders Delegates About Denial

This is fun. MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle interviewed a pair of Iowa Bernie Sanders delegates on Tuesday, essentially asking them to justify the entire Bernie or Bust movement’s raucous obstinacy on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention.

Ruhle asked the pair, Kate Larson and Jason Brown, a series of very direct questions about why some Sanders supporters were still fighting a race that has been over for weeks and what exactly they hoped to achieve. The duo responded by either insisting that Hillary Clinton wasn’t technically the nominee yet, or by arguing that their candidate had been disrespected because the opening day of the convention to nominate Hillary Clinton for president was focused on nominating Hillary Clinton for president.

The entire quite funny and entertaining video is above, but here are some of the highlights:

Ruhl: First I want to commend you both, the passion and presence you have shown thus far, clearly yesterday we saw you morning, noon, and night. But do you have it out of your system? What are we going to expect today, Jason?
Brown: Well we’re going to do everything we can for our candidate. We represent the Democrats in the state of Iowa and we’re going to do the right thing for them.
Ruhl: What does that mean? In the state of Iowa, Bernie Sanders didn’t win. Mathematically, we already knew he wasn't getting the nomination. We’re here at this point at the DNC. Hillary is the nominee. What is the point of continuing this message?
Larson: Half of Iowa elected Bernie Sanders and the ideals that he believes in. So we were elected from District One to do a job to represent not only Bernie Sanders for president, but the ideals that he carries on.
Ruhl: But disrupting the opening prayer, could one not argue that's pretty disrespectful?
Brown: Actually, I thought it was disrespectful to have the prayer have an endorsement for Secretary Clinton.
Ruhl: She’s the nominee.
Brown: But technically not yet.

It went on like this.

Ruhl: Bernie Sanders, he built the fire. He lit it and now he is saying ‘guys, time to put it out.' Are you not listening to your candidate?
Larson: I would argue is that he is not saying that we put anything out. He’s saying we need to continue and fight harder.
Ruhl: For Hillary Clinton. He said it last night.
Larson: For Progressive candidates. And we’ve made a lot of progress and we do have some faith that she has gone farther left and will support things that we care about.
Larson: It was supposed to be Bernie Sanders’ night, right? He is speaking. There was very little mention or recognition of the candidate. And in a four-day convention we would have at least liked the chance to vote, be recognized for what we’ve done. But instead, within the first ten minutes of the convention 'we are here to elect Hillary Clinton. We are here to elect Hillary Clinton.'
Ruhl: But we are. You are. This is a convention for the next president of the United States. If you want to take your support for possible politicians who have your progressive values, why not take those efforts and that money to people running for other offices? Hillary Clinton is the expected nominee.
Larson: And we will. Sen. Sanders is still a candidate. He has not released his delegates. And we’re going to do everything we can for our candidate.

The Nile is a river in Egypt. Denial is a thing that some Bernie Sanders delegates are still apparently going through.