Ever wonder how delegates at the conventions all seem to spontaneously raise their “Make America First Again” or “Change Maker” signs at the same time?
Well, Charlottesville School Board Chair Amy Laufer is attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and she clues us in: They get texts telling them what to chant and when to hoist signs—and when not to, like during Michelle Obama’s speech July 25, when the Virginia delegation was in danger of blocking the teleprompter, according to a dispatch from Laufer.
“As soon as the totals were done and Bernie conceded, the H signs were distributed and we all chanted Hillary, Hillary!” Laufer writes.
The first day was tough, she reports: “The Hillary people are so excited for this historic moment but it is tempered by the tough looks and hard voices that are yelling about Bernie.” Obama’s speech was a turning point, says Laufer, “when she was talking about her daughters and what an example this will mean for generations. ”
She started July 26—Clinton nomination day—with a Women’s Caucus breakfast with former secretary of state Madeline Albright, interim DNC chair Donna Brazile and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “Each had such a different voice and style: Albright had such a command of Hillary’s history, Brazile shouted out the names of women that have come before [such as] Rosa Parks, Pelosi talked about policies on the Hill,” says Laufer.
Despite her bus being an hour late getting her to the convention hall, Laufer, a Clinton delegate, made it in time to cast her vote. And after Clinton was officially the nominee, all the women of the House of Representatives, led by Pelosi, came onstage. Laufer notes that there are no congresswomen from Virginia, although former Albemarle Board of Supervisors chair Jane Dittmar is running for the 5th District.
The lows from the day, says Laufer, were seeing a group of Sanders supporters who had walked out of the convention surrounded by heavily armed police. And some of his supporters were still feeling the Bern on the subway, when “rude things” and “expletives were shouted at me,” she says.
“In reflection, the truth is they are a very small number,” she says. “When I was on the bus to the convention, I sat with several Bernie people and actually his brother Larry was in the seat in front of me, and he was telling us about coming out to vote for his brother and it was all very friendly.”
Says Laufer, “In the end, history was made,” and she says she is grateful for the “amazing opportunity to be on the front lines.”
Other Charlottesvillians are at the convention, and Sanders supporter Nic McCarthy has posted a video on Facebook of the “Bernie or bust” protest outside the Wells Fargo Center. “They’re not making it easy for protesters to be heard,” he says.
“It puts us Bernie delegates in a really, really hard place,” says McCarthy, who says he will support the nominee.