Dems Bracing For Chaotic Convention

[Fred Mason - Liberation News Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

The riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago were a tumultuous chapter in American political history, emblematic of the deep divisions and social unrest of the era. Held against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and civil rights struggles, tensions simmered both within the Democratic Party and among the populace at large. As thousands of anti-war protesters descended upon the city, clashes with police erupted in violent confrontations that gripped the nation. The images of police brutality broadcasted on television screens shocked the public, further fueling the fervor of the anti-establishment movement.

Inside the convention hall, chaos ensued as delegates grappled with the party’s direction and nomination process. The nomination of Hubert Humphrey, seen as an establishment figure closely associated with President Lyndon B. Johnson’s policies, intensified the anger of anti-war protesters and progressive activists. The scenes of dissent, both inside and outside the convention, underscored the deep fractures within the Democratic Party and the broader American society, leaving an indelible mark on the political landscape and shaping the course of future elections and social movements.

Now, the specter of 1968 is rising as Democrats again plan to hold their convention in Chicago. Politico writes that some of the planners are starting to get nervous. 

Trumpeting the success of their Covid-era convention four years ago, some in Biden’s orbit are aggressively pushing to make the 2024 conclave a hybrid production. That would mean in-person speeches from the president, party luminaries and rising stars to draw television attention alongside a mix of pre-recorded testimonials and videos from other parts of the country.

The goal: drive maximum viewership on television and the internet while minimizing live programming and openings for protest in Chicago’s United Center. This would mean moving party business, such as rules and platform votes, off the floor and denying would-be demonstrators a chance to seize on contentious debates.

While the Biden campaign, White House and convention planners have only just started hatching plans, senior Democrats tell me they’re discussing whether to conduct such business before the convention even begins or move it out of the arena and across town to McCormick Place, their other Chicago venue. Serendipitously, Biden’s advisers may have a very good reason to move up such housekeeping: If the Ohio Legislature does not relax its ballot certification deadline, which is before the Democrats’ August convention, the DNC may have no choice but to technically nominate the president before the conclave begins.

“If there is one peep in that hall, the networks will be all over it,” a convention planner lamented.

Despite the White House’s best efforts to throw Israel under the bus to bow to the pro-Hamas caucus in the president’s party, the antisemitic base, which has become an essential aspect in Biden’s chances of winning in Michigan, has not been satisfied. 

Should we expect to see the mob that attacked the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters show up in Chicago?

You probably don’t want to bet against it. 

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