In Philadelphia Democrats had two goals: expose Donald as an erratic bully and elevate Hillary as trustworthy. Helped by Trump liking Putin more than the Khans, it appears that they succeeded in both. BSN was on site cramming the equivalent of 24 cable hours into one 60 minute show interviewing Schumer/Steele/Dionne as well as a leading gay/veteran/congressman/Bernie-or-Buster. Conclusion: HRC will be back to 6+ up by this coming week.
Senator Chuck Schumer: Has it ever happened that a President and Majority Leader came from the same state and will it make a difference? "I don't know if it's ever happened before. But we'll trust each other [like Obama and Reid did]. We'll have a moral, economic and political obligation to show that government can work for the middle class. She doesn't want to just give big speeches but get things done."
How did a person so adored by her staff, friends and colleagues get so publicly reviled? "The right wing machine stuck her with being a prevaricator. But Senators get to know pretty quickly who's a phony and who's not. And I never saw that...The Senate is the only place where two people have the same job and it took a year for us to get used to each other. And then we really worked well together.
Smart commentators say that, even then, you can't get anything through the House because Speaker Ryan can block everything. But isn't he as much a pol as an ideologue and will deal since he'll have at best a much reduced majority? "He's hard Right for sure but doesn't say my- way-or-highway. He does have a problem controlling his 60 Tea Party members who don't want to do anything. But I think we might be able to get Immigration done and also an Infrastructure Bank tied to i tax reform...if he wants to keep his majority in 2018."
Hillary's prospects? "She should win by a margin to Obama's [ seven and four points] and then we'll take the Senate."
Michael Steele, former RNC Chair: How did the GOP politically allow Obama & Clinton to come off as the patriotic pro-family, anti-Russian party this past week? "Because Republicans foolishly left optimism on the table and they picked it up!" Did that happen because your party is so extreme, irrational, ungovernable? "For so long they've been lied to and promised things that never happened, plus W was a Big Government Republican when it came to debt and Schiavo. So the base rebelled."
Let me ask you as I did Schumer -- how did the GOP so successfully tarnish Clinton? "People have gotten to know her over 30 years and she's often her own worst enemy. Like taking nine months to say much of anything about her email server. Like not having a press conference since last December. As nominee, she should now answer all questions, as Trump does, or people will continue not to trust her." But what about the Right-Wing onslaught against her -- Whitewater, Vince Foster, Benghazi etc.? "Oh that's just standard politics."
Should Clinton win as expected, won't the party just say that 'Trump wasn't conservative enough' and repeat the cycle of anger and loss? "There will be a real fight among the neo-cons, Tea Partiers, constitutional conservatives, reformers for the soul of the party. Some will say that while others will complain that the party didn't rally behind Trump."
In 2020, who'd have a leg up -- Pence, Ryan, Cruz, Kasich, Rubio, Cotton? "At first, Pence as the past VP nominee. But then of course alot will happen during the primaries. There will be no one figure who can unite all the party's elements we we'll see who can do that best."
EJ Dionne, columnist for Washington Post. What will America look like if it's governmentally run by Clinton/Schumer/Pelosi or Trump/McConnell/Ryan? He laughs. "Remember how everyone has at some time in past that x election was the most important of our lifetimes? We lied! This one certainly is. I'm proud of my Washington Post for running a full page editorial saying that while Clinton is a normal flawed politician, Trump is a real danger to Democracy."
How could he then be running so close to Clinton? "Given partisan splits, no nominee can really get below 40%. But I don't believe that Trump can win. Women and minorities basically won't let him win. And even some 'angry white male employees' won't like how he stiffs contractors and workers."
Why can't Clinton Democrats shift more blue-collar workers their way by pointing out how little a Trump really cares about them while Dems produce more jobs and services? "It would be a moral failure for Democrats to leave the working class to Trump. We need leaders who can explain globalism, de-industrialization and an incomes policy, which can unite both white workers and urban minorities, like RFK did. Wouldn't it be great if Hillary does that."
Paul Reickoff, founder of IAVA - Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America. Says his membership split a third Rs, third Ds, third Indys. While Trump's attack on McCain and a gold star mother and praise of Putin has hurt him in this group, Hillary has burden of explaining and changing VA after the scandal.
Rep. Joe Crowley of NY: He gave a very well-received speech from podium about how 9/11 cannot be a partisan issue and told us that he's optimistic about gains in the House "because House Democrats are so identified with the gun safety issue."
Jacob Berlin, a 20 year old Bernie supporter. Who you gonna vote for in November? "I'm going to wait until the debates." How the hell can you call yourself a progressive and not vote for the nominee who's progressive on choice, immigration, taxes, climate etc over a neo-fascist? Beyond the merits, you want a future in this party?" Allow me to say, this smart young Democrat will go back to Pittsburgh and vote for the Democratic nominee over Trump.
David Bender, gay advocate, author, producer, Air American. This is Bender's 13 straight Democratic Convention -- and he shares his historical perspective how the divide among Democrats this year is nothing compared to Chicago, 1968. Also: as a Bernie supporter earlier, he schools our audience on why "Trump is an existential threat to our values and country. The choice has never been so stark. Donald Trump has no impulse control and cannot have his finger on twitter much less the nuclear button."
Host: There's unanimity that a) Bloomberg did an effective job explaining to swing voters why Trump is a business fraud, b) WClinton42 and the Obamas did well humanizing and credentializing Hillary and c) the Convention's high-moment, unexpectedly, was when Capt. Khan's father defrocked Trump as well as Joseph Welch exposed McCarthy. Finally.