By JON DOWDING
Published in partnership with AllDigitocracy.org and Temple University’s Department of Journalism
The women’s caucus meeting started with applause and exuberance as the second day of the Democratic National Convention got underway. The caucus began with Interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile giving opening remarks, referencing many influential women including Shirley Chisholm, Esther from the Bible, Fannie Lou Hamer and Hillary Clinton.
Brazile stressed the need to “do every damn thing” to help Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine get into the White House. Another well-known influential woman began doing “every damn thing” in her power last night to ensure Clinton moves back into the White House.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech made headlines as “ the most effective pitch for unity on the opening day of the Democratic National Convention,” according to Politico. Her speech focused on electing a candidate that was “a positive role model for children” and one who will make America a better place for children. Yet some Democrats have yet to support the Clinton/Kaine ticket.
“For the purposes of the Hillary campaign she did a good job,” said Jill Stevens, a Bernie-pledged delegate from Utah who has a Ph.D in social work with an emphasis in social welfare policy. “I think [her speech] did have some benefit for Hillary in that way. Personally, I I’m not going to make that decision until November.”
Stevens said she is disappointed with this week’s DNC agenda. “[I] would have liked to see a more balanced program. I wish they would have spoken about the issues that concerned Americans. I think that so far what I’ve seen is a disservice to the American people.” Most of the convention speakers yesterday, she explained, continued to rally for Clinton but Stevens did enjoy many aspects of her speech, although she is “not ready for Hillary yet.”
Michelle Obama tried to gather support for Hillary Clinton by making it known that “I trust Hillary,” a phrase not many people use, even those who support Clinton. For delegates who are still “feeling the Bern,” trust and the loss of Sanders is definitely something that’s hard for them to grasp.
“I was a Hillary [delegate] in ‘08, I totally understand where Bernie people are coming from,” said Sue Berkel, the president of the Texas Chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus. “But when the time comes… they’re going to look at it just like I looked at it. I really wanted Hillary to win in ‘08 but you know what, Obama is going to be a great President, and he was. I’m hoping the vast majority will feel that way about Hillary.”
To Berkel, Michelle Obama’s speech “reached out to not only every mother, but also to every father. They made you think about the future, even if you don’t have children, the way a parent would think about the future.”
As the highlight of the night, Michelle Obama’s address mattered; not just to the Clinton campaign but to the media. Her speech endorsed Clinton after referencing race, partisanship, patriotism and feminism while simultaneously condemning Trump said NBC News.
“It was a speech that I think everyone related to,” said Berkel. “It didn’t matter if you were Republican or Democrat. You could relate.”