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The Gathering Storm In Philadelphia

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The media narrative for the last six months has been about how the Republican convention in Cleveland was going to be a fight, a mess, a second “mistake by the lake.” Journalists reveled in the prospect of a GOP floor fight and protests in the streets. What was missed, or more likely ignored, was the brawl happening on the left and the mess that could be the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.


Yes, Cleveland will have protests. Republicans, conservatives, or even average Americans who simply want to be left alone cannot get together without the prospect of a mob of angry leftists trying to disrupt it. But what was once thought of as a near-riot in Ohio will more than likely be reduced to chants, drum circles and marching well outside the security perimeter.

The fear many felt the Republican convention might bring clashes not only from progressive mobs but also between Republicans unhappy with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee was, it turns out, a bit premature. The real action is setting up to be in Philadelphia.

While media coverage masquerading as “news” wasn’t lacking when it came to potential Republican strife, actual conflict brewing on the left flew under the radar. The focus on the split on the right ignored the chasm between rank and file Democrats falling in line behind Hillary and true believers marching toward Bernie.

The most amusing part of the gathering storm in Philadelphia is the karmic justice this trouble will be the fruition of.

Last week’s Nevada Democratic convention fight, with Sanders supporters near-rioting over perceived shunning by the party establishment was the ultimate in chickens coming home to roost.


For decades we’ve been angered by stories of conservative speakers being shouted down on campuses, being uninvited by universities in response to progressive whining and complaining, think tanks and conservative activist organizations being picketed or stormed by left-wing mobs. All the while, the Democratic power structure in Washington and the media glossed over it or ignored it completely.

These mobs were their mercenary army, their “social justice” soldiers of fortune. First Amendment be damned, leftists had no concern for free speech when it was the speech of their opponents being silenced. Now the pitchforks are pointed at them.

Bernie Sanders supporters are the natural outgrowth of the entitlement mentality instilled in college students. They love the idea of “free” government programs unencumbered by the understanding of the economics behind it.

They’ve been told the administration of George W. Bush was corrupt and harmed them, yet nearly eight years from Barack Obama’s reign hasn’t improved their situation. Programmed to believe big government is always the answer, they naturally gravitated toward the person offering the biggest government of all. With government being the source of all-good, the candidate offering all-encompassing government must be all good. The cult of Bernie was born.


As with any cult, rejection of it by others so closely aligned elicits anger – a “true believer” is always more upset by a fellow believer with less fervency than a non-believer because they’re frustrated someone is so close yet still can’t see. That’s what happened in Nevada.

There isn’t much difference in the objectives of Sanders and Clinton, but the differences are all the Sanders devotees see. Anything short of everything immediately is a betrayal. The political left has a long history of purging and infighting over philosophical differences insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

That’s what we saw in Nevada, that’s what there’s a better than average chance of seeing in Philadelphia.

Whereas this angry mob will be marching in the streets of Cleveland, far away from the convention floor, they’ll be credentialed Sanders delegates in Philadelphia. The prospect of a repeat of Nevada on the national stage has Democrats terrified.

Fears of repeats of 1968 are being openly spoken of, most notably by California Senator Dianne Feinstein, when riots outside the Democratic convention in the streets of Chicago helped doom Hubert Humphrey’s chances and tipped the election to Richard Nixon. Those fears are well-founded, as Sanders supporters (those who aren’t delegates) are already planning rallies outside the convention hall. With expectations of upwards of 30,000 people attending, Democrats will be on edge inside, knowing any perceived slight of his radical agenda or the man himself could spark the powder keg they’ve weaponized for use against the rest of us.


That’s the beauty of this Sanders movement – it’s always fun when Frankenstein’s monster turns its sights on his maker’s castle. Whether it blows up or not, its potential to will impact the actions and words of those at the podium, those on TV. There’s a chance the true nature of progressivism will rear its ugly head. Either way, it will be a lot of fun to watch.

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