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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Will Philadelphia See Big Demonstrations?

Last week, we kept hearing breathless reports on TV of the impending clashes in the streets in Cleveland during the GOP convention.  The reporters were disappointed, however, as everything remained peaceful in the designated protest areas.  There have been fewer arrests in Cleveland over the first three days of the convention than in a normal Monday to Wednesday in July in Cleveland.  It seems thus far, that the previous story line pushed by the mainstream media that Trump encourages violence at or near his events has evaporated.  But here's a big question:  will there be violence when the Democrats meet in Philadelphia?  This is not a silly question.  According to reports from the Philadelphia police, they expect close to 50,000 demonstrators to gather in the park across the street from the convention hall for the four days of that event.  To be clear, nearly every one of the expected demonstrators is a Bernie Sanders supporter.  Will they use the convention to express their displeasure at Hillary Clinton's defeat of their favorite?

There's also the issue of the super delegates.  To Sanders' supporters, the words "super delegates" are not to be spoken in polite company.  There's going to be a move in Philadelphia to change the rules to eliminate the power of these party elites.  After all, the super delegates alone have about a third of the total needed to nominate at the convention.  That means that a candidate who wins the super delegates could conceivably lose in the primaries by 58 to 42% and still easily win the nomination.

Usually these days in the USA, when there is a riot, it is conducted by a group identified with the left.  The Tea Party came from the right, but there was no violence there.  The pro-life groups hold annual marches across the country, but there's been no violence at those marches during their entire 40 year existence.  On the other hand, we've all seen violence jump out of a demonstration by Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and many of the other left wing groups that are mainstays of the Democrats.  This means that there really is a risk that the massive Philadelphia demonstration will descend into violence.

It will be interesting to see what happens if there is trouble.  The head of the Philadelphia police union is protesting to the Democrats their decision to allow mothers of people who were shot by police to speak at the convention.  The mother of Michael Johnson of Ferguson Missouri will speak even after the investigation showed that he had attacked the police and was shot in self defense.  If the Sanders' forces decide to storm the convention hall, will the Philadelphia police step in to protect the convention?  We will have to wait to find out.

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