Politics with J. Patrick Coolican

Philly Day Two

Good morning.

It was quite a night for Minnesota. Al Franken was on the stage twice, including as part of a comedy duo with Sarah Silverman, a Bernie endorser, who told the “Bernie or Bust” people, “You’re being ridiculous” in an impromptu moment that went viral.

That was after Franken gave a comedically inclined speech hitting Trump that had non-Minnesota DFLers in my feed saying his comedy has gone a little rusty. Pat Condon with the story.

As a bit of a comedy nerd, I feel for him. He was funny in the smaller venue of the Minnesota delegate breakfast.

Rep. Keith Ellison, a very early endorser of Sanders, introduced the senator. Condon with the story.

Franken and Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke at the delegate breakfast. Condon with the trifecta! (Suddenly realizing he’s making me look bad.) Franken was better with the small audience. I can’t imagine how daunting it is to give an address to an arena, especially if it’s supposed to come off as dry wit.

Condon and I looked at how labor will play in this election, given Trump’s appeal in the Rust Belt states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. No doubt, Clinton has some work to do on this front.

As for the rest of the day….

Last week we heard from the assembled thousands of journalists in Cleveland that the convention was a mess -- confession: it seemed that way to me after the second night! -- and yet Donald Trump came out of it with a normal convention bounce and put himself back in the game with a speech that may have been dark and long but struck a chord with a lot of Americans.

So you might think the thousands of journalists assembled here in Philadelphia -- most of them the very same people! -- would have figured out that you have to pay attention to the stuff that matters, namely, the candidate and the people speaking on his or her behalf during the prime time network hour. (Sorry to play press critic: It’s impossible not to at these events because media are as much a part of the story as the story itself.)

That the chairwoman of the DNC was fired is interesting, as are the circumstances of her firing, and it certainly gave the cable shows plenty to talk about all day, when otherwise they would be blathering about something else. (Read this story about the extraordinary lengths the DNC goes to please rich people; warning: you’ll need a shower afterward.) The booing inside the hall and the protests outside were interesting. As was the booing during the prayer and a speech by Elijah Cummings, of all people.

But all that was happening while people with real jobs were at work or ferrying kids to band or baseball practice.

What really mattered was Michelle Obama’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton, delivered in prime time. It told an uplifting, American story that had moments of emotion that seemed genuine while playing the neat trick of serving as an attack on Trump while never mentioning him. And the person delivering it was connecting with the TV audience at home. (I know this because I came all this way to watch the first night on TV. Long, boring story as to why.) Moreover, she’s broadly popular with the public and especially to African Americans and others in the so-called Obama coalition. It will be written about and played in an endless loop.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave a cutting speech about Trump and made him furious, as evidenced by his Twitter feed. Sanders gave his well-practiced (30 years!) left wing litany, but this time said he had confidence that Clinton would push that agenda. His supporters were in tears. But it was a full throated endorsement. We’ll be talking to Sanders delegates the remainder of the week to see if they’re ready to commit to Clinton. 

Re, unity, here’s Condon: I spy DFL Chair (and long held Clinton backer) Ken Martin waving a Bernie sign.

Here’s the AP’s account of the night.

While Warren and Sanders will help unite Democrats, they do not have the reach of Michelle Obama, who was going for suburban independents and soft Republicans, who, let’s remember, were the best target audience, because they are persuadable and need to be persuaded. You could hardly find a more credible endorser than Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist around presidential politics for decades. Granted, he is a #neverTrump, but he knows his stuff: It was a crafted, tested, top-tier speech delivered perfectly and gives the media their storyline of unity in PHL.

Here’s the speech, with the intro video.

Lastly, here’s David Frum comparing the flap over what’s in the DNC emails to the larger question of where they came from: Even the biggest news inside the DNC emails is about one/one-zillionth as big as Russian interference in US elections …

Correspondence: patrick.coolican@startribune.com and Twitter: @jpcoolican.

I promise to make it into the hall tonight!

Have a great day everyone.

-- J. Patrick Coolican