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July 26, 2016

Calls for unity are met with protest on first day of Democratic National Convention

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Essential question

What are some effective ways to voice your opinion on issues you care about?


The Democratic National Convention began on Monday amid protests from supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and calls for unity to back Hillary Clinton. The boos and division continued whenever Clinton’s name was mentioned.

Thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails were published on the website Wikileaks over the weekend showing DNC leaders undermining Sanders during the primaries. The controversy resulted in the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday.

On Monday, Wasserman Schultz was booed by Sanders’ supporters at a Florida delegation breakfast and had to be escorted out of the room by security. Sanders himself was booed after he urged party unity. Sanders sent out e-mails and text messages urging supporters not to boo or to stage walkouts.

The DNC counted on speeches later in the evening by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a key leader in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, First Lady Michelle Obama as well as Sanders himself to bring Democrats together, according to NPR’s Rachel Martin.

The FBI has opened an investigation into how WikiLeaks gained access to the DNC’s emails. Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook has suggested Russian hackers hoping to give Republican Donald Trump a boost were responsible. Trump dismissed the claim as a joke.


Key terms

national convention — a convention of a major political party, especially one that nominates a candidate for the presidency

political party committee — an organization officially affiliated with a political party and registered with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), which raises and spends money for political campaigning

Warm up questions (before watching the video)

1) Who is set to receive the Democratic Party’s nomination for president on Tuesday?

2) What is the purpose of political party committees?

3) Why were some Sanders’ supporters booing speakers at the Democratic National Convention?

Critical thinking questions

1) Will a rocky first day of the convention have negative repercussions on the general election? Explain.

2) The Republican National Convention also showed signs of division. How important is party unity in winning the general election?

3) What are some ways that Sanders’ supporters’ voices could continue to be heard in this election?

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