This article is part of a series on the Democratic National Convention.
PHILADELPHIA – All 4,000-plus delegates at the Democratic National Convention last night rose to their feet and gave Bernie Sanders prolonged, thunderous applause. They rarely sat down.
He began by saying “We have begun a political revolution to transform America and that revolution – our revolution – continues.”
He ended with “any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.”
Sanders pointed out that over the past year many millions of people became politically active for the first time, swelling the ranks of the Democratic Party. The vast majority have pledged to work for Hillary Clinton, bringing their energy and enthusiasm with them.
In fact, the “political revolution” has contributed to building a unified Democratic presidential campaign that is so strong, it has attracted supporters such as Michael Bloomberg, former three term mayor of New York City.
Bloomberg had been a Democrat most of his life but switched his registration to the Republican Party when he ran for office.
Last night, Rep. Keith Ellison, D.-Minn, introduced Sanders. Ellison said “I am a proud – I say proud — Bernie supporter.
“Bernie woke us up,” Ellison said. ” … and we will never go to sleep again.”
He continued, “We made our voices heard, and we produced the most progressive platform in history,” including banning private prisons, expanding Social Security, the public option, debt free college tuition, raising the wage to $15 an hour.
“We made our voices heard,” Ellison repeated. “And we will make our voices heard in November and elect Hillary Clinton,” who is committed to the platform.
In his speech, Sanders acknowledged the “extraordinary”contributions of First Lady Michelle Obama, saying that she stepped beyond the role most first ladies play. Obama had spoken earlier and delivered what many observers felt was a show-stealing speech.
She said that the presidential election will determine “who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years” and she urged delegates to unite behind Clinton.
Describing the blood, sweat and tears of the American people who serve, struggle and aspire to give a better life for their children, Obama said, “That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.”
Without mentioning Donald Trump’s name, she described to the nation how to respond to anyone who is “cruel or acts like a bully.”
“When they go low, we go high.”
In his speech, Sanders said, “Together, my friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform America and that revolution – our revolution – continues. Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice – that struggle continues.
“And I look forward to being part of that struggle with you.”
Sanders continued, “The Republicans want us to forget that [seven and a half years ago] as a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, our economy was in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Some 800,000 people a month were losing their jobs. We were running up a record-breaking deficit of $1.4 trillion and the world’s financial system was on the verge of collapse.
“We have come a long way in the last seven and a half years, and I thank President Obama and Vice President Biden for their leadership in pulling us out of that terrible recession.
“Yes, we have made progress,” Sanders said, “but I think we can all agree that much, much more needs to be done.”
He said “Hillary Clinton understands that if someone in America works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty. She understands that we must raise the minimum wage to a living wage. And she is determined to create millions of new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure – our roads, bridges, water systems and wastewater plants.”
Sanders compared Clinton to Trump.
“Donald Trump … does not support raising the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour – a starvation wage,” Sanders said.
“While Donald Trump believes in huge tax breaks for billionaires, he believes that states should actually have the right to lower the minimum wage below $7.25. What an outrage!”
The audience was very lively throughout the evening, loudly expressing support or disagreement for points being made by speakers. TV cameras even picked up some delegates who were crying.
Political observers said that raucousness has been traditional at Democratic Party National Conventions.
“We are like a family, said Rep. Steven Israel, who represents New York’s third congressional district. “We thrash out ideas and opinions among ourselves and then emerge united.”
Sanders concluded his speech by saying “Our job now is to see that [the Democratic Party platform] is implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency – and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.
“Hillary Clinton,” Bernie said, “will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight.”
Photo: Craig Ruttle/AP