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Wisconsin Delegates At Democratic National Convention Confident of Unity

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Preparations continue for Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center on July 24, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Now, it’s the Democrats’ turn. The GOP wrapped up its convention in Cleveland last week. Today, Democratic delegates are gathered in Philadelphia for their party’s presidential nomination convention. More than 80 of them are from Wisconsin. We caught up with a few before they left; they expect to come away unified.

Carmen Cabrera is attending her first Democratic National Convention. She predicts things will go smoothly, with delegates uniting around her candidate, Hillary Clinton.

“I think we are going to have the momentum, the enthusiasm, the passion,” Cabrera says.

Cabrera watched the Republican National Convention, including the uproar that erupted on the first day, when the “Never Trump” movement protested being ignored.

“I don’t anticipate that at our event. I think Democrats are more organized and we know how to do things. I feel that within the party there is that unity, like we did during the debates, act grown up and civil,” Cabrera says.

While Cabrera doesn’t think floor fights will ensue between Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ supporters, another delegate predicts there will be some tension at the convention, over the party’s principles.

“On the floor, those of us who are part of the Sanders campaign, we’re going to work to make this a more progressive platform.” Peter Rickman is a delegate for Bernie Sanders. “We’re going to fight to include in this platform, a component that explicitly opposes the Trans-Pacific partnership, just the latest job-killing corporate handshake trade deal that we’ve seen decimate communities across states like Wisconsin,” Rickman says.

But, Rickman thinks any disagreements between Clinton and Sanders supporters would be minor. There’s nothing wrong with a rousing discussion, according to Democratic state Rep. David Bowen of Milwaukee, another Sanders delegate.

“Rigorous debate shouldn’t be seen as a problem. It’s good for your party to have members that are knowledgeable about these issues, that are passionate about these issues, because that’s what fuels us to move forward with the most progressive platform in party history and it’s something we are proud of,” Bowen says.

Bowen credits Sanders with helping to iron out much of the platform in advance, and believes everyone will come away satisfied. As for the nuts and bolts of the Wisconsin delegation’s work, each member must vote for a specific candidate on the first ballot.  Martha Laning is chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

“The pledged delegates are divided based on the election results. So, 48 of our pledged delegates went to Bernie Sanders and 38 went to Hillary. So yes, in the first vote, those people will be obligated to vote for their candidate unless their candidate releases them and encourages them to vote for a different candidate,” Laning says.

The Wisconsin delegates are already moving this morning. Just like the Republicans did, the convention days start with breakfast meetings and speeches – and then caucuses with various interest groups.

At least one politician from Wisconsin is scheduled to speak at the convention: Congresswoman Gwen Moore.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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