If anyone thought the Democratic National Convention would begin in the shadow of all things Donald Trump, think again. Right as the Democrats roll into Philadelphia for their own time in the national spotlight, attention has turned to a brewing scandal after emails leaked on WikiLeaks revealed efforts by some of the party's top officials to hinder Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.
Now that the convention is here and tensions over the divide in the party are once again at the forefront, will we see a resurgence in a call for a contested convention? Here are the three key things to watch for on the first day of the Democratic National Convention.
1) WWBD (What Will Bernie Do)?:
The most watched speaker Monday will be Bernie Sanders. He recently endorsed presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton after vigorously pursuing his primary challenge. But, after leaked emails revealed what many Sanders supporters have suspected all along, what tone will his speech take now?
Will the Vermont senator make his case for Clinton? Will he renew his push against her and the establishment? Will he avoid Clinton as a whole and continue his rail against Trump? Also worth paying attention to is how delegates who have pledged support to Sanders in the past, including those from here in Oregon, will react to the email leaks. Reporter Jeff Mapes has heard rumblings that some delegates may stage a walkout.
One thing is clear, it will be must-see TV.
2) Oregon Gets Some Spotlight:
Sen. Jeff Merkley and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, will represent the Beaver State on stage Monday night in Philadelphia. The pair is expected to address the Convention in separate speeches.
As co-chair of the Oregon Democratic Delegation with fellow Sen. Ron Wyden, Merkley was expected to have an interesting role this week even before it was confirmed that he will speak on the Convention's opening night. Merkley is the only senator to endorse Sanders for president and previously appeared to be trying to bridge the gap between the Sanders and Clinton camps. But after the email leaks, will his tone change?
And although it is far from a prime-time address, Kotek will get her time in the national spotlight as well. She will discuss legislative achievements in Oregon and what that means for the nation and the next president. Also, don't be surprised if she raises gay rights issues during her time on stage.
3) Michelle Obama Takes The Stage:
The first lady's speech will receive even more attention after being plagiarized by Melania Trump. Will she refer to it? Also, will Michelle have some image-building anecdotes about Clinton or will it be more concerned with burnishing her husband's legacy?
Bonus: OPB Politics Now
Related: OPB Politics Now: Previewing The DNC
On the first special episode of the OPB Politics Now podcast from the Democratic National Convention, Senior Political Reporter Jeff Mapes and Think Out Loud Host Dave Miller preview what to expect during the first day.
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