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4 things to watch at this week's DNC

By: SUSAN FERRECHIO, Washington Examiner
July 23, 2016 Updated: July 24, 2016 at 9:55 pm
Caption +
Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., march during a protest in downtown on Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. The Democratic National Convention starts Monday in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

PHILADELPHIA — After a raucous Republican National Convention was punctuated by infighting over GOP nominee Donald Trump, Democrats are likely to put on a convention that showcases a party united behind Hillary Clinton and her agenda.

But Democrats may be faced with their own dramatic moments at the Wells Fargo Arena next week thanks to a brewing fight over the delegate system and questions about exactly how much Sen. Bernie Sanders, her former primary opponent, will endorse her.

Here's what to look for when the Democrats convene:

Pressure from the Left

Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren will undoubtedly keep the pressure on the party to lean progressive.

Clinton's chief primary rival was Sanders, the self-declared socialist who only recently endorsed Clinton after successfully pushing Clinton to embrace a more liberal platform. Both Sanders and Warren, D-Mass., are expected to give pro-Clinton speeches that target the young and liberal voters who gravitated to the Sanders campaign and had called on Warren to run for president.

DEM 2016 Convention
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., meets with comedian Stephen Colbert ahead of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Sunday, July 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) 

"The question is how forcefully will Sanders mobilize his supporters and make sure millennials not only support Clinton, but show up at the polls," Democratic strategist and former Obama administration spokesman Ben LaBolt told the Washington Examiner. "We'll definitely be looking to see how enthusiastically he leans in next week, because it will be important to the outcome."

The fight over super delegates

A faction of liberal Democrats plan to push for a change to the Democratic National Committee rules that would rid the system of superdelegates, which Sanders condemned during the primary system that he failed to win.

Superdelegates are comprised of establishment delegates, and this time around, they ensured Clinton held a wide delegate lead over Sanders. The groups plan a pre-convention press conference to announce their challenge to the current rules and say they have obtained enough co-sponsors to win a floor vote.

"This is a historic moment for the Democratic Party," said Aaron Regunberg, Rhode Island State Representative and Rules Committee Member. "Saturday we vote on whether to end the undemocratic super delegate system. It's time to restore democracy in the Democratic Party."

Mothers of the movement speeches

Clinton has invited "mothers of the movement" to address the convention on Tuesday. The group is made up of the mothers of black men who were fatally shot by police.

The invite comes after a string of deadly shootings that have targeted police in several cities. The Democratic plan has already drawn criticism from the Philadelphia police union, which noted that Clinton did not invite the widows or family of officers who were killed in the line of duty.

"It is sad that to win an election Mrs. Clinton must pander to the interests of people who do not know all the facts, while the men and women they seek to destroy are outside protecting the political institutions of this country," said John McNesby, president of Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. "Mrs. Clinton, you should be ashamed of yourself if that is possible."

Clinton's reinforcements

At the Republican National Committee, top Republican party leaders were notably absent. But the Democratic convention will showcase and abundance of top party leaders lining up behind Clinton, most notably President Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

The DNC's list of speakers includes no fewer than 43 top elected officials including senators, governors, House lawmakers and mayors.

Republicans "had some good speakers," Democratic strategist Christopher Hahn told the Examiner, "but nobody with the gravitas of President Clinton or President Obama. It shows a more unified front."

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