Granholm: Dems ‘beginning to unite’ despite drama

Maureen Feighan and Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania – Despite a combative start to this week’s Democratic National Convetion, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday said she believes Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters will come around by the end of the week and said “it is a process that people have to go through.”

Just as presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton fell short to President Barack Obama in 2008, Granholm, a vocal Clinton supporter, said she believes Sanders supporters need time to absorb what’s happened.

“I saw last night a party that was beginning to unite,” said Granholm. “They have to take some time to absorb that. ...When (Sanders) sent out a text message and said ‘As a personal consideration for me, please don’t demonstrate at the floor’ and 14 times he said he supports her. I think you will see by the end of this convetion we will be fully united, or at least well on that way. You have to let people make that decision on their own time.”

Granholm said she will speak Thursday, the last day of the convention when Clinton will make her acceptance speech and her daughter Chelsea Clinton also is expected to speak. The theme is “Sronger Together.” Henrietta Ivey, a home health care worker from Detroit who supports raising the minimum wage, also is expected to speak.

Monday marked a rocky start to the convention, which kicked off just one day after leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee revealed the party worked during the primaries to undermine Sanders’ campaign. Sanders delegates chanted “Bernie!” intermittently throughout speeches. Three Michigan delegates even taped their mouths shut in protest.

Elayne Petrucci, a Sanders delegate from Trenton, said the Vermont senator’s supporters are disappointed. Even though he encouraged his supporters on Monday to vote for Clinton, “we were hoping for some kind of hail mary pass.”

Still, Petrucci, who is running for the state House and describes herself as Bernie-crat, isn’t sure if she’s ready to get behind Clinton, though “we don’t want Donald Trump elected.”

Sanders started “a movement,” Petrucci said. “He’s awakened a lot of people... We need progressives in office at every level of government.”

Dems: Trump a “buffoon” and a “loud-mouthed con man”

Much like Republicans did last week with Clinton, Democrats in Philadelphia are finding common ground in their opposition to Trump, a theme that Granholm and other speakers hammered home at a Tuesday breakfast for Michigan delegates.

“That buffoon, that bigot, that bully the Republicans have nominated,” former Sen. Carl Levin told delegates, “the difference between him and someone who has devoted her life to public service is night and day.”

Sen. Gary Peters, who succeeded Levin when he retired at the end of 2014, criticized Trump for his plans to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from entering the United States or halt immigration from countries “compromised” by terrorism.

Michigan has one of the most vibrant Arab American communities in the United States, Peters said, “and we will not let Donald Trump say they are not welcome in this country, because we are stronger with them.”

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who helped lead Clinton’s primary campaign in Michigan, attacked Trump’s business record, which he has touted on the campaign trail as evidence of his presidential qualifications despite a lack of political experience.

She noted multiple Trump companies have gone through bankruptcy, leading to employee layoffs, and that Trump-brand suits and ties are reportedly made in Mexico.

“Donald Trump is a loud-mouthed conman who pits people against each other while he picks your pockets,” Stabenow said to applause.

The Democratic National Convention is expected to continue Tuesday at 4 p.m. The prime-time speaker lineup includes former President Bill Clinton.