The New York delegation kicked off it’s 2008 DNC gathering Sunday with cocktails and quintessential Big Apple fare — hot pastrami sandwiches, chopped liver and cheesecake — in a packed Sheraton Hotel ballroom whose decor displayed the splintered sentiment of its membership. Signs declaring this year’s classic DNC battlecry, “Change We Can Count On” vyed for space with signs declaring the New York delegation’s continuing allegiance to the party’s losing contender: “Hillary Made History.”
At this convention, so loaded with emotion and historic relevance to African Americans, there seems to be a duality of purpose and position. Yes, Sen. Barack Obama is the clear winner of the nomination. Yes, he is the undisputed champion of the convention, his face plastered on every possible variety of T-shirt, on posters in every window, on more pins and buttons and books and bobble-heads than Denver’s massive Invesco Field can hold. But Clinton has a stronghold on many of her supporters, and they are unapologetic in qualifying their support for the party’s candidate.
One glance at the New York delegation bears ample evidence. At the entry to their gatherings, the tables loaded with DNC paraphernelia boast as many Clinton items as Obama items. Among the most popular sellers are buttons that proclaim, “Hillary Supporter for Obama,” and “Hillary Supports Obama and So Do I.”
In talking with members of the delegation, no one indicated that they wouldn’t vote for Obama and many expressed genuine enthusiasm for doing so. But their regret remains on the surface, and they don’t seem to be trying to hide it.
Caroline Clarke is the Women of Power brand manager.