Live at the DNC – I survived a PUMA

I’m finally at a place where I can write a full on post about what I’ve seen thus far at the Convention. It’s been interesting. In order to stay up to the minute on what I’m seeing, follow The SuperSpade on Twitter at, where I’ll be sending updates from my phone on various events.

The PUMAs are coming

My shuttle ride in from the airport was 2.5 hours long. I shared that shuttle with an Obama volunteer, 2 Hillary Clinton delegates from Virginia, and a woman from Real Democrats in DC. What I found in them all were women that were ostensibly passionate about democratic and the Democratic Party, but who underneath were actually angry and disappointed in their party’s treatment of Hillary Clinton and how the party selects its nominee.

Some of the arguments made sense, but others had a strange hint of ‘my discrimination is better than yours’, even if it wasn’t intentional. For example, the Hillary folks never liked the caucus process, and I never really understood why. Now I do. They felt like caucuses gave some voters the chance to intimidate other voters in certain districts. Ladies and gentlemen, don’t be confused: that is code for Black voters scared away white voters in Black districts. It’s just like calling Barack Obama arrogant: the “pc” way of saying that he is out of place.

They did have a different take on why her time as First Lady should count as experience: the analogy was a family-owned business. In many cases, the husband’s name is on everything (loans, bills, etc.) and the wife may not even be on the official payroll. Nevertheless, she contributes to the business operations (management of paperwork, employees, travel planning, etc.) and also is effectively a consultant on business strategy and decisions (e.g. Should we open another store across town? Should I hire an intern? etc.). This I think has merit, since I KNOW that I consult significant other when making business decisions. The nuance of this though was probably lost in the election mayhem.

Another thing they said was that a lot of older women in the Northeast were withholding their money from the DNC, which is dangerous considering the amount of money that the Republican Party has been raising ($75 million compared to the Democrats’ $28 million).

What do they want?

Something has to be done to bring these women to the table. When I asked the woman from Real Democrats who she wanted held accountable, her answers were:

  • The Democratic National Committee for ignoring their complaints on caucus practices
  • The Obama Campaign for doing that and taking these upset voters for granted
None of these women had plans to vote for John McCain. They said that most of these women in their movement were hardcore Democrats that wouldn’t cross over; they’d rather stay home than do that. The problem is, crossing over and staying home have the same effect. I pushed her on this point and here response was “no stance, no respect.” Truer words were never spoken, even if I don’t like this particular context.

The really scary part: Hillary doesn’t control them

The press and the Obama campaign keeps saying that Hillary Clinton needs to “get her supporters in line.” These women were very clear when they said to me that there was nothing that Hillary Clinton could do or say to change their position. Nothing. What that means is that this thing has legs all its own, and their going to keep kicking and screaming.

Hopefully though, it’ll somehow die this week.

One Love. One II.


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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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