TN Democratic convention notes: ‘bad sister,’ Andy Berke, Karl Dean, Bernie, etc.

‘She’s a bad sister’
State Rep. Raumesh Akbari of Memphis, at 32 one of the Tennessee legislature’s youngest members, got three minutes on stage at the convention Thursday — the first Tennessean to speak at a Democratic convention since 2008.

From The Tennessean report:

“My fellow young people — we have a choice, and it’s crystal clear! What side of history do we want to be on? Which political leader will we allow to define our generation?” she asked.

Akbari… suggested that Clinton would help fight for debt-free college for everyone, free community college and work to advance new “strategies” to combat the problems unique to those in her generation.

“Will you join me and support a leader who understands that the deep racial wounds of our country have not yet healed, but together we can work to be the change we wish to see in the world?” she asked, before plugging Clinton’s credentials, which date back to the former secretary of state’s law school days, work with the Children’s Defense Fund and her time as first lady.

“Come on y’all, she’s a bad sister!” Akbari said, going off script while reiterating a phrase she previously used when introducing Clinton at an event in Memphis last year.

Berke ties Trump to Gardenhire
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, a former state senator, told Tennessee delegates Thursday that national Republicans’ path to Donald Trump began in part in places such as the GOP-dominated General Assembly, reports the Times-Free Press.

Berke sought to underscore his assertion by reading controversial quotations from GOP presidential nominee Trump, state Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, former state Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“Some of your Republican friends — the ones who claim to be reasonable — they’re going to talk about Donald Trump as an aberration,” Berke was quoted as saying by The Tennessean newspaper at the Philadelphia gathering. “Something out of the blue. They want you to think he’s on the edge of the cliff, saying these things just by himself.”

But the mayor said many, including Tennessee elected Republicans, “built the path to Donald Trump standing on that cliff every single day.”

The mayor’s comments came during the Tennessee delegation’s breakfast meeting on the last day of the convention where Democrat Hillary Clinton accepted the party nomination.

Berke is backing his deputy administrator of economic development, Nick Wilkinson, in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary in Senate District 10. The winner will face Gardenhire in the Nov. 8 general election. Khristy Wilkinson, no relation to Nick Wilkinson, and Ty O’Grady are also running in the Democratic primary.

Karl Dean attends convention
Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, eyeing a run for governor in 2018, attended the last two days of the convention, according to The Tennessean.

Dean said he was particularly impressed by the speech from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent and former Republican who had weighed mounting an independent run for president but opted against it.

In his remarks, Bloomberg — who, like Dean, was a mayor who pushed a business-friendly agenda and supported charter schools — unleashed a pointed critique of Trump, calling him a “dangerous demagogue,” a conman while referring to Clinton as the “sane, competent person.”

Dean said he appreciated the perspective of an independent and successful businessman like Bloomberg, who he also called a great mayor.

“Pluralism is a huge part of this country,” Dean said. “The Democrats get that. And I think a lot of Republicans do, but I don’t think their candidates does. I think Mayor Bloomberg put it well: This is an important election and you should look at it for what’s best for the country, and I think that’s why (Bloomberg) was there.”

…As for whether he’ll run for governor, Dean said he won’t know until several months from now.

“It’s something I’ll have to make a decision on early next year, but I’m working at it,” he said.
Bernie speaks to TN delegates
Bernie Sanders addressed a joint breakfast gathering of the Tennessee, Minnesota and Michigan delegations Thursday. From The Tennessean report:

In a 20-minute speech, the Vermont senator thanked loyalists from all three states, discussed the feats of his presidential campaign “despite taking on virtually the entire establishment” and recited his campaign proposals and causes that the Democratic Party has now adopted.

He also called Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump a “demagogue” who must never be elected president.

“It seems to me that we have a couple of missions in front of us, as we look at politics a little differently than many others,” Sanders said. “Issue No. 1 over the next few months, it is absolutely imperative that we work as hard as we can to make sure Donald Trump is defeated and Hillary Clinton is elected.”

“And the reason that (we) have to work so hard is that Donald Trump is the most dangerous candidate to run for president in the modern history of this country,” Sanders added.

Note: The newspaper also has collected comments/short video statements from several Tennessee Democrats, mostly legislators, answering a question on what Clinton needs to do now. It’s HERE.

The Johnson City Press has a story with comments from delegates representing Northeast Tennessee HERE.

But Martin Harmon, in his latest Delegate Diary report, may have the best delegate quote:

Bonnie Fussell, a Hillary Clinton delegate from Portland, Tenn., was ecstatic about the just-completed Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. She says it was “better than when I saw Elvis.”

The 73-year-old saw Elvis in the mid-1970s at a Murfreesboro concert at Middle Tennessee State University. She saved her grocery money for tickets.