Politics, government and public life for Southern California

DNC Chair Villaraigosa overrules majority on religious platform changes

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The most controversial event of tonight's Democratic National Convention was just about the first event of the evening.

There was a special vote to amend the party platform, inserting a statement saying Democrats recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel and reaffirming Democrats' belief in God as central to our American story.

There was no debate... but there was dissent from the floor.

The man at the podium, DNC Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa, called for a motion, a second, and then a vote, saying it needed two-thirds to pass. 

All in favor?  There were ayes.  All opposed?  The "nays" were even louder.

"In the opinion of the—"  And then Villaraigosa stopped. Using his school teacher voice, he said, "Let me do that again."

Villaraigosa called for a second vote.  Same result.  A party functionary came out and told him, "You've got to let them do what they're going to do." 

C-SPAN, meanwhile, showed a shot of an unhappy delegate holding a sign reading "Arab American Democrat."

Villaraigosa then called for a third vote. 

Frankly, it sounded pretty even to me. But the L.A. Mayor said that in his opinion, the amendment got the necessary two-thirds votes.  He declared two-thirds voted in the affirmative, the motion was adopted and the platform was amended. 

The kerfuffle took off on Twitter almost immediately. Villaraigosa clearly was blindsided. If he gets blamed, it could tarnish his hopes for future national prominence in the party.

Or maybe it's just a math problem he couldn't solve.

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