Hillary Clinton will keep a promise she made to the National Education Association last October and attend the union’s annual convention in Washington DC in July. This is not unusual, since all NEA-endorsed Presidential candidates have either attended the event or addressed the delegates electronically. What will be different is there will still be a large number of Bernie Sanders supporters in the audience when she appears, and I don’t expect they will be in the mood for kumbayas.
The delegates will vote on whether to endorse Hillary in the general election – a foregone conclusion, of course – but it’s always the margin of this up-or-down vote that bears watching. The early endorsement of President Obama’s re-election in 2011 garnered 72 percent of the delegate vote, which is the lowest level of enthusiasm any endorsed Presidential candidate has ever received.
It remains to be seen whether the Sanders supporters will mount any sort of effort to protest, but even the worst-case scenario for NEA involves a historically weak endorsement of Hillary, followed by the release of millions of dollars in independent expenditures on her behalf, so there really isn’t much to worry about.
Hillary would do well to target her remarks to the Sanders supporters in a meaningful way, but I expect we’ll get the same standard education speech she has delivered for at least 17 years – minus the positive reference to charter schools.