Byko: Philly, Hillary win; protesters get Berned

A Bernie Sanders supporter cools down at a sprinkler hydrant at Broad and Locust during a march.

THANK GOD it's gone.

The heat wave, not the DNC.

As you read this, the thousands of delegates and media are streaming to the airport and 30th Street Station (and maybe the Bolt bus) to get home to enjoy the weekend with their families.

It's time for self-assessment, a review of what happened, a convention report card.

Philly was a hit.

Let's start with no major terror attack. From there, thanks to the good behavior of the protesters and the cops, we will have to endure no taunts about Negadelphia from the smart-ass national press.

With the exception of transportation, just about everything came off without a hitch. The out-of-town press doesn't understand there's a jam in the Wells Fargo parking lot after every Flyers game.

Two separate groups with different aspirations started arriving about a week ago. The DNC hierarchy, and Hillary Clinton delegates, wanted a smudge-free coronation to favorably contrast with the rocky road in Cleveland staged by Republicans, a gathering boycotted by so many of the party's political stars.

Here, however, almost everyone, including delegates pledged to Bernie Sanders, wanted to blow up the Clinton machine and steal the nomination back, because the Berners believed it was stolen from them.

No one succeeded in stopping the inevitable, even though in the convention's opening day, Democratic National Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign as emails emerged showing the DNC had conspired against Sanders.

The DNC should have used Hillary to delete emails, because she has real experience with that.

In horror, the Berners watched their hero capitulate, throw his support to Queen Hillary, and ask them to do the same. A large number said they could not, and even booed Bernie when he suggested it.

Despite threats of boycotts and walkouts, the DNC regained the reins, and out there in TV land Americans saw something that passed for unity.

The some 20-odd (really odd in some cases) protest groups did not achieve their goals, which ranged from shutting down the DNC to replacing democracy with communism or socialism. The notable thing was how few of them were here. Really disappointing numbers.

You can blame, or thank, the near 100-degree heat, but I don't think that's it.

Some reality-detached Berners were predicting one million of their fellows would tramp into town. They didn't hit even 5 percent of that number.

The biggest march I saw all week had about 5,000 demonstrators, and, thanks to the Berners, it was largely peaceful. As of Thursday afternoon, just before the convention's closing night, Philadelphia police were reporting 103 arrests that were not technically "arrests."

The detention, handcuffing, and removal of the demonstrators, who got tickets instead of a jail cell, did help to defuse things, so Mayor Kenney's move to, um, "relax" enforcement of "nuisance crimes" worked, but largely because the Berners are averse to violence.

Philly policing won praise rather than the derision that followed the 400 actual arrests at the 2000 Republican National Convention here. In the interest of historical accuracy, let's note that then-Police Commissioner John Timoney was himself assaulted by some of the protesters, something dramatically different than happened this time around.

Police wore regular uniforms and didn't have to resort to what is called "riot gear," which ought to be called "protective gear."

I did a quick check with Center City restaurants, which said they were not getting much walk-in business, although some did get booked for special events by the well-heeled.

Sometime in the next few days we'll get counts from tourist attractions, such as Independence Hall, on how well they did, and I expect they did well.

For most Philadelphians who don't work or live in Center City or South Philly, it's almost like it didn't happen, and that's actually a good thing, because they'd be screaming if there was major trouble.

I spent days walking around the City Hall protest staging areas, Thomas Paine Plaza outside the Municipal Services Building, Marconi Plaza, and FDR Park. The hundreds, maybe thousands, of people I saw were mostly in a festive mood, even though they felt a burning anger about America's inequities and how Bernie got screwed.

I applaud how the protesters, even the crazy communists, conducted themselves, shielded by the First Amendment and well-drilled cops. It all worked because almost everyone obeyed the law. Not really that hard to do.

Demonstrators appreciated the city's putting out many skids of bottled water and EMTs being available to treat people who felt bad in the rotisserie heat.

That was Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

Despite the anger and anguish, the marches and promises to "shut down the DNC" and to "smash capitalism" in November, we will get a binary choice between a millionaire and a billionaire who are held in low regard by a majority of Americans. One represents a party of identity politics, the other a party of geographical politics.

Blame the RNC and the DNC. Don't blame Cleveland or Philadelphia.

Y'all come back some time, delegates.

stubyko@phillynews.com

215-854-5977 @StuBykofsky

Blog: ph.ly/Byko

Columns: ph.ly/StuBykofsky