Netroots Nation’s national conference has 3,000 in town

CENTER CITY — Lots of people interested in politics and next year’s Democratic presidential nomination will have their eyes focused on the Pennsylvania Convention Center through Saturday.

Netroots Nation is holding its annual convention there. The group’s website says,

“For more than a decade, Netroots Nation has hosted the largest annual conference for progressives, drawing thousands of attendees from around the country and beyond.”

This is what the Philadelphia Inquirer had to say about it in Thursday morning’s emailed newsletter:

The 2020 presidential campaign centers on Philly this weekend
Some of the more progressive Democratic candidates running for president, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, are expected to take the stage at the Pennsylvania Convention Center this weekend.
They’ll be part of Netroots, a convention that started 13 years ago. As its annual attendance has grown, so has its influence. It’s no longer a fringe group, but rather a key voice in the Democratic Party.
The convention opens today and is expected to draw 3,000 attendees, with the headline being Saturday’s forum for presidential candidates.

Netroots Nation’s website says it’s expecting 3,000 attendees, 175 sessions, and 400 speakers at the Philadelphia conference. It promises trainings, panels, networking and keynote speakers for progressive activists.

Among Thursday evening’s speakers will be NextGen America’s Tom Steyer, the billionaire who just threw his hat into the presidential ring earlier this week. Also scheduled is Alicia Garza, co-creator of Black Lives Matter.

Friday morning, controversial Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner is scheduled to be a panelist in a discussion called “What It Takes: What 2020 Candidates Can Learn From Local Struggles to End Mass Incarceration.”

At the same time, Philadelphia Councilmember Helen Gym is scheduled to be a panelist in a discussion called “Building a Movement to #EndPoverty in America.”

On Saturday morning, expect Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

At Saturday afternoon’s “Daily Kos/Netroots Nation Presidential Candidate Forum,” the speakers are expected to include “Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Secy. Julian Castro, Gov. Jay Inslee and others TBA.” (You don’t see Sen. Cory Booker’s [D-N.J.] name there, but he’s still a “TBA” possibility.) Councilmember Gym will return to offer opening remarks, along with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

I first learned about the group after researching a picture of Sen. Booker taken at last year’s conference in New Orleans.

You see Sen. Booker holding a sign that read “From Palestine to Mexico, All the Walls Have Got to Go,” along with some young activists or blind followers who gave it to him. They made sure to score publicity points off the senator’s lack of knowledge of his surroundings.

That took its toll on Sen. Booker’s popularity among Jewish and other pro-Israel voters, in New Jersey and out. He claimed he “didn’t realize” what the sign said.

Netroots Nation says it put changes in place for this year. It tells a lot about the group.

You may have noticed the attempted abduction caught on surveillance video last weekend and shown in yesterday’s post happened just *five blocks* south of this conference.


  1. “Zioness is really about pushing anti-Semitism out of progressive spaces through a narrative shift,” the group’s founder said. “It’s hurtful when progressives who are running for office or hold office are perpetuating a narrative that is totally inconsistent with how American Jews feel. It makes our work really difficult. It makes Jewish life in America really difficult.”

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