2016 Democratic Convention

Bernie Sanders Delegates Are Furious and a DNC Floor Protest is Possible

In convention floor interviews with Reason, "Bernie or Bust" delegates call Clinton "untrustworthy" and are cagey about a possible DNC walk-out.


Takin it to the floor
Reason/Anthony L. Fisher

Bernie Sanders delegates are mad as hell (even booing their candidate today after he tried to convince them to vote for Hillary Clinton) and a convention floor revolt in some shape or form is possible.

According to the Los Angeles Times, earlier today Sanders supporters were "making the rounds at a hotel near the airport where state delegations from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine, all strongholds of Sanders support, were staying" in the hopes of ensuring a roll call vote at the convention, despite the fact that Sanders has already endorsed Clinton. 

Reason spoke with a number of Bernie Sanders-supporting delegates on the floor of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in the hour prior to the opening gavel today. These delegates represented states won by both Sanders and Hillary Clinton, but party unity was not on the mind of Sanders supporters, many of whom remain incensed over the information revealed by a Wikileaks dump of Democratic National Committee-related emails, which confirmed the long-suspected preference of the party leadership for Clinton over Sanders. 

Tim Butler of Pennsylvania confirmed he's heard various rumors of a "sit-in, walk-out, standing and turning our backs to Hillary during her speech," but that he couldn't confim any particular action will actually take place. Butler says he's undecided on whether or not he'll vote for Clinton in the general election, though he's worried that a vote for a third party will result in a Donald Trump presidency. He thinks "libertarians and progressives have a lot in common," but libertarians' "anti-government" philosophy makes voting for Gary Johnson an unlikely prospect for him to consider.

One Wisconsin delegate decked out in a substantial amount of Bernie swag, Joshua John Renner, told me his "Flip a Delegate" button referred to his efforts to convince superdelegates to switch their votes to Sanders. Renner would not comment on the rumored revolts, but added, "we'll see what happens." He completely ruled out voting for Clinton in the general election, calling her "untrustworthy" on too many issues to count, and said he would likely vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Mad as hell and not sold on Hillary
Anthony L. Fisher

Theresa Jacobs of Montana said she was "in a state of visceral disgust" over the entire Democratic primary process, which she says has had "corruption built in" from the start. Jacobs called Clinton "a cheater" and described her nomination "a sham." In Jacob's view Clinton is a "warhawk," adding that she couldn't fathom how Clinton—a mother and a grandmother—could be so "militaristically aggressive" throughout her political career, championing wars which have caused countless children to be orphaned.  

Jacobs would not confirm or deny any coordinated revolt by Sanders' delegates either before or after tomorrow's roll call vote, but she did say she was working to "convert superdelegates" by "tweaking their consciences…to prevent harm." She did not seem confident that her efforts were amounting to much due to the "cognitive dissonance" of the party elites.

Jenny Marshall of North Carolina told Reason that she is sure there are delegates who would like to walk out of the convention in protest, but that she "did not believe any reasonable delegate" would do so. Marshall said Clinton "has a lot of work to do" to get her vote and that the revelations of collusion between the DNC and Clinton's campaign mean "she's got a lot more to prove."

Jeff Marshall, also of North Carolina, suggested he might vote for the Libertarian or Green party candidates, but that if Clinton pivots sufficiently to the left, he'd leave the door open to voting for the Democrat.

A Massachusetts delegate who went by Elaine says that because "Bernie has not released us" yet, she is "still for Bernie all the way" until tomorrow's roll call vote at the bare minimum. She would consider voting for Clinton in the general election, but only if she demonstrates a sufficient commitment to the Democratic Party platform, which had a number of Sanders supporters among its authors.

According to Betsy Woodruff of the Daily Beast, Sanders delegates from California were in no mood to play nice once the convention actually got under way:

Check out Reason TV's video about how the very concept of superdelegates was created by the Democratic Party following the nominations of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, precisely to prevent insurgent candidates such as Sanders from winning the nomination solely based on the will of Democratic primary voters.