During his debut appearance at the Democratic National Convention today, Bernie Sanders had to endure the booing of his own supporters after he urged them to vote the Clinton-Kaine ticket in November.
Two blocks away outside of City Hall, he could do no harm.
Hundreds of the Vermont senator’s fans gathered for the second chokingly hot day in a row, many coming to protest the Clinton’s expected nomination this week. Some chanted “Never Hillary!” and urged delegates to “say no to the warmakers’ candidate!”
Philadelphia Police said as of 6:45 p.m., 55 people had been cited for disorderly conduct. No arrests were made.
Justin Goldsman, who hauled up to Philly from Florida, held up a cardboard sign with “Hillary for Prison!” scrawled on it with Sharpie.
“It’s one thing Democrats and Republicans can both agree on,” he said, wiping his brow with a sweaty shirt.
It was a taste of a rhetoric seen at Donald Trump rallies. And in the wake of the DNC email leaks, which showed collusion among pro-Clinton party during the primary election, Sanders fans had even more reason shade to throw at the presumptive nominee.
But Goldsman immediately clarified that he respects Sanders’ decision to endorse Clinton. “He realizes that Trump is crazy, and he doesn’t want to see the party fractured, even if it would be completely justifiable after those emails.”
This is the same day that a FiveThirtyEight poll showed Donald Trump beating Clinton in a hypothetical election today. Still, Clinton won’t have a Goldsman vote. No way, no how.
Kay Bowman, who hails from Santa Barbara, travelled to Philly with a few points to make. Sanders has better odds of beating Trump than Clinton does, according to a number of primary-era polls. Sanders has no scandals. Sanders speaks to the issues of the 99 percent. But last but not least, if Sanders decides to stay with Clinton — as his remarks today indicate he will — there won’t be any hard feelings, even if Bowman disagrees.
“I’ll never hold anything against Bernie,” she said. “I support him one hundred percent, but I’ll never vote for Hillary.”
Even if Sanders doesn’t walk away this week with the Democrat’s nomination, that doesn’t mean there’s not work to be done. The DNC, to many here, is the last chance to push the party’s platform.
“Bernie has said from the beginning, ‘we, not me.’ He lit the spark on the bomb and we’re going to burn it down for him,” said Michael Blejski of northwest Indiana.
This is the unique power of Sanders’ supporters: in a matter of hours, they turned City Hall into an all-things-left political scrum. They turned it into a space where the gripes of the long-gone primary could be aired toe-to-toe with a call to push the Democratic platform further on climate change and labor rights. There was a 9-year girl with a “Still Bernie” sign next to a man who said he attended Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963. Broad and Market became an encyclopedia of social justice movements. Conversations touched on Black Lives Matter and Israeli-Palestinian foreign policy. Dear god, where else could an 80-foot inflatable joint make the rounds with the words “END THE RACIST DRUG WAR” printed on the side?
Larry Adams, an African American trade unionist from northern New Jersey, handed out pamphlets among the crowd.
“I think that the unity is around the progressive domestic platform,” Adams said of the diverse showing.
There were even some former Sanders fans at the rally who still have a soft spot for the senator.
Derek C., of Queens, was hawking DNC-themed condoms throughout the morning and afternoon. He was one of many former Sanders supporters who have since pledged their allegiance to Clinton. Derek said he thinks Trump has a shot at winning, citing the amount of discontent with the system. He even thinks some of his leftmost-leaning friends will vote for Trump, per a recent observation by documentarian Michael Moore that
“There are a lot of people I know like that,” he said. “Even if they’re against Trump, even if they know he’ll be worse than Hillary, they still want to cleanse through fire.”
Sanders, who will address the convention later tonight, sent a text to supporters Monday afternoon that read, “I ask you as a personal courtesy to me to not engage in any kind of protest on the floor.”