Bernie Sanders will address the Democratic National Convention Monday night, with the expectation he will give a “full-throated” endorsement of Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States.
But if a small sampling of the hundreds of people who gathered at JFK Plaza in downtown Philadelphia Sunday afternoon is any indication, his most fervent supporters aren’t taking any endorsement from their candidate as a mandate to not follow their conscience.
“I’m voting for my conscience and not out of fear,” said Tara Orlando, from Floyd, Virginia. She seemed to believe, as did several of the protesters that FloridaPolitics.com spoke with, that somehow a Sanders victory was still in the cards.
“I hope the superdelegates wake up, especially after WikiLeaks has released all those emails to prove that it was hoodwinked,” Orlando said, “and if they want to do the right thing, they’ll nominate Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party.”
The WikiLeaks revelations have ratified the sentiments Sanders, and certainly his most fervent supporters, have felt from very early on in the Democratic primary contest since last summer — that it was rigged for Clinton to ease her way to the nomination.
“It’s more of a vindication of something that we believed all along, and it does feel good when you’ve got people more polarized on either side,” said Moira Gearan, also from Floyd, Virginia. “It may be a done deal, but at least people know that things were DONE.”
“We felt all along that the process was rigged from the beginning, especially the issue with the superdelegates,” said Reuben Matreger from Fenton, Michigan.
Oh yes, the superdelegates, which the Sanders campaign and their supporters abhor as being indicative of a bloated, elitist group of party insiders that is supposed to stop them from nominating an unelectable candidate, a la George McGovern in 1972 and Howard Dean in 2004.
The superdelegates are party insiders — in some cases, members of Congress — and they like it the way it is. But on Saturday, the Democratic Party’s Rules Committee ultimately voted to bring a “minority report” to a floor vote this week. What that apparently means is the superdelegates will do their thing this week and overwhelmingly support Clinton for the nomination, but it could be altered going forward.
Several Democrats in the crowd said they could not vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. Celeste McKissick from Cleveland held up a sign reading “Hill No.”
“If Bernie is not the nominee, it will be Jill Stein who I’ll vote for,” she said, adding Clinton hasn’t been able to do anything to “buy” her vote yet, so she doesn’t believe there’s anything she could say or do before November to be persuaded to vote for the Democratic nominee for president.
“I will very likely leave the party,” said Gearan when asked what she’ll do after Clinton accepts the party’s nomination later this week.
Long Beach, California resident Dea Montford was a lifelong Democrat, and also said she’s leaving the party if Sanders isn’t nominated this week. She said she’d been turned off by Democratic politics after what she said happened in California during that state’s primary election last month. “What they did there to disenfranchise SOOO many people from voting. No, I can’t support the Democratic Party and the DNC and Wasserman Schultz and Hillary? No.”
Sanders addresses the DNC later tonight.