Jo Freeman's Democratic Convention Diary: Bernie Sanders Supporters, More Sad Than Celebratory, More Angry Than Uplifted
Jerry Emmett, Arizona's delegation's honorary chairwoman, 102 years old at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia
Protestors often prefer a brilliant defeat to a drab victory. That’s what happened Tuesday night when Bernie Sanders moved to endorse Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party nominee by acclamation. Many of his delegates in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia walked out. A few blocks away those of his supporters who were watching the proceedings on a screen set up in neighboring FDR Park exploded in anger.
Earlier in the day I heard the head of the 'Bernie or Bust' movement tell a crowd of 500 across from Philadelphia City Hall that Hillary was more dangerous than Donald Trump. He said he had a 50 state strategy to attack Hillary. People in that crowd carried signs that said "Bernie or Jill (Stein, Green Party candidate), but never Hill" and accused her of election fraud.
In reality, Bernie Sanders and his movement won a tremendous victory. They turned a drab primary season into an exciting race, raising consciousness about economic inequality and the 1 percent that would otherwise have lain dormant. Bernie got into the race to push Hillary to the left, and he succeeded. This is reflected in the Platform that was voted on Monday night as well as in Hillary's speeches.
But the Berniers I listened to in the downtown rallies and in FDR park were more sad than celebratory, more angry than uplifted. They wanted red meat, not Tofurky*. This went beyond what I saw in 2008, when Hillary’s dedicated supporters were disappointed that she wasn't heading the Democratic ticket, or even in the second spot. The latter were in mourning, not out for revenge.
Watching that anger at less than total victory reminded me of the 1964 Democratic Convention where the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party demanded that Mississippi's delegate seats be given to its integrated delegation rather than the all-white delegation of the state Democratic Party. President Johnson offered the MFPD two at-large votes, leaving Mississippi's 24 votes with its chosen delegates who would sign a statement of loyalty to the national Party ticket (only four did).
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