Bernie Sanders supporters, outraged by recent revelations that the Democratic National Committee had its finger on the scale in favor of Hillary Clinton throughout the 2016 primary, are using the Democratic convention as a vehicle through which to voice their discontent.
The contents of the emails, according to a report by ABCNews, have sparked disarray within a party scrambling for unification.
“Just one day before the Democratic convention was set to begin, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation, effective at the end of the week,” notes ABC News. “And as expected, Sanders supporters, hundreds of whom are delegates at the convention, are furious about the content of the emails.”
The anger runs deep, and it is being directed toward several targets, from Clinton herself to Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Clinton’s vice presidential pick, Tim Kaine.
Sanders supporters are also using the high-profile convention to voice their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a so-called trade agreement that critics argue will harm workers and the environment while enriching major corporations.
With the Wikileaks revelations front and center, disruption is expected; this convention will not be the sterile, clean-cut process of years past. Perhaps, for a party that has become complacent in its ability to garner progressive support without acting in accord with its lofty promises, this is a good thing.
On the first night of the convention, many Sanders supporters took to the streets outside of the convention. But they are also making their presence known inside the doors of Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.
As the Washington Post reports, Sanders supporters on the convention floor are now booing each time Hillary Clinton’s name is uttered by one of the convention speakers.
“The floor of the Democratic National Convention was awash with anti-Hillary Clinton sentiment and sporadic protests as it opened Monday afternoon,” Sean Sullivan and Anne Gearan write. “Every mention of her name drew boos from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s supporters, who toted signs railing against trade pacts and distracting from the speakers on stage.”
Earlier in the day, Sanders supporters expressed their frustrations with Bernie Sanders, himself, as he urged them to back Hillary Clinton in an effort to defeat Donald Trump.
Increasingly, progressives who backed Sanders in the primary are rejecting the “lesser of two evils” argument, insisting that Hillary Clinton is a representative of the very establishment Sanders built his campaign around opposing.
While Democrats put on an air of calm, insisting that the party will unify with time, supporters of the Vermont senator are showing that they don’t plan to fall in line.
Ignoring pleas from Sanders to not protest on the convention floor, Sanders delegates, according to Yahoo News, “interrupted the convention’s opening prayer with chants of ‘Bernie!'”
And there is no indication that the protests will cease.
“Iyad Alfaqa, a Sanders delegate from California, says most of the 370 Sanders delegates from California are planning to turn their backs when Clinton addresses the delegates Thursday night to accept the nomination,” writes Yahoo’s Liz Goodwin.
The floor of the Democratic National Convention was awash with anti-Hillary Clinton sentiment as it opened https://t.co/jHNyCktCj4— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 25, 2016
“We can’t be the party of Main Street and Wall Street at the same time,” Alfaqa told Yahoo. “For us, Hillary, she is for Wall Street.”
Even without the leaks that have shaken the leadership of the Democratic Party and forced a prominent Clinton backer to resign from her position as DNC chair, Sanders supporters have expressed dismay at the prospect of choosing between Clinton and Donald Trump.
Many voters, particularly millennials, are leaning toward voting for a third party candidate, according to a report by The Hill.
“Nearly half of millennials supporting Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders are thinking about backing a third-party candidate,” The Hill noted.
The evidence that the DNC was plotting to construct an anti-Sanders narrative and to target his religious views, among other discoveries to be found in the Wikileaks trove, can only serve to further the sense of outrage among Sanders supporters who feel that their candidate was treated unfairly — who feel that their voices were mocked, ridiculed, and downplayed.
“Now that all these emails have come out, confirming that the party was colluding with the Hillary Clinton campaign, it throws another wrench in it, and makes it a little bit more sour,” Sanders backer Amanda McIllmurray told The Atlantic. “There’s been talk about protests both during Tim Kaine’s acceptance speech, and Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech. I adamantly support people speaking out, using their First Amendment right, and expressing their discontent.”
That, it seems, is precisely what Sanders delegates, and his supporters protesting outside the walls of the convention, plan to do.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]