Bernie Sanders Started a Political Revolution He Can No Longer Control
PHILADELPHIA — Sen. Bernie Sanders may have shed his image as a fringe candidate during his improbable run for the White House.
But in the process, he brought what was once the far-left fringe into the mix — a group that Sanders proved has grown into a larger faction of the Democratic Party. And that group excelled at making themselves heard Monday here in Philadelphia, raging in protests on the street and booing, jeering and chanting at speakers inside the Democratic National Convention arena to make their discontent with the primary's outcome heard.
As Democrats convene Tuesday afternoon to officially select Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee, it's unclear whether Sanders' pleas for calm and order will be followed by his angry crowd of delegates — who reveled in their display of rage in the Wells Fargo Center, even booing the mention of Clinton's name during a pastor's opening prayer at the convention.
Signs of dis-unity could further hurt Clinton, who is now trailing Republican Donald Trump in some post-Republican National Convention national polls.
Sanders has made clear to his supporters that he does not wan't them booing or demonstrating on the convention floor.
He scolded members of the California delegation — the source of much of the booing on the floor — at a Tuesday morning breakfast.
"It is easy to boo, but it's harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under Donald Trump," he said.
On Monday, when the boos began, he sent out an emailed plea for the delegates not to demonstrate on the floor.
And his campaign has been meeting with delegations to drive home the urgency of maintaining order, delegates told Mic.
But even Sanders delegates who disapproved of their fellow delegates' behavior were unsure whether those directions would be heeded.
"The Sanders campaign has met with the delegates to ask them no to stage any demonstrations, and I think the vast majority of people will honor those wishes," Linda Pinti, a Massachusetts Sanders delegate who said she thought the outbursts on the floor were not productive, said. "But, he always said that revolution was us. So people are independent. I can't promise, because I don't know exactly what will happen."
Other Sanders delegates also expressed dismay about the behavior of the rowdy Sanders crowd — who despite being the minority of Sanders' minority delegation, were audible in the arena.
Those Sanders delegates said they found it disrespectful when some shouted "No TPP," referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, as Rep. Elijah Cummings spoke about his late father.
"I wasn't a fan of the 'No TPP!" chant during Elijah Cummings, even though I am against the TPP," said Erin Biggs, a delegate from Colorado. "I appreciate everyone's right to protest and use their voices — that's what makes this country and our democratic process great. But it was a shame during Elijah Cummings's great speech."
But other Sanders delegates who engaged in the booing saw nothing wrong with their conduct.
They didn't care whether an image of dis-unity in their party could hurt Clinton's chances in November.
"I booed," said Jonathan Little, a Sanders supporter from Indiana who also protested during the Democratic National Committee's rules committee meeting in Philadelphia on Saturday. "What did we accomplish by doing that? We are telling the Democrats as strongly as we can, listen to us."
And some didn't even care whether or not Sanders asked them to remain orderly.
"I feel that I am voicing the opinions of my constituents who wanted me to come here and voice their opinions," Kate Moran, a delegate from Washington State, said. Moran booed into her water bottle to help the sound echo louder in the arena.