Dozens of Bernie Sanders delegates and supporters walked out of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night after the party nominated Hillary Clinton for president by acclimation. The delegates streamed out of the Wells Fargo Arena chanting, "We are the 99 percent!" and some moved their protest to the media center across the street before police officers said the tent had reached its capacity. But the protesting delegates comprised a small fraction of the Sanders supporters in the arena, and they diverged both on the reasons for the walkout and how long it might last.
"I can say that I sincerely disagree with the actions that he took," said California delegate Ryan Lopez. "He told us that this was a political revolution. And we are now carrying forward with the revolution." Lopez, a University of Southern California student, cited "problems" with the state's June 7 primary in arguing that Clinton should not be the nominee, and made his decision to walk out after he and his allies had failed to persuade superdelegates to switch their votes to Sanders.
Trey Villanueva, a delegate from Washington state, was streaming the proceedings on his iPhone as we spoke outside the media tent. His decision to walk out was the culmination of a multitude of mounting frustrations with the "rigged" nominating system. "I'm gonna take it like I see it," he said, when asked if he intended to return to the convention hall on Wednesday. "Hopefully I'm gonna have a beer at some point. Maybe a Scotch—that'd be good."
Still, he didn't hold Sanders' cooperation on the roll-call vote against him, and he left the door open to supporting Clinton. "He's got to do what he's got to do," Villanueva said. "I understand and I respect him. Same with Elizabeth Warren, and I respect her. They've got a job to do in the Senate—we can't stand to lose our advocates."
Standing with his arms outstretched—"Stolen" and "Rigged" written on each arm—Matthew Rock, an Oregon delegate, explained that his walkout was only temporary. "We intend to go back in and support Black Lives Matter," he said, referring to the convention speeches by women whose children had died from gun violence or police custody. While some of his fellow delegates had walked out spontaneously, Rock had been planning a walkout since the early morning, "after yesterday's Hillibuster."
"We were bullied, we were suppressed, we were asked to keep our signs down," Rock said, outlining his list of grievances with the convention process. "This happened again today. Oregon delegates with their homemade Bernie signs were told that we don't allow them to have signs, and yet the volunteers—100 percent Hillary supporters, by the way—are handing out homemade signs that the Hillary Oregon delegation had never seen. So yesterday we had discussions on what to do in the eventuality that this happened."
But after the tense opening day of the convention, where Sanders supporters booed Clinton's name vociferously on the convention floor and in an afternoon meeting with the senator himself, the story on Tuesday was less about the delegates who left than about how many stayed behind. After Sanders moved for the roll-call vote to be done by acclamation, handing the nomination to Clinton without a formal count, the floor erupted in a sustained applause with hardly a dissent to be heard.
One of the most touching moments of the Democratic National Convention came during Tuesday's roll call of the states, when Larry Sanders cast his vote for his brother, Bernie, saying their parents would be proud of their son's campaign. Eli Sanders, a Polish Jewish immigrant, and Dorothy Glassberg Sanders both died when the brothers were young. As Larry spoke, Bernie Sanders could be seen choking back tears in the seats above.
Why the 42nd president is so good at giving speeches.
Tim MurphyJul. 26, 2016 3:37 PM
Former President Bill Clinton will address the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, and if history is any indication, expect him to go off script. Like, a lot. Four years ago, the aspiring first man ad-libbed much of his speech endorsing President Barack Obama, forcing the teleprompter to freeze for minutes at a time as he skillfully walked the audience through Obama's economic agenda. Clinton's real-time edits, viewed alongside the original text, displayed a keen editorial sense of what works and what doesn't.
But Clinton is also a hands-on editor when it comes to drafting his remarks too. Old presidential records at the Clinton Library offer a behind-the-scenes look at how Clinton (and his speechwriters) composed major addresses during his administration, scribbling in the margins in ballpoint pen and often rewriting long passages by hand. Incidentally, one of the best examples in the collection is a convention speech—from the 1996 convention in Chicago. That's the one Clinton delivered the famous line "I still believe in a place called America."
You can read his full markup starting below:
The meat of the speech, full of policy details—including a defense of his welfare reform law—received a lighter editing touch. But Clinton zeroed in on the opening, offering a blizzard of tweaks:
And continued with a series of rewrites on the second page:
His speech to the Democratic National Convention capped a tense and divisive first day.
Tim MurphyJul. 25, 2016 11:28 PM
Bernie Sanders urged delegates on Monday night in Philadelphia to rally behind the party's presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, after a tense opening day at the Democratic National Convention. "Based on her ideas and her leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States—the choice is not even close," Sanders said.
The Vermont senator spoke for nearly 30 minutes and was often interrupted by sustained ovations from his supporters—as well as a handful of boos from hardliners who still oppose Clinton's candidacy.
"It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues—that's what this campaign has been about," Sanders said as he wrapped up his speech. "That's what democracy is about. But I am happy to tell you that at the Democratic Platform Committee, there was a significant coming together between the two campaigns, and we produced by far the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party."
He ended with praise for Clinton's work as first lady and as a senator. "I remember her as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care," Sanders said. "I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children."
He continued, "Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight."
Sanders' speech came at the end of a combative day at the DNC. In the afternoon, the Vermont senator had addressed many of his 1,900 delegates at a ballroom in a downtown convention center, but when he urged them to support Clinton in the fall, he was repeatedly interrupted by boos, a sign that the unrest within his faction of the party had not been quelled by the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
This time, Sanders made a more direct appeal to delegates and voters watching at home who were considering sitting out the election. He didn't just talk up Clinton and the party platform, he attacked Donald Trump repeatedly, outlining the policy areas—reproductive rights, climate change, and minimum wage—in which a victory by the Republican would set back his political revolution.
"If you don't believe this election is important, if you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights, and the future of our country," Sanders said.
Tim Murphy, Pema Levy, and David CornJul. 25, 2016 2:55 PM
On Monday afternoon in a cavernous ballroom at the Philadelphia Convention Center, Bernie Sanders delivered a rousing speech to the nearly 1,900 delegates backing his late presidential bid. He hit all the thematic high points of his campaign: end big-money politics, restore the middle class, stop trade agreements, continue the revolution. And his supporters cheered wildly for their man. But when Sanders told them that they must now band together to defeat the "bigotry" of Donald Trump by electing Hillary Clinton, he was drowned out by a chorus of boos and anti-Clinton chants. Just hours before the official opening of the convention, Bernie Nation was not willing to follow Sanders' lead on this key point.
Sanders spoke after speeches by some of his biggest backers, including rapper Killer Mike, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, and actress Rosario Dawson. When Dawson mentioned Clinton, the room broke into loud boos. Dawson told the crowd that Clinton "is not a leader, she is a follower."
When he spoke, the senator from Vermont made the case that his presidential campaign had been a historic success and that it would continue to be a vehicle for political revolution. Volunteers handed out registration forms for Sanders supporters to hold organizing meetups in late August, to kick off a new step in this progressive crusade. Sanders received big cheers when he praised his supporters' contributions to what he called "by far the most progressive platform ever written" and an ovation when he noted the departure of Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, which he suggested might open up an opportunity for a more Bernie-friendly leadership in the party.
But when he tried to rally the delegates on behalf of Clinton, his audience became restless. "Immediately, right now, we have got to defeat Donald Trump, and we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine," Sanders said. His delegates shouted their protests and booed, forcing Sanders to pause before continuing in his remarks. Sanders called Trump a "bully and a demagogue" who "has made bigotry the core of his campaign." Still, the boos continued. "She does too!" delegates shouted. Others yelled, "Only you! Only you!"
Sanders declared that Trump poses a danger to the country's future, but he could not win over the crowd. "She has ruined communities!" one woman shouted. "She has ruined countries!" Sanders pointed out that Trump "does not respect the Constitution of the United States." Delegates kept on chanting: "Not with her!" and "We want Bernie!"
Sanders did not confront the booing delegates directly. He did not use this opportunity to address their anger and disappointment. He looked a bit surprised by the intensity of the Clinton opposition. He moved ahead with his prepared speech. After he was done—and the crowd had chanted, "Thank you, Bernie!"—Mother Jones asked Sanders three times what he thought about his delegates fiercely booing Clinton. He did not respond and quickly left the ballroom.
Afterward, Sanders delegates and supporters discussed the widespread booing of Clinton and whether they could follow Sanders' guidance. Several said they could not bring themselves to vote for her. "She's no better than Trump," said one delegate, who wouldn't provide her name.
Angela Valdes, a 37-year-old small-business owner from Portland, Oregon, who is a Sanders representative on the convention's credentials committee, said she was nowhere close to supporting Clinton. "It is all about honesty and integrity," Valdes said. "She has to come clean first." Come clean on what issues? "Oh," she remarked, "there are too many to list." But Valdes left open the possibility that Sanders might be able to persuade her to vote for Clinton by November.
Other delegates acknowledged that Sanders was right that Clinton must win at the end of the day but said that protests against her this week in Philadelphia were worthwhile. Such actions, Elizabeth Davis, a North Carolina delegate, said, would "keep it fresh" for Clinton that she needs Sanders' supporters to win.
So how much will Sanders do to persuade his delegates to follow his advice? In this appearance, he didn't go beyond his prepared remarks. And Aisha Dew, a whip for the North Carolina Sanders delegation, said she has not heard anything from the Sanders campaign regarding the actions delegates should take. Earlier in the day, at a Florida delegation breakfast, Sanders offered no instructions on how delegates might conduct themselves on the floor of the convention this week.
After Sanders departed the convention center, his campaign manager Jeff Weaver remained as delegates milled about and wondered what would be next for them at the convention. What about the booing of Clinton? he was asked. "Oh," he said, with a tone of nonchalance, "people will come around."