Bernie Sanders supporters mobilized for a week’s worth of action Monday, warning of protests against Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech and a challenge to vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.
They feel more shut out of the process than ever, thanks to the WikiLeaks revelation of emails from the Democratic National Committee showing the party was helping Clinton.
“It confirms or reaffirms in the minds of most Bernie delegates we are getting a raw deal,” said Karen Bernal, a California Sanders delegate.
She and others spoke at a morning news conference in downtown Philadelphia hours before Sanders was to meet with the delegates. The Vermont senator was expected to urge them to back Clinton, though he has not said anything about the potential protests.
“He’s not running the movement,” said Norman Solomon, national coordinator of the Bernie Delegate Network, which operates independent of Sanders.
The network has been conducting a straw poll of Sanders delegates.
Since the moment we got here people have looked down on us with our Bernie campaign swag on as if he’s not still a candidate.
Manuel Zapata, Sanders delegate
“A substantial majority of polled delegates support participating in protests on the floor,” Solomon said. “In part in connection with Hillary Clinton’s appearance, even more so than in the scheduled acceptance speech of Tim Kaine.”
And, Solomon said, there was “very, very strong overwhelming support for a challenge to Tim Kaine’s nomination.”
Liberals are wary of Kaine because of his support for bank deregulation, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and other issues.
So far they have no alternative candidate. “We’ve approached a number of people,” Solomon said. “Those who want to eat lunch at the White House next year, they run the other way.”
Sanders delegates insist they’ll do what they can to get their message across.
“Since the moment we got here people have looked down on us with our Bernie campaign swag on as if he’s not still a candidate,” said Manuel Zapata, a California Sanders delegate.
“They throw party unity around like it’s something that will trigger us to jump for joy when we mention her name.”