PHILADELPHIA — The Democratic National Convention opened Monday under the shadow of leaked emails revealing personal bias against Bernie Sanders from staff at the DNC who favored nominee Hillary Clinton. By Wednesday night, some of those wounds had started to heal as protests from Sanders supporters at the Wells Fargo Center shrank from a full-scale invasion of the press tent to an orderly line of demonstrators lining up behind Susan Sarandon on the same spot.
For all the controversy, people in the convention hall were uniformly supportive of the party’s tilt to the left with its policy agenda for the next four years. Convention-goers may be divided by their primary votes, but the fingerprints Sanders left on the party platform could help to unite the Democrats in November.
DeRay McKesson, noted Black Lives Matter activist
“Sanders, importantly, covered a range of these issues immediately following the protests in Seattle and on the heels of the protests across the country,”McKesson said. “Clinton’s platform is now more progressive than it was, and I think that the party’s platform is actually more progressive than any of us thought it would be. So I think that we continue pressing as we get down to election day, and I am hopeful about where we’ll end up.”
Rick M. Neuhoff and Diana Hatsis-Neuhoff, Sanders delegates from South Florida
“I think that there are other people from the DNC hierarchy whose names are on those emails that also need to step down,” Neuhoff said. “We we would probably be having a better time if Bernie was the candidate, but if we have to hold our nose to vote for Hillary we will, and then we’ll be watching. I mean, she’s been campaigning to the left of the platform. So we’ll be watching what she actually does and holding her feet to the fire.”
“As long as we have the accountability and she’s gone by the end of the convention, we’ll be happy with that,” Hatsis-Neuhoff said.
Bobbie Richardson Representative from the North Carolina House
“It will have a narrow impact. You know, when people lose there’s frustration, there’s anger,” she said. “I think as the message moves forward and the comparison is made, that some of them are going to come back. We probably won’t get 100 percent, but I do believe that our common goal is to have a Democrat in the White House.”
Caroline, a Clinton delegate from American Samoa (right) and Cathy from Oregon, her guest
“He’s not a person to put into power to represent anyone besides himself,” Cathy said of Trump.
“They’ll do whatever they can,” she said of the possibility of more bombshells from the hacked DNC emails. “An October surprise, as they’ve said before.”
“I hope so, but there still are some really diehard Bernie supporters,” she said when asked if Sanders and Clinton voters can come together. “They’re just not letting it go and I really wish that they would. I’m surprised even after that how just much anger there is with some of these folks.”
Anne, a Clinton delegate from Saint Louis (left) and Natasha Christopher, a Clinton delegate from Brooklyn
“It may take a while,” Anne said of a untied Democratic front. “I was a very strong Hillary supporter in ’08, and it took me a little while to get over making the transition, though I think making the transition at that time was a little more graceful than this one is. But I think with Bernie’s support and encouragement, that they will eventually make the transition. But when you’re speaking so strongly about political revolution it might take them a little bit longer. There is no alternative for them though, if they want the policies that they’re looking for.”
“It’s time to unite, and everybody come together and stand together because if Donald Trump becomes president the whole country, the whole world is going to fall apart,” Christopher said.
She said the death of her son Akeal Christopher and Trump’s disinterest in gun control reforms have made up her mind.
“My son, fourteen years old, was walking home from a high school graduation party. He should have been able to make it home that night, and four shots were fired into the crowd. And my son went down. So someone with an illegal gun shot at some kids and my son died.”
“I haven’t heard Donald Trump really discuss any policies or any issues that is going to protect my other two children. So he will never get my vote.”
Unnamed Sanders delegate
A lot of the Sanders supporters are still very bitter about this entire campaign season. I think it’s going to take a lot on Hillary’s part to make the Sanders camp become pro-Hillary and not just anti-Trump.” “Even this year, there are a lot of state and local officials that have kind ridden on the coattails of this movement, and there are a lot of progressive candidates that are trying to get elected in November at the state and local level.
Bill (center), from the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association of Letter Carriers
“We’re all in this together. We know we don’t want Trump, so they better work together,” he said. “We waited until after the primary because they’re both friends of ours. They both support all our issues with the postal service and with labor unions. So we didn’t see a difference with either of them.”
Matthew, a Sanders supporter from Wyoming
“I think there’s still a long way to go to mend bridges,” he said. “After the Wikileaks, that proved they weren’t just wearing tin foil hats. They were correct.
“I’m not going to lean third-party yet, but I’m definitely keeping my eye out on Hillary. I’m going to watch what she does and see if she stays committed to the platform. Because they have adopted a lot of Bernie’s platform. I want to make sure that he’s going to stick with that, essentially seeing if she’s doing to keep her word on it before jumping on the Hillary bandwagon.”