WIUM Tristates Public Radio

What's Next For Delegates For Bernie Sanders?

Jul 25, 2016
Originally published on July 25, 2016 6:51 pm
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Right. As a matter of fact, we talked to delegates in Colorado, from New Hampshire, from Ohio. We had to meet them at their early breakfast to get a word in, and we heard, to start, from Chris Liquori. He's from Portsmouth, N.H. And he was saying that he was just stunned at what the email hack revealed.

CHRIS LIQUORI: I think I posted 42 different Facebook statuses about her resignation.

CORNISH: The tone of those status updates...

LIQUORI: I remember speaking with you about a month ago, saying, you know, it needed to happen yesterday a month ago.

CORNISH: So now that it's finally happened, you're feeling...

LIQUORI: Sweet release.

CORNISH: Liquori was at the New Hampshire delegation breakfast at a local hotel. That's where people pick up convention hall passes and of course gift bags.

That's where you got your tote bag and everything (laughter).

LIQUORI: Yep.

CORNISH: The swag bag...

LIQUORI: Yep, all the gear.

CORNISH: What's in it this year?

LIQUORI: I haven't even looked yet - a thermos, a couple of thermoses, stickers, some food I guess.

CORNISH: But Liquori says it's hard for him to enjoy it given how upset he is about what hackers revealed in the DNC emails. Sweet release isn't the half of what he's feeling. We found a quieter place in the delegate hotel lobby to hear more.

LIQUORI: We need someone that's actually going to be neutral running the DNC. I mean this is just completely crazy what Debbie Wasserman Schultz has gotten away with doing, and I think all of the staffers that were involved in these email leaks need to go, too. I think people need to lose their jobs over this because nobody has any faith in the party anymore.

CORNISH: And similar scenes played out among the Sanders supporters over half-eaten bagels and buffet food warmers of scrambled eggs. We visited three different hotels where delegates were in the halls, shaking their heads. You could hear snatches of, can you believe, as you made your way through the crowds.

But this isn't just about the logistics of what happens next - apologies, recriminations, the next in line to lead the party. Thirty-six-year-old Ohio delegate Gigi Traore says it's about trust, and the DNC broke it.

GIGI TRAORE: We are in this rut of constantly doing wrong. So it's, like, how do you trust a party like that, and how do you go out and be an activist, an organizer and support the party when we're constantly having these issues arise?

CORNISH: And that distrust extends to the Democratic nominee herself. Gigi Traore already sees Clinton as being in a state of perpetual scandal. She refers to Hillary Clinton stiffly as Mrs. Clinton.

What is your reluctance behind putting that energy behind Hillary Clinton? What's holding you back?

TRAORE: It's a trust issue. If the Clinton campaign or Mrs. Clinton herself will come and say, I apologize for X, Y, Z - like, take ownership of what she did do wrong instead of scapegoating around it or nobody asked me - that's not what a leader does. A leader shows up and says, you know what; I messed up; I apologize. That for me would be, like, refreshing.

CORNISH: So what's next? Traore is resolutely against Donald Trump. But when it comes to knocking on doors, putting in the work, voting for Hillary Clinton...

TRAORE: Something miraculous may happen between now and Thursday. They sky may open up, and God may say, Gigi, this is it - but as of right now, no.

CORNISH: Anita Lynch of Denver is also unsure. She says the progressive left is looking for some wins, and the party has made some nods in their direction. The party's reviewing the use of superdelegates, the party officials who get to vote any way they like in the nomination process. And Lynch credits Sanders for influencing the party platform in ways that would have been unimaginable years before, like a call to abolish the death penalty and support for a $15 minimum wage.

Do you think that he has had a profound influence in the direction of the party and voters like yourself have had an influence, and is that enough for you?

ANITA LYNCH: The first part - I agree. Absolutely it's had an influence on our party. It's pushed our party further left. And your second question was...

CORNISH: Is it enough?

LYNCH: Is that enough - not for me, no and not for most of our Colorado delegation.

CORNISH: Seventy-four-year-old Anita Lynch takes the long view. She isn't just thinking about whether or not she will vote for Hillary Clinton this fall. It's too soon, and her feelings are too raw to answer that right now. For her it's about all those enthusiastic kids she's met along the way.

LYNCH: Because I think for a lot of young people, they don't - and this is not a criticism - they don't have life's experiences. You know, when you've lived - Bernie and I've lived 74 years, and you see the waxes and wanes of things. It's not about the immediate gratification. Even if I try to talk to them and say, hey, wait this out; trust that, you know, we can make things better, they don't have that long-term perspective to know that.

CORNISH: And back here in the convention hall, we actually received a text later on today from Anita Lynch - Scott Horsley, she's from your home town of Denver - saying, quote, "it's wild in here; we Bernie people are not happy campers." Talk about the ways the party has tried to mollify Sanders' supporters.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Well, they've done a number of things. We mentioned Wasserman Schultz's resignation and then agreeing to even hand over the gavel for this convention. There's also a primetime speaking role tonight for Elizabeth Warren, darling of the party's progressive wing.

And as you mentioned, the DNC has agreed to a study of the way future primaries are conduction to de-emphasize the roll of those superdelegates who overwhelmingly backed Hillary Clinton this year. We just heard a short time ago a presentation about that recommendation to study superdelegates both from a spokesperson from the Clinton camp and for the Sanders camp. And that certainly got some of the loudest applause that we've heard this evening.

CORNISH: One of the loudest boos of course for the platform, where there's no mention now of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Obviously that is a bone of contention still.

HORSLEY: Bernie Sanders' supporters tried to get a TPP plank installed in the platform. It is notable that both Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, the - her running mate - who were supporters of the TPP initially have both backed away from that support. But there's obviously still a great deal of skepticism in the hall. A short time ago, we heard loud and lengthy chants - no TPP.

CORNISH: So compared to the RNC, what are we seeing here?

HORSLEY: (Laughter) You know, we're seeing some of the same fractures that we saw at the RNC. Neither of these parties is wholly united, but I - if anything, I'd say that the fault lines are louder and deeper on the Democratic side than they were on the Republican side. That's even though organizers here hope to present what they say will be a more positive, optimistic message than the gloom and doom that we heard a lot of last weekend in Cleveland.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Scott Horsley here with me at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. We'll have more throughout the night. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.