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Monday, October 23, 2017

While Democrats were making history Tuesday by becoming the first major party in American history to nominate a woman for the presidency at their convention in Philadelphia, the “Bernie or Bust” movement made sure to make some noise outside.

A few miles away from the convention, a few hundred Bernie Sanders supporters, as well as some unaffiliated anarchists, got together at City Hall to pledge that they would not stand with the Democratic Party in November and vote for Hillary Clinton, regardless of what their movement’s own leader keeps telling them.

The opening act was a rapper telling the crowd that “both parties can suck a dick.” Victor Tiffany, a co-founder of the Bernie or Bust movement, said Clinton was just “John McCain in a pantsuit.”

The main speaker was Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who has seen an opening with Sanders supporters since the senator endorsed Clinton. “This is what democracy looks like,” she told the mostly white, mostly younger crowd desperately looking for another option, before she outlined why Sanders’ revolution still has a chance with her candidacy.

Parts of the crowd looked straight out of a Donald Trump rally – images of Clinton as a prisoner and as the devil were common, as were signs denouncing a “rigged” system and claiming votes were stolen by the DNC.

Amongst these protesters, most seemed to feel that the DNC e-mails published by Wikileaks last week were proof of why they should not support Clinton or her party.

Damien Green, a 29-years-old Sanders supporter, said he was hoping the Vermont senator would choose to run with the Green Party at the last last minute. He came to Philadelphia from Baltimore to show his support for Sanders and his disdain for the two-party system. Like many Sanders supporters who came to Philadelphia for the convention, Zain and his girlfriend have been camping at the FDR Park. “We occupied” it, he joked.

Zain isn’t sure what he’ll do when November comes, but today? “Never Trump, never Hillary.”

“Everyone knows what Clinton has done. We can’t close our eyes and turn around and go back so we have to keep moving forward and make sure the political change happens,” Green said. “Whether that’s voting for Green or holding out and writing in Bernie in November, one or the other. It depends on the next couple of months.”

I asked him the same question he’s heard dozens of times, “What about those who say a vote for a third party candidate is a vote for Trump?”

“They should have picked Sanders to begin with. They shouldn’t have cheated it and corrupted and rigged the system,” he said sort of dismissively. “What we fear from Trump we’ve already seen in Hillary. There’s no greater evil, they’re both on the same level.”

Even though Sanders has endorsed Clinton, and presented his most vocal case for her yet at the convention on Monday, the “Bernie or Busters” seem to think Sanders is sending them subliminal messages.

The idea that Sanders does not really want his supporters to vote for Clinton, even though he keeps encouraging them to do so, was a recurrent theme at this rally.

“His hands are tied,” Green said about Sanders. “He’s endorsed Hillary and he can’t say anything bad about her because he would still like to be part of the political race. He’s leaving up to us. He knows we will not follow Hillary.”

It’s an interesting dynamic: Protestors were furious at their two choices, but not at Bernie for falling in line with the Democratic Party and endorsing Clinton.

Another Sanders supporter at the rally, Joe Zain, also thinks Sanders is just doing “the politically smart thing.” By endorsing Clinton, Zain argues, Sanders is “off the Clinton kill list.”

So Zain has chosen to vote for Trump. His “Berners For Trump” sign caused one supporter to angrily yell that Zain, and people like him, were only “one percent of the people” there. It seemed to me that the passing protest was right – there were more signs advocating pot than Trump.

Another protester just flipped Zain off. He quickly shrugged it off and kept answering reporters’ questions, clearly enjoying his time in the limelight.

“I think in the blue states we need to be behind Jill Stein but in the swing states, like Pennsylvania, where the manufacturing has been destroyed by disastrous trade deals, we need to stand with Americanism and with Donald Trump who’s against these trade deals.”

Many others at the rally didn’t really have a game plan for the November elections, they just know they want “revolution.” A Philadelphia local named Yair, who wore a Che Guevara shirt, said he was “sort of” a Sanders supporter.

I asked him how his shirt related to his support for Sanders. (This wanna-be Communist faction of the Sanders movement has always troubled me: Growing up in Venezuela under Hugo Chavez’ “Socialism,” I chose to believe Sanders when he said his was revolution was aimed at Canada’s model, full of free healthcare and accessible education, than Latin America’s, empty of many basic resources and opportunity.)

Yair told me he was wearing the Guevara shirt because “it represents revolution.”

It seemed to me that that is what much of this protest was about — the idea of “a revolution,” a word that meant radically different things to different people at City Hall.


Photo: Fabian Ortiz

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21 Responses to ‘Bernie Or Bust’ Movement Makes Noise In Philadelphia

  1. I don’t understand the shock about the emails. Why should it be a surprise that the DNC favored the candidate who was a Democrat instead of the one who was never a member of that party? The email that suggested using religion against Bernie was indeed nasty and inflammatory, but that suggestion was never acted upon. Unless there was far more in terms of actually stacking the deck against Bernie, I don’t see why the emails were such a shock and scandal.

    • I think the “shock” was a result of Clinton, having lost the 2008 nomination, was being considered the Presumptive-Nominee for 2016 from the day she took the job of Secretary of State. Everything everybody else in the party had done, including Joe Biden’s waffling about whether he would consider a run or not, led credence to this.

      • Trump owes $280M to Russian entrepreneurs. He acknowledged that he admires Putin…while the latter invaded Crimea and violated Ukraine’s sovereignty.
        Most of Paul Manafort’s clients were Russian entrepreneurs, and some of them plotted the overthrow of Ukraine’s legitimate government.
        Carter Page, Trump’s foreign policy advisor, used to work for Gazprom, a company owned by Putin.
        Russian hacked the DNC database, and withheld the information until the even of the Democratic party convention, ostensibly to influence the outcome of the 2015 election.
        Only the most naive can ignore what is going on, and continue to support a man beholden to a foreign leader, and the interests he represents.
        Trump would not have lasted long in the McCarthy era…

        • Today, Trump stated that he didn’t even know Putin!!! Interesting, isn’t it? He says he’s never met him, doesn’t know him, but he thought it was grand if this Russian leader liked him!!! What a hypocrite!

          • But remember, not too long ago he said he “got to know Putin well” because they were on 60 Minutes together. (Although their segments were separate and they never actually met). Now he is saying the total opposite of that.

    • The whole thing is just another conspiracy theory thrown out there by the GOP in an effort to discredit Hillary and the democratic party! It’s another one of those things where there’s nothing there, but they make it into something much bigger than it actually was. The sad part is that the people favoring Sanders actually are believing the BS and falling right into their trap!

  2. The “Bernie or Bust” movement is showing that a petulant and adolescent mentality drives it onward to further inflame one of many divides that plague America.

    Rather than take their marbles and go home, they would rather mar an historic moment and thereby play right into the hands of the Wingnuts.

    Taking the high road would have allowed them to be seen in stark contrast to the lynch mob at the RNC, but now the line isn’t so distinct.

    • Bernie himself has been very childish throughout the entire process. That’s what I did not like about him. He behaved like someone who has no personal friends!

  3. Speaking of Bernie supporters, Las Vegas has set an over/under line for betting purposes as to how many people walk out when Hillary is introduced Thursday. I suggest you take the “over” number as it looks there will be a lot taking a hike out of the auditorium.

    • That’s right, Dickiebird…. We’re going to get to see democracy in action on Thursday. People who prefer Senator Sanders to Mrs. Clinton will express their opposition to the Democratic Party nominee peacefully – with their feet.

      Members of the Turd Party and Nazi wings of the GOP enjoy the same freedoms to exercise democracy. Of course, their get-togethers tend to be a little more “lively”, and more often involve the use of other body parts than feet (or brains, for that matter).

      • And, at least at the democratic convention, they allowed a roll call vote…..didn’t see that happening at the republican convention at all. In fact, requests for a roll call were totally ignored by the powers that be….guess they were afraid of the outcome!!!

  4. I really feel kind of sorry for these Bernie supporters. For some reason, they have lost all reason! Hillary won the nomination fair and square by winning enough primaries and caucuses to come out ahead of Sanders. Additionally, a vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Trump…..don’t they remember what happened when Perot ran as a third party…..he lost the election for the democrats! As for the individual that stated he wanted to fall behind Stein because of the blue states and manufacturing. It wasn’t a democrat that moved corporations out of the United States; maybe they need to ask Trump where all his clothing line is made… certainly is NOT in the United States. So much for bringing jobs back….maybe he needs to bring HIS back! I just hope these people get their heads on straight before the election in November or we’re going to be in serious trouble. If Trump is actually elected…..there will be major chaos in this country and all the good that has been done the past 7.5 years will go down the drain! We’ll end up being another bankrupt country because that’s what Trump is actually good at doing!!!

  5. “BERNIE OR BUST” folks went BUST last night. Bernie himself pushed a needle into their balloons. That’s all folks!

    • Dig it. And tho I support their right to protest, I wish they’d show some respect to the speakers. It’s bad enough they hooted and hollered like a bunch of rednecks during Elizabeth Warren’s address (which I really wanted to hear), but disrupting the invocation showed a flagrant lack of class. You’d think they were Republicans.

      PS – I’ve been a big fan of Senator Sanders since he’s been in Congress, and would have been pleased to give him my vote if he’d been nominated. But it’s time to move on to the real business at hand, to wit: throwing that dirtbag Trump a beating he’ll never live down.

  6. Don’t these idiots seriously want Donald Trump for president????? Well, that’s exactly what they’ll get if they continue to refuse to back Hilary Clinton. Even not voting increases the chance of a trump win; can’t these people see/understand what’s at stake here, or are they too caught up in their “righteous indignation” to care?

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