Are Bernie Or Bust-ers Finally With Hillary Clinton? 10 Sanders Supporters Explain Where They Stand
The Democratic National Convention is in full swing in Philadelphia this week, as the party officially nominated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president. It's not being well-received by everyone, however — to the contrary, it's generated both heat and passion, thanks to the divisive primary race between Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that ended last month. And as such, there's a lot of focus on how Sanders supporters at the convention are feeling, both about the end of Sanders' time as a Democratic candidate, and the nominee they're now being asked to support.
If you watched the convention on Monday night, odds are you sensed some of this tension — the simmering resentment that was occasionally audible in the crowd (reportedly coming from the California delegation especially), the occasional chants and boos, the incredible outpouring of sadness when Sanders finally took the stage at the end of the night.
Simply put, there's a very real emotional charge in these proceedings for countless Sanders supporters, so it's a good time to hear from some of them directly. Here's what 10 Bernie Sanders supporters tell Bustle about where they're at, and what's next.
1. Suzanne Distaso, 68
Distaso, an Arizona delegate pledged to Sanders, says that she thought Sanders' speech to close out the first night of the DNC was "great," but she maintains she's not going to support Clinton in the general election.
As of now, Distaso says she's probably going to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein in the general election, and while she didn't expect a "fight" during the nomination roll call vote on Tuesday, she did believe Sanders supporters would "make some noise." She also doesn't believe the Clinton/Kaine ticket will do anything to save the planet from climate change and environmental degradation.
2. Josh Ruiz, 29
Ruiz traveled to the convention from New York City to protest Clinton's nomination. He believes only Sanders can actually beat Trump, and that a Trump victory would be the fault of Democrats who voted for her, not Sanders supporters unwilling to get on board.
3. Hsingi Bird, 35
Bird, a volunteer for the Sanders campaign from Los Angeles, says she's unmoved by her candidate's endorsements of Clinton, both at the DNC breakfast on Monday (where he was met with thunderous boos) and during his headliner speech later that night. Bird tells Bustle she's not planning to vote for Clinton in the fall, and she's not sure there's anything Sanders could've said to convince her.
Bird's says her biggest concerns are confronting climate change, opposing fracking and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, and advocating for peace to avoid "unnecessary war."
4. Dezzi Durazo, 23
Durazo, also from Los Angeles, is at the convention to protest in favor of Sanders, and support his delegates. She says she's not convinced by Sanders' emphatic requests for his supporters to line up behind Clinton and Kaine — she's not planning to support Clinton in the general election.
5. Rob Deppert, 49
An alternate delegate from Bloomington, Indiana, Deppert was in attendance for Sanders' DNC speech. And although he thinks it was good and it's pushing him toward supporting Clinton, he's concerned about her relative weakness as a general election candidate.
Deppert tells Bustle that Sanders' speech "probably" pushed him toward supporting Clinton in the fall, though he's not 100 percent sure about that yet — he says he might vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, "based on the state of Indiana and where the polls are at." He does believe that it's important to prevent a Trump victory, however, saying "we're better off with somebody that will listen to Bernie on some level than Donald Trump, who I don't think listens to anybody at this point."
6. Lisa Scerbo, 59
Scerbo isn't a delegate herself, but came to the convention with the New York delegation, and she wasn't inside the hall for Sanders' speech on Monday night. However, she says she liked it, and it's convinced to her to "think about" supporting Clinton, whereas before the speech she hadn't even considered it.
Scerbo says she gives Clinton "a lot of credit" for some of the concessions that have been made. But she's very upset by Clinton's decision to offer an honorary position in her campaign to outgoing Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, however — she tells Bustle that she thinks Clinton is "sabotaging" herself with that decision, and characterized Wasserman Schultz's actions as a "knife in my back."
Scerbo also criticizes the Clinton campaign and the media for allegedly spreading misinformation about Sanders, including claims he'd take away people's health care, debunked allegations of chair-throwing at a Nevada Democratic convention, and the existence of "Bernie Bros," which she calls "all lies."
7. Sylvia Campos, 59
Campos, a resident of Texas, is a devoted Sanders supporter who traveled to Philadelphia for the convention. She says she held onto the hope that somehow, something would change to hand Sanders the nomination, but now she's confronting the reality of the situation.
Campos says there need to be more sympathetic Clinton supporters, rather than ones who (as she says she's seen on trains and subways) insist Sanders supporters have to vote for Clinton.
Although she's not a delegate, Campos watched Sanders' speech on TV on Monday night, and she says she was moved to tears. It didn't convince her to support Clinton, however — she says "it's still too raw,"and while she does believe time could heal the wounds, she thinks she'll most likely vote for Jill Stein, since her home state of Texas is all but assured to go for Trump.
8. Natasha Erskine, 38
A Sanders volunteer from Chicago who canvassed for his campaign in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, Erskine says she understood in late June that Sanders wasn't going to win the nomination, but came to the convention anyways to promote and further the "political revolution" he started. She tells Bustle she found his speech "a little bit disappointing," however.
Erskine, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, says emphatically that she will not vote for Hillary Clinton.
9. Dale Cobb, 49
Cobb, a resident of Sanders' home state of Vermont, drove down to the convention to act as a "Bernie peacekeeper," to help keep things peaceful between protesters and anti-protesters. He tells Bustle he heard about Sanders' DNC speech, but he will not support Clinton in the general election, and there's nothing the Vermont senator could've said to change his mind.
Cobb also plans to vote against Vermont's senior Democratic senator Patrick Leahy in November, despite having been "a lifelong Democrat," because of Leahy's decision to back Clinton in the primaries.
10. Jennifer Smith, 50
Smith, a volunteer for the Sanders campaign, hails from New Bedford, Massachusetts, and traveled with her husband and a couple friends to the convention to "work the outside." She says she watched a live stream of Sanders' DNC speech, and it had a strong emotional impact on her.
She says Sanders' DNC speech didn't convince her to throw her support behind Clinton, however, even though she's none too pleased with the idea of a President Donald Trump — if Clinton loses, she says she'll blame the Democratic Party.
Additional reporting and images by Emily Shire (10)