PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — Delegates for Bernie Sanders booed the one-time presidential candidate for telling them to support the presumptive Democratic ticket of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
In a speech to supporters Monday ahead of the Democratic National Convention, Sanders thanked them for helping create a “political revolution” and advance progressive causes. And despite the selection of a centrist vice president, and recent leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee showing favoritism toward Clinton during the primary process, Sanders told supporters that electing Clinton and Kaine was the only way to defeat Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“Immediately, right now, we have got to defeat Donald Trump,” he said. “And we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. Brothers and sisters, brothers and sisters, this is the real world that we live in. Trump is a bully and a demagogue. Trump has made bigotry and hatred the cornerstone of his campaign.”
Delegates in response booed and shouted “no.” Norman Solomon, coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network, an unofficial group, said that delegates may protest the convention speeches by Kaine and Clinton this week regardless of what Sanders asks.
“Change that’s worth a damn always comes from the bottom up, not from the top,” Solomon said at a news conference Monday morning. “He’s not running the show. He’s not running the social movement.”
Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, did not explicitly refer in his speech to email leaks revealed over the weekend that showed DNC staffers discussing possible ways to undermine his campaign, though he did praise the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. He spent the bulk of the speech restating the main points of his campaign and lauding his supporters.
“As I think all of you know, Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned yesterday as chair of the DNC,” he said to cheers. “Her resignation opens up the possibility of new leadership at the top of the Democratic Party that will stand with working people and that will open the doors of the party to those people who want real change.”