Bernie-supporting delegates were out in full force during the Democratic National Convention speeches last night. Over the telecast, it was easy to hear boos and chants of “we can’t trust her” during pro-Hillary speeches. I wasn’t on the floor, but I’d heard that a small crowd of California delegates were delivering the loudest jeers. Bernie was even booed by a crowd of his own California supporters when he urged them to back Hillary. This afternoon, a few delegates from the state said they might deliver a similar protest tonight.
Joseph L. Piñon, a pro-Bernie delegate, told me that he was worried that today’s roll call vote—largely a formality at this point after Clinton secured the number of delegates required to clinch the nomination in June—would be suspended, as it was in 2008, before each state officially announced how its delegates voted. “Most of us delegates were elected at a caucus or a poll. I came here to vote. I didn’t come here to party and get drunk,” he said. When I asked if he thought Sanders delegates would be heard again tonight, he said yes—and the delegates from other states would be pitching their voices in too. He was hoarse, he said, from chanting last night. (As of this writing, the roll call vote was going on as planned, with no apparent plans to suspend it.)
“I anticipate that people will express themselves tonight,” said Alan Haffa, a Sanders delegate from Monterey. “I hope that they’ll be expressing themselves on the issues that they care about.”
Haffa listed issues like the medicare and Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that Clinton and Sanders both oppose as issues that Sanders delegates care about. “As far as party unity goes, it’s up to the secretary to build that unity,” he said. “She needs to prove to the millennials that were inspired by Bernie that she will follow through on the progressive aspects of the Democratic Party platform. She could also be clearer on her opposition to the TPP. If she talks about that on Thursday, that could go a long way to building unity.”
However vocal Bernies’ California delegates are, the state went Hillary’s way in the Democratic primary, meaning most DNC attendees from California are here supporting the nominee. When I visited the California delegation this afternoon, most people there were wearing pro-Hillary gear. Uduak-Joe Ntuk, a Hillary delegate from Long Beach, supports his counterparts’ right to protest, comparing them to Hillary supporters who were upset when she lost the nomination to Barack Obama in 2008. “The night Hillary spoke, people were crying. People are getting out the pain and frustration of their candidate not getting the nomination. I took it as venting,” he said.
Some Bernie delegates said they weren’t aware of any vocal dissent at all. “We’re just starting with the roll call vote. There was some discussion of it, but I don’t think we’re going to protest at this point,” said Jim Boydston. The woman beside him, a fellow Bernie delegate, looked on silently. She was dressed as Princess Leia, and the sign she held read “BERNIE, YOU’RE OUR ONLY HOPE.”