The unity Democrats had hoped to display at the Democratic National Convention today was sundered just before it started when the chair of the Democratic party, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, announced that she will be stepping down from that position at the conclusion of the convention this week. Comity at the convention will also be challenged by supporters of the failed candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) even though he has already endorsed presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. In a news conference on July 24, two Sanders delegates slammed both Clinton and the Democratic National Committee while claiming that they may join other Sanders delegates in staging a walkout, turning their backs in protest, or remain seated during acceptance speeches expected to come from the former Secretary of State and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).
Sanders delegate Norman Solomon told the media, “There’s talk about walking out of the Vice Presidential, Presidential acceptance speech. There’s talk about total silence, remaining seated, turning backs.” Another Sanders supporter, Donna Martin, said, “The Progressive Democrats of America have no intention of standing down at this point. We brought Bernie Sanders to this to this party, so to speak and we intend to be there. ” said Sanders delegate Donna Martin.
Sanders’ progressive and leftist supporters are incensed over the choice of Kaine. Sanders himself had expressed a preference for his colleague Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Other issues that have stirred progressives’ ire include the revelations in emails leaked from the DNC by WikiLeaks that showed how party leaders sought to de-legitimize Sanders’ candidacy. Also, Sanders’ supporters are disappointed over the July 23 meeting of the party’s Rules Committee: they had wanted to see the party abolish the superdelegates who are locked in for Clinton during this election.
Delegate Martin said, “And you know… that… and that was not a good showing, not a good start yesterday in terms of how they handled the rules committee. So will we have actions on the floor? I think there probably will be some.” Also, as for the raucous protests progressives launched in Philadelphia on July 24, Martin said that progressives have "no intention of standing down."
Delegate Solomon said, “One of the many, many reasons but I think it’s among the profoundly largest and most widespread reasons that Bernie delegates here and reflecting supporters around the country are so upset about the Kaine pick is not only that it’s the one thing that Hillary Clinton cannot go back on later on, she’s locked into her pick.” He added, “But also that we believe, from what we understand on the ground, coming from all over this country is that the selection of Kaine will make defeating Donald Trump that much more difficult.”
Solomon also claimed that the party was not welcoming to Sanders supporters, and also questioned why the party sought to expel some of its most active voters.
Solomon said, “Um, what kind of message is that, after all well above 45 percent of democratic primary voters went for Bernie. What’s the message here, uh we want you in the party, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, is that the message? We want you in the party, we want you in the room but here’s your hat what’s your hurry, what’s is this message coming from the party, the top of the party?”