When Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke to about 1,800 of his pledged delegates in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, he was met at first with enthusiasm and then disappointment.
“We won over 1,800 pledged delegates,” Sanders said to his supporters gathered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. “Welcome to Philadelphia.”
Sanders, who already has tossed his support to presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, realized his chances of winning the Democratic nomination for president in the coming days are next to none. But he emphasized he is proud of his campaign and his supporters, saying he is excited that his supporters contributed to “the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic committee.”
“We won 13 million votes across the country, and more importantly, in every state in which we competed, we won a considerable majority of the young people in this country,” the senator from Vermont said.
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Sanders also congratulated his delegates on the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz – he had called for her resignation earlier – and the altered superdelegate policy for the next presidential election.
Change definitely needs to happen within the party. Sanders gave the country the opportunity to pursue that, and it’s working.
Tatum Kenn, Bellingham delegate for Bernie Sanders
The DNC rules committee downsized the superdelegate count for 2020 and agreed to a 60 percent decrease, from 715 to 250 superdelegates.
“That will open the doors of the (Democratic) Party to those people who want real change,” Sanders said.
But when Sanders encouraged his delegates to vote for Clinton in November, he faced staunch opposition, including “boos” and chants of “we won’t vote for her.”
“Brothers and sisters, this is the real world that we live in,” Sanders told his delegates. “Trump is a bully and a demagogue”
To which some members of the crowd responded, “So is Hillary.”
Richard May, 49, of Bellingham, was disappointed when he first heard Sanders endorse Clinton. Though his reaction wasn’t quite as strong as some of those chanting around him, it still came as an upset.
“Well, that’s just not what we came here for,” said May, the planning commissioner for Blaine.
“I’m OK with where things are at this point,” said Tatum Kenn, 18, of Bellingham. “I can empathize with their sentiment. It’s frustrating, but there is a bigger picture to look at. I understand it.”
“Change definitely needs to happen within the party,” Kenn added. “Sanders gave the country the opportunity to pursue that, and it’s working.”
“Continue the fight,” Sanders told the audience, concluding his speech. “Thank you all very much.”
Michaela Winberg is a journalist and a student at Temple University in Philadelphia. This month, she will be reporting on the Democratic National Convention from Philadelphia as part of a groundbreaking project allowing students to cover the event for local newspapers, TV stations and digital outlets. Follow her on Twitter: @mwinberg_.