Bernie Sanders delegates, furious over Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick and leaked emails showing the Democratic Party was helping Hillary Clinton, said Sunday they’re seeking their own vice presidential candidate and weighing protests on the floor.
They have no alternative to Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., Clinton’s running mate in mind yet. And they’re thinking about walking out during the Clinton or Kaine acceptance speech, or perhaps sitting silently.
“We feel that here at the Democratic National Convention is absolutely the appropriate place to argue out these issues in a democracy,” said Donna Smith, executive director of Progressive Democrats of America, which has an estimated 220 Sanders delegates.
“She’s clearly damaged party unity” with the Kaine choice, added Norman Solomon, coordinator of the national Bernie Delegates Network. They spoke Sunday at a downtown Philadelphia news conference.
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The delegates have not yet heard from Sanders. He plans to meet with his delegates Monday afternoon, just before the convention begins.
But the combination of the Kaine choice and WikiLeaks revelations about how the Democratic Party helped Clinton in her battle against Sanders during the nominating season have Sanders delegates angry. Among the emails are those from Democratic National Committee staffers trying to raise questions about Sanders’ Jewish religion before primaries in Kentucky and West Virginia.
“It’s just shameful,” said Solomon of the news.
Sanders has long wanted Democratic Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz removed, and he reiterated that view Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
It is an outrage and sad that you would have people in important positions in the DNC trying to undermine my campaign
Sen. Bernie Sanders Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I don’t think she is qualified to be the chair of the DNC not only for these awful emails, which revealed the prejudice of the DNC, but also because we need a party that reaches out to working people and young people, and I don’t think her leadership style is doing that,” he said.
Wasserman Schultz no longer has a speaking spot at the convention and will no longer chair the convention. She’s only due to gavel the convention in and out.
Sanders, though, has not gone as far as many of his delegates in calling for convention insurgency.
“The focus, though, that I am going to go forward on right now is to make sure that Donald Trump -- perhaps the worst Republican candidate in the history of this country; somebody that by temperament, somebody that by ideology, must not be president of the United States,” he told CNN.
“I am going to do everything I can to defeat him, to elect Hillary Clinton, and to keep focusing, keep focusing, on the real issues facing the American people.”
Kaine bothers the liberals for several reasons, including his support for bank deregulation. They seem to have no specific alternative candidate in mind, but they’re looking.
Americans for Democratic Action, which promotes liberal views, gave Kaine a 90 percent rating in 2014,.
The liberals plan a straw poll in the next day or so to see if anyone is interested.
“There has been outreach to specific individuals,” said Smith, without offering names. But, she warned, “There is often fear of retribution and that’s very real in our political system.”