Trip Reports from Sanders Delegates at the Democrat National Convention

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

I haven’t seen trip reports from Sanders delegates who went to Phildelphia aggregated anywhere, so I thought I would do that for NC readers. (And, readers, if you know of more trip reports — there must be some! — please leave them in comments.) I’m not going to try to create a master narrative, and you’ll find most of the commentary in the headings under which quotes from the delegates are placed (like “Fake Process” under “The Party Decides”). Here are the sources I’ve aggregated. The first two are mainstream, and the rest are leftie sites (Truthout) or blogs (our own #SlayTheSmaugs).

  1. WaPo (Nomiki Konst, NY)
  2. Chicago Tribune (Hillary Colby, IL)
  3. Naked Capitalism (#SlayTheSmaugs, NY)
  4. Truthout (Lauren Steiner, CA)
  5. News Review (Carol Cizauskas, NV)
  6. Orange Juice Blog (Carole Levers, CA)
  7. Life and News (Mark Lasser, CO)

The common factors I’ve focused on are all institutional. As readers know, I have priors (and, I suppose, what might be called futures): I’m looking for (and, I think, finding) evidence of independent left entities, neither liberal (neoliberal) or conservative (neoliberal). Therefore, intitututional factors (tactics, structures, even culture) for both Democrat party loyalists and Sanders supporters and insurgents are of interest to me.

“The Party Decides”

Fake Process

Strong consensus on “stage management” by Sanders supporters here.

Mark Lasser (CO): “This show takes place in four acts and regardless of how distending actors may want to alter the narrative, the show will likely prevail in the producer’s intended course through all four and until the curtains close. The order of the show is: Act I, Messy display. Act II, An even messier display and a “roll call.” Act III, Reconciliation. Act IV, Unity.”

WaPo’s Dave Weigel, in story on Nomiki Konst (NY): “Over the next two days, the conversations between the two factions stepped up. Clinton’s campaign let it be known that this was always going to be negotiated, that the week was plotted out for there to be greater unity with every day after the nomination fight.”

Lauren Steiner (CA): “It didn’t help that the WikiLeaks emails were released that weekend, confirming what we all knew about the DNC sabotaging Sanders. The pent-up anger about that and the vacuum that was created by the fact that we were given absolutely no role except to sit and endure a staged coronation left us nothing else to do but boo and protest.”

Carol Cizauskas (NV): “It was definitely a very intense experience,’ 46-year-old Erin Bilbray, a Bernie delegate and DNC official from Las Vegas, said. “This was my eighth convention. I described previous conventions as Spring Break for Democrats, but this was definitely not that case at all. … It was hard watching so many Sanders delegates who thought the convention was going to be more than an infomercial and watching their realization that’s what it was. I was more disappointed in that I’ve never seen the [Nevada] delegation so separated. I also never saw the state party doing anything to heal the wounds after the bitter state convention. State party chair Roberta Lange certainly was not reaching her hand out to the Sanders delegates.'”

#SlayTheSmaugs (NY): “How dare delegates want to be anything on the floor beyond human props? Of course, they couldn’t enforce prop-dom; enough Bernie delegates avoided the ‘card trick’ at the end that the cameras didn’t show it, and they couldn’t make us hold up the forest of signs they kept giving us. Still, we were constantly disabused of any notion that we were present for a meeting of a political party having a substantive conversation, and the only way to opt out completely of being extras in the commercials was to simply leave, which many did.”

Hillary Colby (IL): “;I had no idea how ugly, how corrupt, how the convention was designed to keep out the grassroots people from having a voice,’ said Colby when she met with me on Monday, along with a few other Sanders delegates who wanted to share their experiences.”

The Opening Prayer

This must have been clarifying.

Carol Cizauskas (NV): “I believed the convention would proceed fairly as a platform for both candidates until the nomination Tuesday night would promote only one winner. Those hopes were drowned by the tone set in, of all things, the opening prayer. ‘We have an opportunity, oh God,’ Rev. Cynthia Hale said, ‘to give undeniable evidence of our commitment to justice and equality by nominating Hillary Rodham Clinton as our candidate.’ As the Hillary delegates began cheering, we Bernie delegates began booing.”

Double Standards

This too must have been clarifying. “They have no place to go” both at the micro-level (the terrain of the convention hall) and the macro level (party structure).

Carole Levers (CA): “When we arrived each day at the convention, we were not allowed to enter the convention floor until “X o’clock.” (Generally 30 minutes before gavel time, which could change daily.) The volunteer “guards” told us that no one was on the convention floor. We, in fact, could clearly hear that there were people inside — a whole lot of people inside. All four days we literally had to bull our way in, barging past the “guards” who chased after us. What we saw when we passed the curtains, of course, was that indeed there were a lot of people already in the hall — most all of whom we observed to be Hillary delegates.”

Mark Lasser (CO): “Hundreds of Sanders volunteers who traveled on their own dime to be at the convention are denied credentials. And those lucky enough to penetrate past the Clinton security goons and get a credential are not awarded the floor passes that they were promised, but instead get guest credentials allowing them access only to the rafters where they are of little use as volunteers to the Sanders delegates”

Seat Fillers

I’ve never heard of the “seat filler” tactic used in past conventions; clearly somebody in the Clinton apparatus was on top of their game, if this is the sort of game one wishes to be played. Can readers comment?

Carole Levers (CA): “From Wednesday onward, huge numbers of Hillary ‘fillers’ were being bused in to fill the upper levels of the hall and to also assist in isolating Bernie Delegates to prevent them from being able to sit together in sizable groups. This was an attempt to greatly inhibit our ability to communicate and work together, as well as to be able cover for one another for restroom and dinner breaks. (Evidence of this was the huge number of buses that now filled the parking lot outside!) Since we were not allowed to bring in food to the convention floor, we either were forced to gobble down food while standing and hope that our seats would be saved or … just not eat. Many delegates were denied entry back into the convention floor after having left for a break. Some delegates were denied egress for restroom breaks, necessitating that they find another ‘door’ that would permit them to leave to attend to urgent physiological needs. … We had observed advertisements in downtown Philly from the DNC asking for people to serve as seat fillers — for pay. They were expected to hold and wave signs, chant for Hillary, and follow the lead of the Hillary delegates.”

Mark Lasser (CO): “The yellow vests are now congregating around the aisles. Anytime a Sanders delegate goes up to wait in the 90-minute-long long for what is truly the worst arena food in America or to go pee, the Clinton organizers try to place a hired seat occupier in the seat. These are not temporary seat fillers like you hear about at the Oscars, these are people being told to not get up once they take over the seat, even for a credentialed delegate. So when you were watching at home and it seemed like slowly but surely the crowd was becoming more supportive of the established Clinton storyline, this is due to a forced manipulation. It is visually true but not because people are reconciling, but because the crowd is being forcibly transformed.”

Lauren Steiner (CA): “In fact, throughout the convention, Clinton delegates, seat-fillers and other DNC volunteers intimidated us, took our seats and covered our signs with theirs. While I was able to have some pleasant conversations with a few Clinton delegates on the issues, about which they were woefully uninformed, many of my fellow delegates had negative experiences. They were pushed, shoved, mocked, insulted and generally disdained.

Sanders Delegates as Organizing and Self-Organizing

Organizing on Policy

Both the TPP signs and chanting and the anti-war chants made it onto tube; I saw them, especially the red “No TPP” signs.


Carole Levers (CA): “But the biggest highlight of the day for me and for Marleen occurred when we held our “No TPP” signs, turned toward our right and held the signs higher so that Bernie could see them from his seat in the upper area of the section adjacent to ours. He saw us, stood, gave a big smile and mouthed “Thank you!” Jane who was sitting next to him clapped, smiled and gave us the thumbs up!”

Lauren Steiner (CA): “It went off like clockwork. After the rules were adopted, Elijah Cummings, chair of the Platform Committee, started to speak. When he said ‘platform,’ the mic check began, and the vast majority of Sanders delegates in that hall held up our signs and chanted “No TPP” for several minutes. We got coverage in many media outlets.”


Mark Lasser (CO): “Perhaps the most surreal point of the night is when a military leader speaks to how much butt we’re going to kick once Hillary is elected, the Sanders delegates start the chant, “Peace, Not War”, and the rest of the arena drowns this out with chants of ‘U.S.A.'”

Carole Levers (CA): ” I was harassed by five Hillary delegates who got in my face while I was sitting in my seat. They told me that we needed to quit chanting, go home, and that we did not belong there. They added that by chanting “No More Wars” we were disrespecting the veterans. I replied that none of us were disrespecting the veterans. We were honoring them by NOT WANTING ANY MORE DEAD VETERANS, killed in illegal wars for the profits of the wealthy. I reiterated that we were exercising our first amendment rights to which one replied that WE (Bernie delegates) had no rights. I was later shoved by a Hillary delegate into the metal frame of the seats.”

Carol Cizauskas (NV): “We heard other Bernie delegates chanting “No more war” and then the “opposing team” of Hillary delegates thundering over those chants with “USA.” It was darkly eerie. We discussed how it felt Orwellian, like the two minutes of hate in 1984. “Having chants of ‘No More War’ attempted to be drowned out by chants of ‘USA’ was baffling,” Alan Doucette, Bernie delegate from Las Vegas, said. “To me, USA is a symbol of justice and equality and not warmongering and looking for excuses to go to war. That’s what I want it to be and what it should be.”

#SlayTheSmaugs (NY): “The most dislocating experience was General Allen’s speech, with so many military brass on display, and the ‘fight’ between No More War and USA. That was chilling. Note, No More War is not: War Criminal! Or similarly ‘disrespectful’ stuff; it’s simply a demand not to make our present worse with more ‘hawkish’ ‘interventionist’ ‘regime change’ wars and war-actions.”

Lauren Steiner (CA): “[Clinton supporters] decided to chant with us when we chanted ‘Black Lives Matter.’ But for some reason, they found ‘No More War’ to be offensive and shouted “USA” right after. At first, I was puzzled by the fact that they were shouting exactly what Trump supporters shout at his rallies. Then, after all the bellicose speeches and the fact that they had so many Republicans endorsing Clinton, it hit me that perhaps it was because they were courting Republicans now. They didn’t care about our support anymore.”

Organizing Resistance

To me watching on the livestream, all of this material did some real damage to the “unity” message, especially the Sanders delegates sabotaging the “card trick” (great metaphor).

The Walkout

Walk out, but to where? Here again we see “They have no place to go” at the micro-level (the terrain of the convention hall) and the macro level (party structure). The walkout gets as far as the press tent…. And? Now, to be fair, to walk anywhere else, you have to get out of the hall, through the exits, through a massive parking lot, and then march… Where?

Mark Lasser (CO): “Towards the end of the day, Sanders delegates, led by those from Washington state and California, walk out in protest and occupy the media tent just outside the arena. … So did the walkout get covered on TV? Unless you were getting your coverage from “The Young Turks” on YouTube, you probably had no idea it occurred.”

Carole Levers (CA): “On Tuesday evening, after the roll call vote, the Oregon and Washington delegates became disgusted with all the corruption and obstructionism that had occurred and walked out of the Convention, leaving a multitude of empty seats. Does anyone recall seeing this many empty seats on TV broadcasts?”

Carol Cizauskas (NV): “Outside in the convention hallway, I found other Nevada Bernie supporters. We saw a large crowd holding Bernie signs and yelling ‘Walk out.’ As they marched past us, we decided to join them. It was the right thing to do after the corruption, deceitfulness and rigging of this election—after the WikiLeaks documents confirmed our suspicions that this nomination was stolen, not earned. We protested with others outside the media tent not 200 feet from the convention center. We chanted ‘The whole world is watching’ and ‘This is what democracy looks like.’ We sang ‘This Land Is Our Land’ and gave interviews to reporters from multiple press outlets.”


Again, we see confusion on the walkout count.

#SlayTheSmaugs (NY): “In the days before the convention I opted into helping organize an action I found on a Facebook post—the neon Bernie shirts for the night of Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech. The point of the shirts was to be visible—boy, were they visible in the end—and to be pro-Bernie without being overtly anti-Clinton. On front and back the shirts said: “Enough is Enough” –Bernie Sanders and had a Bernie birdie. The original concept had been rather confrontational; to put them on suddenly when Clinton began speaking Thursday night. Instead many arrived for the seven-hour stretch in the convention center already wearing them. To me they were a marker of the strength of the Bernie wing of the party, a sort of visual reflection of the ‘coalition’ he was pitching instead of our being subsumed into the mainline party. We successfully distributed some 800 shirts, probably 750 of which went to delegates”

Mark Lasser (CO): “The only sign of remaining disunity is the more than 100 people wearing fluorescent green T-shirts that say, “Enough is enough,” a favored Sanders quote. (In actuality, nearly 800 people ordered the shirts, and while I can’t be certain exactly how many were part of the fluoro protest on the day, it was at least 100.) The shirts literally glow whenever the lights are darkened in the arena and the black lights become the sole source of illumination. As far as was apparent, only ABC News even noticed this passive protest.”

The Role of the Sanders Campaign

All of this is very saddening. The Sanders campaign seems to have foundered here on the contradiction between starting a political movement (“our revolution”) and running a political campaign (“our revolution”), where the needs of the campaign were paramount, and not the long-term health of the movement. For example, on the ground level, a campaign is like a travelling circus: It comes to town, puts up the tent, puts on the show, and leaves. But that doesn’t in any way create what I suppose one must call social capital in movement terms; that requires much more personal interaction and trust-building. And a campaign optimized for the “ground war” and the “air war” is not, itself, going to do any organizing at all (though to be fair, the Sanders post-election organizations may do that; we’ll have to see.) This comes out very clearly in how the Sanders campaign organized for the convention; they optimized for campaign professionals. I am shocked and disgusted that there seems to have been no material support for working class Sanders delegates to attend. I’m unsurprised that there was no formal attempt by the Sanders campaign to bust the unity narrative; that was the deal. I could wish that Sanders delegates had self-organized themselves into a visible faction, but given that the war-like tactics of the Clinton campaign, and the unfavorable terrain of the convention floor itself, it’s hard to see what they could have done more than they did. No doubt there’s discussion on this among Sanders supporters. Readers?

Failure to Support Sanders Delegates

Failure to Support with Costs

Mark Lasser (CO): “Here in Colorado — and to my knowledge this was similar in most states — the Sanders delegates are mostly working and middle class regular people who had to take a week off work, hit up friends and family for funds, and frequently launch GoFundMe pages to come up with the cash to ‘participate’ in the democratic process.”

Carole Levers (NY): “My personal thank you (and Marleen Gillespie’s also!) to Bernie Sanders for helping with the cost of our hotel room. ”

Carol Cizauskas (NV): “I had worked so hard to get to this convention in volunteering and staff work for Bernie, in campaigning to be elected to attend, in raising money for and paying the balance of nearly four thousand dollars in airfare and hotel charges”

Failure to Support with Organizing

#SlayTheSmaugs (NY): “[T]he fact that I had no expectations is actually important, because it reflected to me the failure of Bernie’s campaign to organize, train and/or instruct us much as we headed into the convention. In the vacuum, we self-organized. We created a Facebook page closed to all but delegates. We created Google groups; we created Slacks; we created grassroots whip.”

Nomiki Konst (NY): “I want more people with voices like mine in the media; I want more of the amazing people in this movement to run for office,” she said. “And they’re marginalizing them. It’s so frustrating.”

Damping Down Sanders Delegates

Mark Lasser (CO): “A suited guy comes over to us, explains that he is a Sanders supporter and a Congressman from Wisconsin and that the Sanders campaign wants us to stop waving these signs. The one he says is really a step too far is the “No Oligarchy” sign.”

Lauren Steiner (CA): “Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver presented the Unity Reform Commission that the campaign had already agreed to. He framed it like it was a big win for Sanders, because the committee was required to make recommendations for reforms. However, the commission did not have to report until 2018. The Clinton and DNC appointees again outnumbered Sanders members and they could vote the recommendations down.”

Lauren Steiner (CA): “So here we were going into the convention with nothing to fight for. In fact, the campaign had done nothing to prepare us for any role at the convention at all. There was one staffer assigned to our delegation, and all he did was pester us to stay at the $700-a-night hotel, a severe hardship for Sanders delegates. We were told we had to stay there, so Sanders could confer with us each morning and each night. None of that happened. There was one conference call before the convention. However, it was more to explain Sanders’ endorsement and the future of the political revolution. And no one from the campaign met with us the first morning, either.”

WaPo’s Dave Weigel, in story on Nomiki Konst (NY): “Since last Monday, a small group of Sanders delegates had been asking for, and getting, meetings with a Clinton brain trust. They bottled up the anger of more than a thousand Sanders delegates, and thousands more protesters in the streets, and carefully explained what needed to happen to prevent a blowup.”

Delegate Collegiality

Carol Cizauskas (NV): “There is one place I did discover unity at the convention—among the Nevada delegates for Bernie from southern Nevada. I met them all in person for the first time at the national convention, and I couldn’t have felt more welcomed. The collegiality among them and toward me stands in contrast to the divisiveness created by the party. Others among us felt the same.”

Hillary Colby (IL): “This is just tipping our toe in the water,” said [Luis Aguilar, a 23-year-old delegate from McHenry], who promises to use most of his energy in the near future to fight the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership. “There are so many groups that have formed out of this campaign that will continue to grow stronger and affect the next election.”


I don’t see how anybody could come out of this convention regarding Clinton as the candidate of the Democrat party, as opposed to the candidate of the party faction that rigged the process from jump and forced her nomination through. That means legitimacy trouble for Clinton down the road, particularly on (what I imagine she hopes will be) her most cherished achievement: Executive war powers. I’m also sure there’s a good deal of discussion among Sanders supporters about what to do next. It will be interesting to see if the Green Party is able to recruit from among disaffected Democrats and Independents; notably, if Stein tried to supply leadership at the convention — she was, after all, physically present — she was unable to take advantage of the opportunity. None of the sources I read mentioned her at all. Readers?

The future lies ahead!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Ike

    I am reading Primary Colors by Anonymous. It is entertaining as well as reaffirming a suspected baseline of conduct.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Primary Colors (by Joke Line (Joe Klein)) is terrific. The movie is good too. I am so happy and amazed that I live in a world where John Travolta plays Bill Clinton in a movie.

  2. Jeremy Grimm

    The harassment and dirty tricks pulled against the Sanders people — as described in these collected reports — leaves me wondering whether Sanders actually won the nomination. It would have been much more politic for the Hillary people to let the Sanders delegates blow off steam and wait until the nomination and end of the convention to circle the wagons in “unity”. If Hillary clearly won the nomination then the stupidity and arrogance in team Hillary’s treatment of the Sanders people speaks to a new level of disdain for the 99%. The business about the $700 hotels and the misinformation and lack of information provided from team Sanders raises other questions.

    1. Holy Cannoli

      Sanders did win the nomination. Election Justice USA, and two Stanford studies found election fraud of numerous types in numerous states.

      1. Yves Smith

        The “Stanford study” was by grad students and is not authoritative and has not been peer reviewed. The fraud was wide ranging but there is no proof that Sanders would have won.

        1. Lord Koos

          There is no proof, of course, however Hillary’s campaign (and presidency) will be permanently tainted by the massive amount of voting irregularities.

  3. Arizona Slim

    Lack of information provided from Team Sanders? Oh, brother. Where to begin. That was a recurring theme throughout the campaign.

    Here in AZ, we, the grassroots volunteers, experienced plenty of it.

      1. Arizona Slim

        When I came to the realization that a campaign is not a movement, let’s just say that my interest in the campaign took a nosedive.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The campaign needs to be situated within the movement, IMNSHO.* This time, it wasn’t. The two were in parallel. If you want power, I don’t see another way forward.

          * That doesn’t mean there won’t be tension…

  4. Isotope_C14

    “if Stein tried to supply leadership at the convention — she was, after all, physically present — she was unable to take advantage of the opportunity.”

    It seems here she got the endorsement of “Black Men for Bernie”
    during the convention.

    Jill was also not invited to the People’s Summit in Chicago, it seemed that it was more shepherding of young people to diffuse protesting and follow the (D) party line.

    I did some research suspecting the polls are suspect. I found that the phone numbers used in national polls come from:

    We have no idea how these phone numbers are picked, perhaps an employee of SSI can tell us. They are most certainly not random. When you look at how the poll results can be manipulated, they do indeed “weight” votes, just in case you get an unusual Stein or Johnson result from the heavy-weight 50+ numbers. They claim young people don’t vote, and that is in fact quite untrue. So the poll math is set up to throw out young voters and keep the status-quo, go figure. People would get too confused if there were more than 2 choices on the ballot…

    Many Stein supporters are ex-Sandernistas and working actively to achieve ballot access, and more are looking to run for local offices as well. Flowers is on the ballot for Senate, and many others will start popping up in other local areas.

    They just don’t get the free televised media in the same volume that the duopoly does. The revolution will not be televised, but it will be on youtube.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m not saying that Stein didn’t do some stuff. Did she emerge as the leader of the disaffected Berniecrats, given the chance? No. And not even on YouTube. Politics ain’t beanbag…

      1. Arizona Slim

        I would be more impressed with Stein if she had some experience with legislating and/or governing.

        1. Isotope_C14

          Well, if we are going to talk about qualifications, since the #1 threat to the human species is climate change, I’d rather have someone with the science experience that comes from the medical profession, rather than the lack of science experience in the Lawyer profession. Legislating and governing experience put the revolving door-lobbyist to congress people in charge, and that has served the people well.

          Remember, corporations are people my friend.

          Here’s a twitter link to see who you can vote for.

          Jill’s doing fairly well.

          Perhaps CTR will find a way to bot-vote H-> up a few more points…

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I’ll second your opinion regarding qualifications except for a caveat tied to effectiveness. A Stein Presidency w/o accomplishment could be a death knell for the Green Party. Her apparent lack of political acumen evidenced by her selection of running mate and past misspent opportunities leaves me very reluctant to vote for her.

            I don’t like either major party candidate. My feelings tell me an undercount vote — a “No!” — for President will be more telling than a vote for Stein.

            1. Isotope_C14

              It’s not about the party, it’s about the platform. It’s worth a try to go green, the other three running will further cement an imperialist or pro-corporate agenda, as I have no idea if Gary Johnson would close down military operations globally, I think he’d do some though.

              I don’t have a problem with Baraka, he’s eloquent, and we have a severe racism/class divide in this country that only is getting worse. Of course he has to be smeared the second he says “White imperialism”, which is exactly what has dominated US foreign policy.

              You could help Stein just get matching funds. That’s thing about a vote, you don’t *have* to win to help.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            But we don’t need a scientist. We need a chief executive.

            In a way, this is a mirror image of the way some Clinton supporters defend her: That she’s the one best able to compromise with the Republicans, etc. By the same token, we don’t need a chief of staff. We need a chief executive.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                The possibility for each seems to me to be vanishingly small.

                I think the GP is making the same sort of mistake that Trump is making; in fact, “doing politics” really requires a skill set; the same with being an executive. That’s not to excuse Clinton; it’s just the truth. These skills take a life time to learn, they aren’t easy, and they aren’t granted to people simply because they are principled.

                1. habenicht

                  Fair observations.

                  I think you have said that the best outcome we could hope for in this election is gridlock.

                  If the target outcome is in fact gridlock (ie nothing gets gets done), why is gridlock preferable under legacy unethical, (daresay abject corrupt) yet experienced democratic party administration? Is it really better then nothing getting done under an inexperienced (some would say disorganized), yet ethical green administration?

                  This is the part I am struggling with.

                2. Jamie

                  That’s all true, but… so HRC has the skill set and uses it against Bernie supporters and we all think that’s terrible. I’m with McLuhan, the media is the message. No one skilled at politics as currently “played” will ever change that system. That doesn’t mean that Stein can be effective simply because she is mostly correct on policy. Of course more is needed in a leader. But no one is going to go in there and change things for us while we get on with our lives… Change will only happen when we all stay involved and force the change from the outside. Am I wrong to think that a show of support for correct policies will cause talented people to step up… that over time, better leaders will emerge?

    2. dk

      Re: Jill Stein…
      Analysis: Clinton Lucks Out With Jill Stein on Her Left

      Over-simplified and otherwise arguable premises (and several completely false comparisons), but still makes some relevant and specific points once you push past first 7-8 paragraphs (they’re short). One can fault Sanders for soft-pedalling, but he did demonstrate that nuance and careful wording can produce resonances and synergies that hectoring and mud-slinging can’t. It’s easy to divide, it’s hard to unite; if you can’t unite, what do you really have? I think people confuse the attainment of power with the exercise of power, two very different things.

  5. Rebecca Meloy

    On Saturday July 23, the convention began for me, simply as a guest from Cascadia. I was having lunch at the Reading Terminal Market when a live video appeared in my cell phone feed.

    I saw people chanting and protesting the Democratic Rules Hearing, then realized it was 1/2 block away.

    I wandered over to the Philadelphia Convention Center pulling my suit case and managed to get through three check points and to the locked door of the hearing. Over 200 Bernie Delefates were blocked from participating and voting because the convention scheme organizers only held the hearing in a room to seat around 100 people.

    After witnessing that painful reality I made my way to the Convention gift shop to load up on Betnue posters, pins, t-shirts, and bumper stickers. That was another failure. I found one button with Bernie’s photo, one with Bernie and Hillary, and one Betnie propaganda T-shirt that made him look like a rat.

    Out of many hundreds of items for sale, 99.9% were promoting Hillary and the Demicratic Party.


    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Make your own Bernie/Populist items. You can get a T-Shirt design printed for less then $200 (much much less depending). Artists and art could provide a much needed and greatly under-appreciated form of protest. Think of Banksy and the Sad Panda. Think of the murals you saw around Philadelphia.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I read about the shirt, but I wasn’t sure it really did that, and the picture didn’t make it totally clear.


      You saw the shirt? It really made Sanders look like a rat? Because Jews as rats or vermin is a classic Nazi trope.

      * * *

      I used to live in Center City, so the mention of Reading Terminal brings back very happy memories.

  6. trent

    Wow, all those testimonials from the democrat convention are an eye opener, for some. Hillary’s soft Nazism on full display for any of the still true believers. Yet the press calls trump the Nazi. Trump is crazy, but its almost an honest craziness compared to Hillary. She’s nuts, but manipulates everything she can to hide it. I’ll take out in the open crazy, easier to plan for.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Once you get used to it, it turns into an unbreakable habit.

      Hey, it’s election day!

      *pops another brewski*

    2. Pat

      I realize that in some ways it can be seen as a wasted effort. Especially if you fear your vote will be stolen in some manner, a fear I wish I could say was irrational. That said, not voting allows the various PTB to write their own story of why this happens. Ignorance and laziness being the standard reasons that are cited for the ever growing number of people who don’t show up at the polls.

      Now they can say it was a ‘mistake’ to leave one ballot line empty, but they cannot claim disinterest, ignorance or laziness. And voting for third parties or writing in votes are clear repudiations of the offerings they have given us. One of my big reasons to urge people to show up to vote regardless of how they feel about the major candidates or even all the candidates is it is still the only clear and unmistakable way of saying NONE OF THE ABOVE. If even half of the eligible voters who stay home showed and voted for something anything other than the candidates of record, you would watch both parties go bananas. Sure it will probably in further ways to restrict access to voting, but it will certainly stop the arrogant idea of ‘where have they to go.’

      Shorter, voting LOTE or not showing up to vote at all have led us to this. Time to try something new.

      Please reconsider.

        1. ng

          write bernie in. hillary has been given a big break by having trump as her opponent. she won’t get that again. a few million votes for bernie will show them how much power the left still has.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I would like to write-in Bernie. My own limited investigation indicated some states do not count write-in votes and others count them but only report them long after the fact and some are very hinky about different spelling, spacing and order. If Bernie won with a write-in I seriously doubt that result would ever see daylight. Undercounts will show up in a contrasts between ballots cast and ballots cast for each candidate running for President. [Not sure whether some states might show the write-ins this way — by showing total ballots cast, total votes for each candidate and total votes blank or not yet counted.] Any clarification would be most appreciated! I remain unconvinced that Green is a way to go.

              1. Vatch

                Seriously? They allow “none of the above” as a choice on the ballot? That’s a great feature.

              2. hunkerdown

                NOTA? Even better than write-in. They‘re not entitled to our consent outside of their own minds.

      1. hunkerdown

        They can write all the stories they want. In fact, let them tell themselves whatever lies make them feel more powerful. We can tell ourselves and each other the real score: that we refuse to be furniture for elite dramas. The intervention will just be that much more jarring when push comes to shove. Just because they refuse to see you doesn’t mean you don’t exist.

      2. hreik

        Thanks for the lengthy reply. I will reconsider.

        I am beyond disgusted and TPTB honestly don’t give 2 sh*ts.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Whether the TPTB give any shits does NOT matter. I am looking to some young Turks to see the possibilities and run like Bernie (w/o pre-promises of seppuku) for House and Senate seats — and President in the future.

          1. dk

            The MSM over-emphasis on presidential races and federal power can distract people from important seats issues in their own state and locality. Governors and state legislatures, mayors and city councils are not only the local equivalents of presidents and congress, but these seats are often the first political posts for candidates who run for higher offices (Bernie first won election as a mayor). Secretaries of State and County Clerks oversee voter registrations and election processes. Attorney Generals and District Attorneys can choose which crimes to prosecute and influence law enforcement. All of these people have some discretion when enforcing (or ignoring) federal law and regulation.

            So a ballot with no presidential selection counts. And you still have the opportunity to vote for down-ticket candidates (and ballot measures), where your vote probably has more weight.

            1. Jeremy Grimm


              I too often feel the only remedy is more of the brew I made. The pain grows to oxcycontin levels.

      3. H. Alexander Ivey

        Sorry, I disagree. Corruption – using public resources for private gains – has led us to this.

        I do not plan on voting since I do not wish to legitimize this corrupt political process.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Please Please Please — vote! Vote “No!”. Not voting says nothing. Vote “No!”

          It may have little impact but some … is better than none.

          Other responses to the corruption which troubles you have been hinted at. Use them at your own discretion.

        2. aab

          Except that plays right into Hillary’s hands — and she is the most corrupt and corrupting player in this election. Not voting or leaving the presidential line blank will both help her facilitate her election theft. (After what they did in California, I’m assuming it will be child’s play to simply add her name to any voted ballots with a blank presidential line — no white-out needed!)

          Obviously, the best protest against the establishment would be to vote for Trump, the candidate they are most determined to stop, because he has the only feasible path to enough election rigging (or blockading of election rigging) of his own. But if you want to protest/escape the LOTE paradigm, vote for someone. There has got to be at least one third party option on the ballot in most states. I’m actually super-excited to vote for the feminist, socialist candidate available to me — although I will vote either Stein or Trump if they have a shot at taking my state (or, if neither can, if it looks like Stein is close to 5% nationally and the Greens have shown seriousness of organizational purpose.)

          Hillary is happy for you to stay home. So please don’t.

          1. hunkerdown

            She can steal all the election she wants to. We are under no obligation to treat her as a legitimate ruler.

      4. Praedor

        I always vote in the general sense. I don’t cast a vote in every possible race because in some cases, there is only one choice (a Republican). So, I will vote again in November but I will not vote for Hillary or Trump. I’ll go with Jill if she is on the ballot or I’ll vote for almost any other 3rd party choice.

    3. Waldenpond

      In CA we have legislation to vote for and against and I keep telling myself to at least focus on that.

      In the primary, there was an opportunity to vote on removing convicted legislatures… seems like a good idea, right? It passed. In place was a 50% +1 vote for removal. What passed is a two-thirds vote requirement w/preference for suspension with pay and benefits. So it is now much harder to get rid of them and they are rewarded with paid vacations for convictions.

      I will vote this last time, but when people refuse to even glance at their voter handbook (everyone gets one) voting is pointless.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        In California everyone gets a voter handbook. The voter handbook was one of the of the first things I missed when I moved to another state. I miss that voter handbook very much.

        But answer me this — reading the voter handbook — unless one read very very carefully and boasted a legal background the text often lead to more rather than less understanding of an issue. YOU must talk to friends and anyone who will listen to explain what is so often obfuscated.

        1. aab

          I agree. I find the voter handbook pretty useless. I have almost nothing to vote for at the state or federal level. Because of the jungle primaries, I have only two Democrats — both corrupt and useless, in slightly different ways — for the Senate seat. I can’t even punish the party by voting for the opposition. My State Senate guy ran unopposed in the primary and he’s unopposed in the General — no Republican even tried.

          I can punish my Congressman by voting for his Republican opponent. He’s pretty awful, and I used to think my Congressman was pretty good, as Democrats go. But he was a big Clinton campaigner, and he’s gone from opposition to TPP to talking about being nice to animals. Don’t get me wrong: I’m in favor of being nice to animals. But it sure looks like he’s been penned and shackled. But angry as I am, actually voting for a Reaganite Republican would be…unpleasant. And it would certainly be purely symbolic. Republicans don’t win where I live. Ever.

    4. jgordon

      That’s like rewarding Hillary and the Democrats for their crimes. Rather than sitting this one out, consider supporting Trump. Sure he’ll be a crappy president; but just imagine the look on Hillary and DWS’s faces when he wins! It’ll be totally worth it.

      1. hunkerdown

        Trump might be alright (even though probably a Clinton straw); I’m a bit worried about his followers. The Hitlerjugend over at /pol/ and on /r/The_Donald are not exactly the sort of people I would prefer in my black bloc (in the unlikely event I were to form one). They seem more likely to assert their genitals as a matter of social truth (see also the first-person shooting game Halo) than offer any real threat whatsoever to the Democratic Party’s ongoing existence (“centipede” self-appellation notwithstanding).

        1. jgordon

          That all may be true, but the fact remains that Trump and his ilk are still preferable to Hillary and hers.

          There is at least some evidence to suggest that Trump has a sense of humor and compassion. In contrast Hillary by all appeances is only an unfeeling robot programmed exclusively for grift and corruption. With a strong streak of bloodlust and vengeful pettiness in her.

          Hell, actual Democrats, especially the partisan hack kind, ought to be praying to God for Trump victory at this point; Trump can only strengthen Democrats as a party, whereas Hillary could very well destroy.

          That said I think Hillary is liable to get us all nuked to death before she has a chance to destroy the Democratic party, which is my main reason for supporting Trump.

    5. EoinW

      I haven’t voted in years. In Canada, however, we’ve never been given a choice on anything. Doesn’t matter if the election is federal, provincial or municipal, no issues just personalities.

      The US 2016 election is different. You actually have a huge choice to make. Do you vote(or not vote) to support the Washington establishment, which is clearly pushing for war with Russia, or do you vote Trump who doesn’t want such a war? Your choice. But why would you even contemplate gambling that we can survive 4 years of Clinton without a nuclear war? Speculating on global warming or third party movements kind of lose their significance during a nuclear winter.

      1. JEHR

        EoinW, is it true that in Canada there is no choice in anything? Please give links or support your assertion. In the last election we had many choices: NDP, Conservative, Liberal, Green Party. We kicked out the Conservative for his antics; we didn’t vote NDP because of the leader, and we voted Liberal for the Name he Bore. The Green Party gives us yet another choice. Besides, if you find no municipal or provincial choices, then run yourself! It seems to me that the US electorate really has choice allright: Both of whom are not liked by the electorate and both of whom (apparently) don’t mind lying publicly. Some choice!

        What nuclear winter are you talking about?

        1. EoinW

          I could ask you the same, to prove what you claim. What you mentioned proved my point, as you didn’t mention a single issue – just personalities. I’ve voted Green in the past and it was pointless. The system is structured against any new party. It’s also against the NDP and so our worker’s party’s response has been to swing heavily to the right. Make itself more like the Conservatives/Liberals. Three parties essentially the same. Again what choice?

          The issues which exist that we’ve never been given a say on are endless. Doesn’t help having a brainwashed electorate. Super states exist to achieve one thing: conformity. Make anyone exactly the same and they’ve no need for choices. How does one change anything peacefully in such an environment?

          War with Russia means nuclear war. The only people with a chance of preventing that are Americans by voting for Trump. They will not prevent it voting Green or not at all. Thank goodness it’s American voters with a choice. If it was Canadian, European or Australian voters then Trump wouldn’t even be in contention and there would be no choice.

  7. flora

    As in the primaries, so at the convention. I’m imaging Hillary with full AUMF authority.

    Great post. Thanks.

  8. Tvc15

    Even though they are painful to read, thanks for aggregating Lambert.

    Reminds me why I removed my Bernie car magnet after he endorsed her and replaced it with a 1984 sticker.

    1. Arizona Slim

      During this morning’s bicycle ride, I passed by the first official Bernie HQ in Tucson. It was in a neighbor’s house for, oh, three months.

      During that time, she hosted phone banks, and, yes, I went to some. During one of them, I was chastised for schmoozing with other campaign volunteers.

      My bad.

      But the other volunteers were much friendlier than the people we were calling. Most of them were older folks with landlines and they had already decided to vote for Hillary.

      I didn’t last very long as a Bernie caller.

      Any-hoo, back to this morning’s ride. I saw no trace of Bernie support at my neighbor’s place. That wall of Bernie signs? Gone. Bumper sticker on the car? Likewise.

      1. mk

        I phone banked for Bernie and his campaign at a local neighbors with my neighbors, now we’re getting together to hear Bernie speak on August 24 to launch Our Revolution. Not everyone is giving up, I hope you don’t either.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I’m signed up with Brand New Congress. Just applied to be a watching party host for the September 20 livestream.

            1. Arizona Slim

              I hope I get picked! I’d like to have a picnic on my living room floor. (In September, it’s still too hot to have an outdoor picnic in southern AZ.)

              We can gather around my computer, oh, wait, my laptop, because it’s a lot more portable than my desktop machine.

  9. TarheelDem

    Since the Nixon campaign turned his convention into an infomercial in 1972, both parties think that the media and the public will punish any actual political speech at a convention or any contention of ideas. Sanders gave Clinton the opportunity to change the political process this year; Clinton refused to take that opportunity and even failed to authentically try to co-opt Sanders voters. Because she decided she needed disgruntled Republicans more.

    There were a lot of veteran Democrats in the Sanders movement and too many are walking through the hold-your-nose drill without challenging it.

    The political party that credibly unites working whites with working people of color against the powers that be and the upper 20% salary class will have the majority that most progressives and lefties seek.

    Credibly means that they get on the ballot in enough states to win.

    Do you see that party that’s ready to seize institutional power this year?

    Will I see them on a ballot in North Carolina?

    Other than that, there is going to be a lot of split-ticket voting this year. I hope that it nets out giving people what they want.

  10. Watt4Bob

    I don’t remember hearing anyone mention the CA Bernie people, led by a group of Nurses, I think union members, protecting the Bernie Whip from being ejected by security people.

    A group of security types had surrounded the CA Bernie Whip, and were man-handling her, trying to escort her off the floor, when the Nurses all grabbed their phones and started recording/streaming the commotion, and insisting that the security guys let their Whip go.

    The sight of at least a dozen determined Nurses, jumping into action, all wearing red T-shirts and pointing cameras, was incredible and very heartening.

    They stopped the ejection of their Whip, and immediately started insisting that the security guy who led the attack had to go.

    “That guy, that guy right there has to go!”

    All the while pointing their many cameras and fingers at the guy who, evidently not having planned on being met with coordinated resistance, promptly fled.

    Truly an inspiring moment.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s very good.

      I didn’t get to write on the physical plant but it struck me forcibly that the entire set-up might as well have been designed to make any sort of resistance impossible, not just because of the layout but because materiel is forbidden on the floor. Anything physical would have to be done with bodies, and filmed.

      Also, NNU is bad-ass.

      1. Watt4Bob

        I’m sure there must be video somewhere, it was very dramatic, and those nurses reaction was instantaneous.

        Although I described it as “on the floor” it was actually up in the CA delegate’s seats.

      2. paintedjaguar

        From what I’ve read about the attempts to squelch dissent at this convention, Hillary’s people had banners, white-noise generators and other “materiel” pre-stashed on the convention floor to be used to visually and audibly “erase” any activity from the Bernie contingent. Obviously, they were operating under “some animals more equal than others” rules.

        Personally, I’ve been sickened to see a quasi-governmental organization like the DNC using such strongarm tactics with no accountability to anyone. Not that corrupt political machines are a new thing at all, but with the whole of the media apparatus pretending the empress isn’t naked?

        1. flora

          Recently got a call from DLCC (?) or DCCC (?) asking for money to help elect down ticket Dems. Told them I was so disgusted with what I’d seen in the primaries and at the convention I would not donate to any estab Dem organization. Based on their response, I think they’ve heard this many times. But hey, they’ve still got Wall St.

  11. diptherio

    “I had no idea how ugly, how corrupt, how the convention was designed to keep out the grassroots people from having a voice,”

    “I believed the convention would proceed fairly as a platform for both candidates until the nomination Tuesday night would promote only one winner. Those hopes were drowned…”

    A couple of late arrivals, I take it? Not to be mean, but this kind of naiveté is a real problem. Hopefully, this election will indeed be “clarifying” for many people, as Lambert says, but I’m not holding my breath. For some reason, admitting that the people in charge do not care one iota about fairness, truth, justice or any of that namby-pamby BS is incredibly difficult for most people to do. Much less challenging psychologically to hope that things will work out better next time, that the system will somehow fix itself (see our post-2008 financial regulations for but one example). I have a feeling that we’ll be having very similar conversations 4 and/or 8 years from now.

    Once you accept that the game is rigged against you, that the leaders of your “team” view you as the enemy, what do you do? Only time will tell, I suppose.

    1. jgordon

      With regards to corrupt conventions, this could very well be the last of them! After all, considering the rate things are falling apart it’s doubtful whether we’ll even have conventions in 4 or 8 years.

  12. Gareth

    I don’t know why the Sanders people accepted all the physical intimidation. Back in the day, if someone shoved you in that situation, you threw a punch. Apparently there weren’t any construction workers or longshoremen in the delegation. Put that on the list for next time.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Before you do that — check the laws for assault. You had best select construction workers or longshoremen with long-time ties to organized crime to make sure the Democratic Party “witnesses” will “reconsider” their testimony.

      1. pretzelattack

        and civil liability as well. you better be reasonably acting to defend yourself. and remember the dnc will have better lawyers.

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