Day one of the Democratic National Convention, held on Monday, July 25, would have been informative had speeches not been repeatedly overshadowed by shouts and chants from Bernie Sanders’ supporters. Thus, day one was informative in one way: Embers of “The Bern” still smolder in the hearts of many.
The diehard “Bernie or Bust” supporters were the source of the jeering. Bernie Sanders repeatedly stated throughout his campaign that this is a movement to believe in, and his supporters held their ground when he and many others faltered.
Sanders and the other Democrats who want to see a liberal in the White House disagree with the Busters. Although these supporters are fueled by righteous indignation, high standards don’t win elections alone.
As Bernie spoke at the convention, his motif of what “this election is about” echoed some of the greatest points from his platform. The curveball that the Bernie or Busters despised was his new addition: “Hillary will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her tonight.”
But at every mention of Hillary’s presumptive nomination, boos echoed throughout the arena in Philadelphia. It was apparent that the Democratic Party’s goal of the convention was to take Bernie with his supporters and ally them with Hillary. At least on day one, those supporters needed more convincing.
This degree of division certainly puts fear in the hearts of Democrats who know strength comes from unity within the party.
The DNC is held every four years to nominate a presidential candidate and unite for the final leg of one of the most important competitions in the world. Each party has its respective convention because solidarity is crucial for winning the race, and as a tall bearded man who once understood the importance of unity said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
When Democrat, comedian and proud Bernie supporter Sarah Silverman took the stage to address the Bernie or Busters and said that they were being “ridiculous,” she had a point. In an interview with the New York Times after her speech, she noted that the best way to support Bernie’s dream is to give him a better ally in the Oval Office. Abstaining from voting or even voting for Trump to oppose Hillary will only set Bernie farther away from a position where he can effect change.
During roll call on day two of the DNC, Bernie took the stage, this time to give all of Vermont’s delegate votes to Clinton. He did not take those votes and join an independent third party but united with the Democratic establishment to give his support to Hillary. The liberal mastermind behind the campaign that mobilized millions of Americans made this choice.
He made this decision to endorse the Clinton campaign only after working to amend her platform. Bernie stated that after working together, they have created “the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party” by adding reforms such as a plan to install half a billion solar panels in the next four years, promotion of vote-by-mail policies and the addition of banking services to post offices. His impact is not inscrutable; in fact, he has improved Hillary’s campaign, made way for future changes in the electoral system and activated millions of young Americans who never would have participated in such a way.
To the Busters who believe in the movement and not the figurehead, the staunch supporters of free education, public health care and a higher minimum wage, your hero announced that “Hillary Clinton must become the next President of the United States.”
Please don’t forget what is at stake.