Sanders Supporters Walk Out of Convention After Clinton Vote

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A supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders attends the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Delegates complain Clinton is corrupt, not electable
  • Protesters say they will fight on without the senator

More than 100 pro-Bernie Sanders demonstrators walked out of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday in protest of the nomination of Hillary Clinton for president over the Vermont senator.

The protesters, many of whom were Sanders delegates, exited the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, where the convention is being held, after the senator moved to make Clinton’s nomination unanimous in a show of party unity. Outside the arena, several of the Sanders supporters said they were not prepared to embrace a party or a candidate they viewed as corrupt, conservative, or simply unable to win the general election.

The demonstrators gathered in front of a media tent and some went inside to stage a sit-in, drawing the attention of a large police contingent. Protesters outside chanted "the whole world is watching" and held up signs to the tent’s windows.

"I want them to know they have nominated a flawed candidate who cannot win," said Vincent Venditti, a Georgia delegate who supported President Obama in 2012 and 2008. "The party left me behind."

Few protesters expressed a willingness to embrace Republican nominee Donald Trump in the general election, saying that Clinton would lose to the New York billionaire whether they voted for her or not. Some said they would concentrate on down-ballot races.

Abandoning Democrats

Venditti said he handed his credentials to the chairman of his state delegation and declared himself an independent just after Sanders called for the acclimation vote, which effectively made Clinton the nominee by the overall consent of the convention.

Kathryn Conant, a West Virginia delegate in a tie-dye shirt who said she had been a Democrat for 45 years, said she saw "the party shifting farther right."

Several of the protesters cited a recent release of stolen e-mails from top Democratic National Committee officials, which revealed bias toward Sanders during a primary race in which the party was supposed to remain neutral, as a reason for their discontent. The release of the e-mails prompted DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to announce her resignation on Sunday, effective at the end of the convention.

Alexis Salt, a delegate from Nevada, said the crowd is "done with all of this -- the corruption, the collusion, the fear-mongering."

"The voices have been shut down," particularly those of Sanders’s young supporters, said Kathleen Burke, a New Mexico delegate who put tape over her mouth with the words "No Voice" written on it. "I’ll be leaving the Democratic Party as early as tonight."

She said she would return to the convention tomorrow only to participate in an organized protest, if one materializes.

‘It’s About Us’

Even with the end of Sanders’ candidacy -- and despite concessions in the party’s platform intended to appeal to his supporters -- several protesters said they would not stop fighting for the issues that animated his campaign, including raising the minimum wage, opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and efforts to diminish the influence of the wealthy in politics.

"It wasn’t about him; it’s about us," said Luis Eric Aguilar, an Illinois delegate, through tears. He said he wrote "No TPP" on his arm after his pro-Sanders signs were taken away from him.

The protesters were relatively peaceful and began to disperse after about two hours. The Philadelphia police said that no one had been arrested as of 9 p.m.

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