Sanders: Yeah, Things Could Get 'Messy' At The Democratic National Convention

Matt Vespa
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Posted: May 25, 2016 1:30 PM
Sanders: Yeah, Things Could Get 'Messy' At The Democratic National Convention

The Democratic civil war over the presidential nomination continues, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders warning that things could get “messy” in Philadelphia. Democrats, like the Republicans, are having their nominating conventions in July, but the party unity building exercises look as if it will be more arduous for the Democratic nominee, which is most likely going to be Hillary Clinton. She’s less than 100 delegates away from clinching the nomination, which many thought would be a cakewalk. Instead, the former secretary of state has suffered numerous defeats at the hands of a self-described Democratic socialist.

Yet, even with Sanders’ string of wins, especially when the primary shifted towards the West and Pacific Northwest, Clinton still maintained her delegate lead. As expected, Sanders was not able to win by margins that would have allowed him to overtake the former first lady, as the entire Democratic primary process is based off of proportional allocation of delegates. Clinton’s dominance during the I-95 Corridor primaries also pretty much sealed the deal. Still, even with those facts, Sanders supporters feel cheated, and their anger is reaching critical levels. They feel that the system is rigged. Those feelings boiled over during the chaotic Nevada Democratic Convention in Las Vegas last week, where outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said she felt her safety was in danger.

This is what national Democrats fear is going to happen in front of every major news network in the country: a devoted cohort of Sanders supporters wreaking havoc on the convention floor. Then again, Sanders told the Associated Press that life and democracy is messy—and that our political order isn’t always so gentle.

The Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press that his supporters hoped to see a platform at the July convention that reflects the needs of working families, the poor and young people as opposed to one that represents Wall Street and corporate America.

The Vermont senator said he will "condemn any and all forms of violence" but his campaign was bringing in newcomers to the process and first-time attendees of political conventions. He said the Democratic Party could choose to be more inclusive.

"I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs, it's going to be messy," Sanders said. "Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle but that is where the Democratic Party should go."

Asked if the convention could be messy, Sanders said: "So what? Democracy is messy. Everyday my life is messy. But if you want everything to be quiet and orderly and allow, you know, just things to proceed without vigorous debate, that is not what democracy is about."

Democrats already seem to be considering options to appease the Sanders crowd. There’s talk on the Hill that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who is also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, could be dumped before the convention. Schultz has been the source of ire from the Sanders army for her perceived bias in this primary contest. Sanders had said if he were to be elected president, Schultz would be shown the exit. Still, Sanders will get one-third of the seats on the Democratic Party platform committee. Dr. Cornel West and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have been named by Sanders to participate in the drafting of what could be a decidedly left wing platform. James Zogby, a Palestinian rights activist, is also included in the mix.

The tension, however, doesn’t seem to be dissipating. Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said that Sen. Boxer’s claims about fearing for her safety were inaccurate, describing her recollection of events as “incongruous.”