PHILADELPHIA – Something stinks at the Wells Fargo Center, and it’s not just the Bernie brigade’s planned “Fart-In.”
Several Bernie Sanders delegates tell Watchdog.org they won’t be participating in the flatulent demonstration just moments before Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes the stage Thursday night.
But they will no longer remain silent.
“The nice lady stayed at home today and the mean, mad Bernie delegate is here,” said Nadine Gallagher, a Sanders backer from Oklahoma.
On Monday, the Democratic National Convention kicked off under the pretense of unity, but quickly turned into a noisy and steady show of protest from Sanders delegates who feel the Democratic National Committee rigged the system against their candidate. During speeches Monday and Tuesday, angry members of the Bernie brigade booed whenever Clinton’s name was brought up and in general shouted their discontent with the nomination process, even as Sanders threw his support behind Clinton and urged his followers to do the same.
Then, at least on the convention center floor, opposition voices seemed to go mostly quiet.
Gallagher said fear had much to do with that silence.
“We’ve had a quieter convention because the delegates have been threatened. They’ve had food thrown at them. I’ve had people wagging their finger in my face,” the delegate said. “They can’t threaten us anymore. They can’t take my credentials. It’s over tonight. I don’t have to be a good girl any more. I don’t have to take it anymore.”
Just before the convention started, a Wikileaks document dump released internal Democratic National Committee emails apparently confirming what Sanders supporters had long feared: the establishment was stacking the deck against them.
Long-time DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned Monday. She hasn’t been heard from since delegates booed her during a unity breakfast that morning.
“There’s too much suspicion, too much corruption,” Gallagher said. “They stole this. They took it. I’m mad. I know Bernie says we’re all disappointed. This is so beyond disappointed. This wasn’t a fair election.”
Her friend Amber Thomas agreed.
“They knocked us to the ground,” the alternate delegate from Oklahoma said, speaking figuratively. “They kicked us, spit on us, stomped on us while we were laying on the ground and then as they walked away they said, ‘Will you be my friend?’ The unity bridge you wanted us to cross over has already been burned to the ground.”
There were mass demonstrations Wednesday and into Thursday, with some Sanders backers chanting, “I’m with Nina.” They referred to Nina Turner, a Sanders delegate who says she was not allowed to speak before the nomination roll call on Tuesday.
Mike Sandler, a Virginia national delegate for Sanders, can dig the frustration, but he’s not into the fart protest scene.
U.S. News reported that Sanders backers planned to gobble down cans of beans and raise a real stink on this final day of the convention.
“It shows the level of absolute disgust that we’re at – we think we’re going to remember 2016 as the year we begin to bury the two corporate political parties,” Cheri Honkala told U.S. News
None of the Sanders supporters who spoke to Watchdog said they would join a demonstration that was more like the “Blazing Saddles” campfire scene than a political protest.
“I’m not so sure I’m into the bodily functions components. I’m staying away from that, personally. Hopefully the people around me will, too,” Sandler said.
He said there are so many big issues that could be lost in such a fog of war. The goal of the demonstrators, he said, is to get attention, when the focus should be on the problems confronting the county. Sandler says he is moving from the “Bernie or Bust” end of the political spectrum to the “Blue No Matter Who” side. With Virginia a swing state, there’s no room for absolute idealism, he said.
Still, Sandler said he is disappointed that no one in the party establishment has mentioned the Wikileaks email scandal. It’s the olive branch Sanders backers need, he said.
One Sanders supporter was repulsed by all the “Fart-In” talk. She said she doesn’t believe in using bodily functions to protest, although she said there could be some exceptions.
Another delegate said she wouldn’t join the demonstration, chuckling at the idea. But, she added, at least the protesters were “putting their asses where their mouths are.”