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Bernie Sanders Tries to Repair a Fractured Democratic Party

Bernie Sanders Supporters
Bernie Sanders supporters were disappointed by his decision Monday to continue to back Hillary Clinton even after it was revealed her campaign colluded with the Democratic Party to ensure he wouldn't win the presidential nomination. (Reuters photo)

With the Democratic Party shattered, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.)—the guy who most Americans would understand if he just walked away—tried to heal the wounds of division in his party.

And while most of the thousands of delegates, alternates and supporters who backed his presidential campaign didn't boo him like they did earlier in the day—although there were reported a few that could only be heard within the arena—it also seems his message largely fell on deaf ears. He addressed their frustration almost immediately in his speech:

"I understand that many people here in this convention hall and around the country are disappointed about the final results of the nominating process," he said. "I think it's fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I am. But to all of our supporters—here and around the country—I hope you take enormous pride in the historical accomplishments we have achieved."

He later added, "This election is about—and must be about—the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and grandchildren."

Sanders then began to make his case for why Democrats should unite, and why Americans in general should vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in November. Clinton was expected to win the party's nomination during the Roll Call of States when the convention reconvened Tuesday.

"It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues," he said in closing. "That's what this campaign has been about. That's what democracy is about. But I am happy to tell you that at the Democratic Platform Committee there was a significant coming together between the two campaigns and we produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.

"Among many other strong provisions, the Democratic Party now calls for breaking up the major financial institutions on Wall Street and the passage of a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. It also calls for strong opposition to job-killing free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency—and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.

"I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care. I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children.

"Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight."

Afterward, Sanders supporters were generally supportive of him, but at the same time were almost universally committed to ignoring his call for unity. As the depth and breadth of the DNC's efforts to ensure Sanders' defeat in the primary have been exposed by the WikiLeaks email leak scandal, their resolve has become steelier.

As one pro-Sanders delegate put it, they have three choices: "not voting, voting for [Green Party candidate] Jill Stein, or voting for Donald Trump." Following Sanders' lead and voting for Clinton doesn't seem to be one of them—for now.


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