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This past week has been a veritable rollercoaster ride leading up to and during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Here's the run down:
It began with the WikiLeaks DNC email revelations which confirmed what many Bernie Sanders supporters, and even the candidate himself, have been saying for months: the primaries were rigged by the Democratic establishment to tip the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton.
From a minuscule number of debates scheduled at absurd times to limit exposure, to suspending Sanders' campaign from accessing a crucial voter database. From media collusion and a near-complete mainstream media blackout, to premature superdelegate tallies. From voter suppression in Arizona, Nevada and California, to electioneering in Massachusetts and voter roll purges in New York and many others. Everything Bernie supporters were outraged about, ridiculed and called conspiracy theorists for has been borne out as truth.
The resignation and exclusion of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair was a purely symbolic, face-saving attempt by the DNC which failed at reconciling with Bernie supporters and assuaging any of their concerns. Instead those concerns were doubled by the selection of TPP Fast Track supporter, Tim Kaine (D-VA) as the vice-presidential nominee. This, along with the recent assertion by Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) that Hillary would flip flop back to her original TPP support, does not bode well for attempts at unification with progressives.
Their sentiment was on national display day one of the convention. Hundreds of Sanders delegates inside Wells Fargo Arena, and tens-of-thousands of supporters outside, let their outrage be seen and heard by turning their backs to the stage, holding up anti-TPP signs and booing nearly every time Clinton or Kaine's names were mentioned (save Michelle Obama's speech, naturally, nothing against FLOTUS). Not even Bernie Sanders could convince his supporters to fall in line with the Clinton coronation, as earlier in the day he heard boos when endorsing the Democratic ticket. Of course, that didn't mean they'd lost their support for him. During his keynote speech, Bernie received the longest and loudest ovation of the night, lasting nearly three minutes, typically the response reserved only for Party nominees.
Day two was just as bumpy. Following rousing, impassioned speeches by Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and other Sanders surrogates (former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner was removed from the speaking list) the much-anticipated and largely ceremonial roll call vote was held. In that vote (decided earlier that morning during a DNC sponsored breakfast) superdelegates were included in pledged delegate totals to once again create the optics of a much larger Clinton victory. Nearly 90 percent of superdelegates cast their vote for Hillary, meaning, without their votes, she was 177 delegate votes shy of the 2,383 required.
This spectacle culminated with Bernie Sanders' home state of Vermont electing to read their votes last and Bernie himself proposing to concede his delegates and the nomination to Hillary Clinton by acclamation, as she did for then-Senator Obama in 2008. Bernie then proceeded back up the stairs of the arena. (The following day, Bernie said he would be leaving the Democratic Party and returning to the Senate as an Independent saying, "I was elected as an Independent.")
Unknown to Bernie, many of his delegates, and many of his supporters nationally, did the same. Immediately following the formal roll call nomination of Hillary Clinton, a majority of Sanders delegates rose from their seats and exited the arena, some having their credentials stripped as they left. For them, the convention is over, and so is their Democratic Party membership.
DNC officials were scrambling to find ways to fill in the empty delegate seats to keep the Hillary love-fest running as smoothly as possible from here on out. Thanks to their MSM friends not showing the hollowed out sections on day two and most of the Sanders delegates seats being filled by Clinton-supporting spectators on day three, they'll probably succeed in their optical illusion to a unengaged public.
The progressives and Independents who overwhelmingly supported Bernie this primary season, however, are not fooled. They will not be led down the corrupt Clinton path. They will not hold there noses any longer to vote for a lesser evil. They will seek out the greater good instead. They are, ironically, taking the advice of angry Clinton supporters and Democratic party elites by leaving the party their ideals were never welcome in to begin with. Perhaps Jill Stein and the Green Party will be more inclusive.
The Democratic Party's progressive base, its ideological soul, has walked out. Good luck getting it back.
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