'Grieving process': Washington's Bernie supporters feeling burned | KUOW News and Information

'Grieving process': Washington's Bernie supporters feeling burned

Jul 26, 2016

It was an all-star cast as the Democratic National Convention kicked off last night in Philadelphia.

Al Franken. Sarah Silverman. Cory Booker. Michelle Obama. Bernie Sanders.

And Washington state’s delegation heard their messages for Sanders’ supporters: Unite, and vote for Hillary Clinton.

Those speeches were preceded by a tense day that showed a sharp divide in the delegation.

And early in the evening as the convention began, that message of unity didn’t seem to be getting through.

Nearly every mention of Hillary Clinton was met by cheers, followed by boos, and then chants of a different name: "Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!"

All of that tension culminated with Sanders’ speech at the end of the night. He delivered another ringing endorsement for Clinton and a rebuke to GOP nominee Donald Trump.

“We need leadership that brings our people together and makes us stronger,” Sanders thundered. “Not leadership which insults Latinos and Mexicans, insults Muslims and women and seeks to divide us up.”

How did Washington’s delegates react?

Some Sanders delegates haven’t made the jump to Clinton. And that’s OK, said state Rep. Noel Frame.

“They have put their lives into this and frankly it’s a little bit of a grieving process. And I think we need to understand and respect that,” Frame said. “I’m a Bernie delegate and I will be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton in the fall. I hope other Bernie people get there. But right now it’s a little fresh.”

Some Clinton backers from Washington expressed hurt feelings on Monday. They said they’re taken aback by some of the anger that’s being expressed here toward her, like the booing almost whenever her name was mentioned.

There were reports that Sanders supporters in California’s delegation were even chanting: "Lock her up! Lock her up!" That of course echoes what was heard at the Republican convention last week.

Still, Hillary supporters said Monday night that they expect a different outcome than that from Cleveland.

“I think that I heard the party coming together. As the night went on we were more and more chanting with one voice,” said Noah An, a UW student, delegate and Clinton supporter. “And I think Bernie’s speech tonight when he said any reasonable person will see that Hillary is the better choice between these two, is going to bring more people behind our nominee.”

But hardcore Sanders folks from Washington state still don’t seem ready to hear that. 

“I understand why he did it,” said delegate Nick Vaidyanathan of Seattle. “I understand the risk is great. I understand the fears of Donald Trump. But I came for a political revolution.”

KUOW is in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention. Do you have convention questions? Send email to newsroom@kuow.org