In his speech given on the first night of the Democratic National Convention, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont openly stated, "based on her ideas and her leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close."
This was not the opinion held by some of the delegates and protestors who gathered on July 24 and 25 outside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the site of the 2016 DNC, reports the Lincoln JournalStar.
Despite hearing Sanders ask supporters to give their support to Clinton, the presumptive nominee, protestors chanted, “Nominate Sanders or lose in November!" and held signs saying, “Never Hillary.”
Just one day before the DNC began, a new set of emails were leaked that suggest Democratic Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other DNC officials helped Clinton secure the nomination over Sanders. Anti-Clinton demonstrators took this as an even greater reason to advocate for Sanders on the first day of the convention.
Wasserman Schultz’s resignation and a seemingly split party brought voters to the edge of the seats in anticipation of Sanders’ speech.
When the Vermont senator took the stage on July 25, supporters gave him a standing ovation lasting three minutes. Initial mentions of Clinton’s name were followed by boos from fervent delegates holding “Feel the Bern” signs.
When the speech finally started, Sanders spoke with passion and intention.
For a brief period, Sanders’ speech seemed like an attempt to jump back into contention for the presidency. He said to the crowd, “I understand that many people here in this convention hall and around the country are disappointed about the final results of the nominating process. I think it’s fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I am.”
Additionally, after thanking his delegates for their support, saying, “I look forward to your votes during the roll call on [July 26].”
After engaging his supporters and the rest of the crowd, Sanders proceeded to contribute every ounce of his energy to drumming up support for Hillary Clinton.
Sanders outlined the main reasons he thinks Clinton is the candidate who will provide the best possible future for the United States, contrasting her with Republican nominee Donald Trump.
He said, “We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger, not leadership which insults Latinos, Muslims, women, African-Americans and veterans, and divides us up.”
The theme continued, juxtaposing Clinton’s plan to raise the minimum wage with Trump’s plan to allow states to lower the $7.25 minimum, the fight against climate change with funding for the fossil fuel industry, and the Democrat's vision for Medicare with the Rerpublican’s desire to abolish the Affordable Care Act.
Sanders also emphasized the fact that he has been working closely with the Clinton campaign to make the 2016 Democratic platform “the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party,” as he told everyone present, reports Time.
Their collaborative efforts have produced promises to allow children of families earning less than $125,000 to attend public, in-state universities tuition-free and strong opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Sanders used his DNC speech to tell his supporters their support for Hillary Clinton is essential in accomplishing all of these goals. He said that Clinton “must become president” to ensure the future outlined in his speech rather than the future outlined in the GOP convention the week before.
Trump tweeted, “Sad to watch Bernie Sanders abandon his revolution. We welcome all voters who want to fix our rigged system and bring back our jobs,” urging voters to offer their support to the GOP rather than Clinton.
One can speculate that the remaining nights of the DNC will include a continued push for former Sanders supporters to give their November votes to Clinton, not Trump.
In his final attempt to sway voters, Sanders concluded his speech saying, “Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight.”