While much of the Democratic Party is pushing Bernie Sanders delegates to unify the party and support Hillary Clinton, some Kansans say they’re here at the national convention with one specific job: Get Bernie to the White House.
Sanders spoke to more than 1,000 delegates Monday afternoon at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on how the successes of his campaign will strengthen the Democratic Party. He was slated to speak again Monday night to the full convention.
“I’m pledged for Bernie Sanders. That’s all there is to it,” said Sarah Parrish from Merriam. “People are counting on me to continue my responsibilities as a pledged delegate.”
Sanders dominated the Kansas presidential caucus in March.
Delegate Travis Slankard of Bonner Springs said that while much of what Sanders campaigned on is being adapted into the Democratic Party platform, he doesn’t want to support Clinton.
“They were his ideas first,” Slankard said. “While he was packing arenas with 50,000 people, (Clinton) would bring in 1,000 wealthy people to listen to her talk.”
Rashane Hamby, a delegate pledged to Sanders from Kansas City, said she’s excited to stand with her fellow Sanders supporters. If the electorate wants the White House to be blue, she said, they should propel the strongest candidate.
“We’re putting up the weakest defense,” she said about Clinton. “No matter how much pandering she does after this, I’m not sure she’ll get my vote
When Sanders spoke before the delegates Monday afternoon, he celebrated addressing the issues of his campaign – income inequality, health care reform, a stronger middle class and electing his supporters to local offices – and asked the crowd to consider where to go from here.
“We are asking for nothing else but the transformation of American society,” the Vermont senator said.
But the best defense against Donald Trump, Sanders told the crowd, is to vote for Clinton.
The crowd immediately erupted into chants of “Bernie” and “take it to the floor.”
Despite Sanders’ efforts, some in the crowd left disappointed, but still steadfast in their support of him.
Parrish said she was participating in the convention solely because of Sanders. She believes Sanders has sounded defeated since he initially endorsed Clinton in early July.
“Even if we push at the local level,” she said, “all of these issues we’re trying to continue with our revolution, if the democratic process isn’t protected, there’s no guarantee.”