Op-Ed: Bernie or bust? His supporters are shouting through the convention

"Feel the Bern" lights up the back of a delegates jacket on the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

They booed for hours on the floor of the Democratic convention Monday night: Bernie Sanders supporters unreconciled to the fact that he lost the nomination, fair and square.

They booed nearly every time Hillary Clinton’s name was mentioned – which, at a convention whose main purpose is Clinton’s nomination, was often.

They booed so much that, by halfway through the evening, they began to grow hoarse.

“Booooo,” shouted Shawnee Badger, 22, an aspiring actress from Santa Clarita. (“That’s my real name,” she assured me.)


“Booooo,” howled Ben Becker, 32, a consumer advocate from San Francisco, who sat behind her in the California delegation.

I hiked across the convention floor to find out what the “Bernie or Bust” delegates wanted. Some talked of walking out of the convention in protest, or trying to nominate an alternative to Sen. Tim Kaine as Clinton’s running mate. Some wanted a deeper apology from Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for openly favoring Clinton during the primary campaign. (Deeper than the resignation Wasserman Schultz turned in after her aides’ snarky emails surfaced.)

But none of that was enough for Badger or Becker, or many of the other Sanders delegates who ignored their candidate’s own plea that they stop booing.

What do you want the party to do? I asked.

“Choose a different nominee,” Becker snapped.

Almost two months after Clinton clinched the nomination, Sanders’ most fervent supporters still can’t get over it. They’re stuck at anger; they haven’t even reached bargaining, let along acceptance.

Their sense of grievance is understandable. So is their hurt.

But if they want to do the hard work of creating the political revolution Sanders has called for, their permanently hard feelings are going to get in the way.


The most memorable line of the convention’s first hours was delivered by comedian Sarah Silverman, who began the year as a Sanders supporter but came around – with obvious reluctance – to supporting Clinton once she became the nominee.

“To the Bernie-or-bust people?” Silverman ad-libbed among a hail of boos. “You’re being ridiculous.”

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