Elections

Update: Idaho Democrats cast their votes for Sanders at national convention

Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supports at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Monday.
Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supports at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Monday. AP

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who met with his delegates privately at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Monday, told his supporters that the Democratic Party “needs Clinton to defeat Trump.”

This was met with resistance as delegates cried out “no!” and “we want Bernie!”

Later Monday, on the floor of the convention, Sanders’ supporters were asked to be respectful after chanting and booing during opening speeches.

“I thought that was tasteless,” Idaho Clinton delegate Caitlin Lister said of the Sanders supporters.

After Sanders’ campaign sent out a text message asking delegates to stop, said Lister, the crowd was much calmer.

“Some people feel there is a little bit of selling out, but I don’t think that’s it.” Lister said. “I think it’s seeing the big picture.”

Tears streamed down the face of Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln, a Sanders delegate from Caldwell, as Sanders took the stage Monday night.

This has started out as a coronation ceremony for Secretary Clinton. It’s difficult to process and accept.

Idaho Sanders delegate Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln

But she said it’s time for her and other Sanders delegates to look at the big picture. She called Sanders’ revolution a “distance race.”

“Bernie started (the revolution) and passed much of the baton in the most progressive platform onto Secretary Clinton,” she said. “If those that truly support Sen. Sanders’ vision ... want to see that platform come to fruition, it will take party engagement.”

Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Bert Marley is a Sanders-pledged superdelegate, but said he realizes that politics is about compromise.

“The conventions are always about showcasing the nominee,” Marley said, “and despite some of the conversations, Hillary is the nominee.”

UNDECLARED SUPERDELEGATE IS WITH HER

During Tuesday’s roll call in which Clinton becoming the first woman presidential nominee on a major party ticket, Idaho voted 20 delegates for Bernie Sanders and seven for Clinton. Idaho’s four superdelegates were split; Idaho Democratic Party Vice Chair Van Beechler voted for Clinton after being undeclared since the beginning of her term.

“It’s been hard,” said Beechler of Caldwell. “It’s really hard when you like both candidates.” 

Beechler said the decision came down to what was best for Idaho locally versus nationally. She chose the latter. 

The announcement that Clinton had won the nomination prompted hundreds of Sanders delegates to walk out of the arena, chanting through the hallways and gathering at a nearby media pavilion. 

“We’re disappointed but not surprised,” said Marley, a Sanders supporter. “We knew how this would turn out.”

Some Idaho Sanders delegates participated in the initial walk-out, leaving the Wells Fargo Center where Bill Clinton was set to take the stage. Some continued on to join protesters at the nearby Franklin D. Roosevelt Park.

The final count was 2,838 delegates for Clinton and 1,843 for Sanders. Fifty-five delegates were counted absent.

Jennifer Kerrigan is a student journalist at Temple University: jennifer.kerrigan@temple.edu

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