Sanders: ‘Political Revolution’ Will Continue

Vermont senator seeks to rally supporters around Clinton amid protest

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders / AP
July 25, 2016

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) capped the first night of the Democratic National Convention by cheering the "political revolution" spurred by his presidential campaign before expressing his support for Hillary Clinton.

"Together, my friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform America, and that revolution—our revolution—continues," Sanders told the crowd in Philadelphia. "Election days come and go, but the struggle of the people to create a government that represents all of us and not just the one percent … that struggle continues."

"It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues, that is what this campaign has been about," Sanders said later. "But I am happy to tell you that, at the Democratic platform committee, there was a significant coming together of the two campaigns and we produced the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party."

Earlier in the evening, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) tore into Trump, accusing him of taking advantage of the "rigged system" of the U.S. economy and "fanning the flames of fear and hatred" to win votes. Warren, who was occasionally heckled, offered a full-throated defense of Clinton’s candidacy at the end of her remarks, insisting that Clinton will "fight to hold big banks accountable" and enact campaign finance reform.

Michelle Obama delivered a primetime address, making the case for Hillary Clinton from a mother’s perspective and decrying Donald Trump and his message without mentioning him by name. Obama emphasized Clinton’s trustworthiness, a quality that the former secretary of state has struggled to prove to voters that she possesses.

"In this election and every election, it is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility."

"I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters … playing with their dogs on the White House lawn," Obama later said. "And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States."

The entire first day of the Democratic National Convention was marred by controversy produced by leaked emails showing DNC officials favoring Hillary Clinton during the 2016 primary election. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday that she would resign from her post at the conclusion of the convention after WikiLeaks published thousands of emails online.

In some of the messages, Wasserman Schultz referred to Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver a "damn liar" and an "ASS." Another high-level staffer said that Sanders’ religious beliefs could be used against him.

Sanders supporters were seen protesting in Philadelphia on Sunday and Monday, some joining in chants of "lock her up" in demonstrations against Hillary Clinton. Similar chants were also on display at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland the week prior. Some in the arena Monday night were heard booing when speakers mentioned Clinton by name.

Donna Brazile, who will serve as interim chair of the party through the election, and other party leaders issued a statement apologizing for the emails Monday afternoon.

"On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," the DNC officials stated. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."

"Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again," they continued.

Sanders sent text messages to his delegate supporters ahead of Monday night’s speeches urging them not to protest on the convention floor.

Wasserman Schultz, who represents Florida in Congress, briefly addressed her state’s delegation at a breakfast Monday morning but was booed off the stage by protesters. Wasserman Schultz did not gavel in the convention Monday afternoon.

The first night of the convention also featured appearances by politicians and several celebrities, including singer Demi Lovato, actress Eva Longoria, musician Paul Simon, and comedian Sarah Silverman, a Sanders supporter. Silverman’s speech expressing support for Clinton was met with cheers of "Bernie! Bernie!" leading her to chastise the crowd.

"Unity! Unity!" Silverman shouted. "To the ‘Bernie or bust’ people, you’re being ridiculous."

The theme of the night was disjointed, with speakers focusing on various topics including immigration, drug addiction, gay rights, campaign finance reform, and the economy. Several focused their remarks on criticisms of Trump.

The roll call vote to formally declare Clinton the nominee will begin Tuesday.