Sanders cheered the resignation in his speech, saying it “opens up the possibility of new leadership at the top of the Democratic Party.” But the resignation won’t be enough to convince his supporters that everything has been set right.
Now, Bernie delegates are actively discussing the possibility of revolt. On Monday morning, Norman Solomon of the Bernie Delegates Network told reporters “the exact configurations of the protests are unclear, but it’s evident that a substantial majority of the polled survey delegates ... want to participate in protests on the floor.” His group is talking to Sanders delegates to see what they want to do at the convention.
Of course, protests may not come to pass. Insurrection could also be put down quickly. Whatever happens, it is unclear how much sway Bernie Sanders himself will have over the outcome. During his speech, the senator did not give explicit instructions to delegates as to how they should behave, beyond urging them to support Clinton as a way to defeat Trump.
“Bernie didn’t say no protest,” said Jose Caballero, identifying himself as a Sanders delegate from California. But even if Bernie did tell his supporters not to protest, that might not matter much. “If Bernie came out and said no protest, I don’t think it would make a difference. People are going to protest, regardless,” Caballero added. His justification: “A Bernie delegate is a person who was elected by the people that support Bernie’s values. We’re here representing them. … People that are at home, they’re booing, they’re angry, they’re upset. They don’t want us to stop.”
It was never going to be easy to convince the most ardent of Sanders supporters to support Clinton as the party’s presidential nominee. But the DNC email leak may have made the task of achieving party unity far more difficult.
“Now that all these emails have come out, confirming that the party was colluding with the Hillary Clinton campaign, it throws another wrench in it, and makes it a little bit more sour,” said Amanda McIllmurray, who said she was with the Pennsylvania delegation. She added: “There’s been talk about protests both during Tim Kaine’s acceptance speech, and Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech. I adamantly support people speaking out, using their First Amendment right, and expressing their discontent.”
Sanders may have already endorsed Clinton for the presidential nomination, but his followers haven't necessarily embraced his spirit of support for his opponent. “I didn’t think he was [going to],” Caballero said, reflecting on what Sanders had to say on Monday and his call to elect Clinton. “I don’t think a lot of people were [thinking] that he would say something like that.” Caballero added that he’s “heard about a possible sit-in” as one form of potential protest.
Some delegates felt crushed. “I’m so disappointed,” said Katharine Hadow, identifying herself as an Indiana delegate. “I don’t like being asked to support Hillary.” But, she added, what Bernie has to say certainly matters: “Of course it does, because I wouldn’t have worked so hard for him if I didn’t trust his judgement.”