Understanding the Bernie Delegate Walk Out, a bit from my discussion with Bernie Delegate Justin Baird

Check back soon (shooting for tomorrow) for my full article about my experience at the Democratic National Convention.

 

SLOOVER: Were you part of the walk-out?

JUSTIN BAIRD, BERNIE DELEGATE:

I was. I had it on Periscope. It got picked up by NBC News. I had been a voice of calm and generally asked people to pick their battles and make sure that [they] don’t scream into an empty room. Mindful that what conventions are, are a four day commercial. And they’re designed by the parties to show you that we’re going to unify the country and we’re going to show you how we’re going to do that, by showing you that we’re unified. So what they really, really want is unity. So I asked people, keep that in mind. Now, it’s obvious that we’ve got people in the movement who are saying, “Hey, We were never Dems to begin with. We came into this because of Bernie.” And we’re hoping we can retain them. Because that’s the problem with progressives. Republicans fall in line, and Democrats fall in love and they get heartbroken and they leave. Now, while they’re gone, the rules of the poker game and the potluck are made by the people who stayed behind. And you come back later, you didn’t have any effect on those rules, so you’re playing by their rules again. If you stay, like I’m doing, you’re stinking up the room with your presence all the time. You and that old lady in the room are going to be the ones barking at people and they’re going to have to deal with you. You know? Cause that’s democracy.

So I can tell you my overall opinion is that… [Clinton’s] campaign and the DNC to me are in fact intertwined… and that shouldn’t be the case. So when I say “the party” I kinda mean both. When you look at the Bernie people in the spectrum of “of course I’m gonna be blue”, to the “she needs to sell herself to me. I’ve learned too much.” There was an opportunity there that I think was missed. And that has to do with how you present this theater. Also I think what it demonstrated to the American public, who already knows you’re not on the same page. How do you convince Republicans unhappy with Trump that they should vote for this? Because they already know they’re different. We could start off by acknowledging that difference.

So what we had on night one was a very carefully orchestrated evening of “Let’s honor Senator Sanders.” But let’s have every conversation end with, “we have this other person as president”, which isn’t honoring this candidate. Now, we get the reality. And the reality is, [Clinton is] gonna be the nominee. That’s great but let’s kinda pretend that there’s actually a process called a vote that’s gonna happen Tuesday morning. So how about day 1, and even the weeks before that, when you’re saying “I AM the presumed nominee” how about that first evening, you kinda pretend for a second that you have two candidates, Ok? You have pro-[Clinton] people and pro-Bernie people. So we did have some pro Bernie people, and they throw them a bone, but they picked people who would say, “And then I will be with [Clinton]!”

That didn’t resonate well. Why did we spend thousands of dollars to come here for you to tell us it’s a foregone conclusion? We may be foolish for thinking there’s any chance. I believe if they had been more accommodating at honoring both candidates… and they’d been sort of doing it, but at the same time being openly hostile on the floor between the camps… all that does is aggravate every wing of the Bernie movement, especially the ones who said “Well maybe there was a chance I would stay in this fight, but everyone here is treating me so poorly, so screw that.” So then floor shouts started to happen. They got tired of having the Bernie night be a commercial for someone else.

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