‘Bernie or Bust’? Sanders Supporters Consider Next Steps

No Way in Hell (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania — Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are wondering what to do next, now that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party’s official presidential nominee — and that Bernie has endorsed her.

Some are refusing to believe it. Some have resigned themselves to voting for Clinton. Some prefer a third-party candidate, like Jill Stein of the Green Party or Gov. Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. And some may even vote for Donald Trump.

What none of them is prepared to do — at least, not yet, is blame Bernie.

“I was disappointed, but not surprised” that he endorsed Clinton, said Kerri Cox of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who came Wednesday to Independence Mall in downtown Philadelphia to demonstrate for Sanders.

“Bernie is a man of his word,” she said. “But the revolution’s gonna march on.” And she added, in words repeated by many other Sanders fans: “Bernie always told us: this is not about me, this is about you.”

High 5 for Bernie (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)

Christian Smith of New Bedford, standing nearby, agreed — and said he had not yet decided how to vote in November.

“A lot of us used to be Democrats,” he told Breitbart News. “Now we’re not … The Democrats are not informed people. They are not paying attention. They are 100% drinking the Kool-Aid. They are not reading or watching anything beyond MSNBC.”

The election, he said, came down to “warmonger A versus warmonger B.” He said he would wait until Election Day to decide.

The night before, inside the Wells Fargo Center, Breitbart News spoke with several Sanders delegates who were likewise considering their options — but vowing that what began with Bernie would continue. And “revolution” was their refrain.

Jeremy Likers, 30, of Cornelius, Oregon,  explained that when delegates booed Sanders’s call to unite behind Clinton, they weren’t booing the man, or his ideas. “We are proud of Bernie. We understand. He was trying to do what’s best for us … We are going to fight for the issues he fought for. This revolution we’ve formed is not going away.”

Fellow Oregon delegate Abby Collins, 45, of Portland, agreed. “It wasn’t about him, it was about a movement.” And fellow Sanders delegate John Knight chimed in: “We are pursuing meaningful change to advance the massive, progressive, intersectional, feminist revolution.”

Outside the convention, in the streets of the city, protests raged for a second night, as Sanders supporters were joined by Black Lives Matter and other groups. Graham Massell, 23, of Atlanta, carrying a “Bernie or Bust” sign, explained to Breitbart News that he refused to believe Sanders really supported Clinton, and that he expected Sanders to change his mind “tomorrow, or later this week. At least I hope that he would.”

Bernie or Bust (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)

But if Sanders does not, Massell says, he will happily support Jill Stein. (He had begun handing out Stein’s platform, including a call to “Protect Mother Earth.”) And some fellow protesters, he said, would support Trump — “because he’s not the establishment, and he’s not for TPP [the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal].”

Amanda Gonzalez, 28, who commuted to the protests from nearby Lancaster, refused to believe that Sanders’s support for Clinton was anything other than a political ploy. “I don’t believe it’s genuine,” she said, sporting a “NO WAY IN HELL #NeverHillary” button, featuring a Hillary Clinton campaign logo with the arrow pointing downward instead of rightward.

Gonzalez was so committed to Sanders that when she missed her late-night train at 30th Street station, she decided to spend the night in the station and wake up at 5 a.m. the next day to head back out into the streets of Philadelphia to protest again.

On Wednesday afternoon, outside the Municipal Services Building, several hundred protesters gathered in the sweltering heat to protest against the Democratic convention. One told the crowd to reject Clinton and continue their activism. “What matters is that we beat Trump. We crush Trump. But that we do so through the revolution!”

Jill not Hill (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)

Several Sanders delegates, wearing their convention credentials, urged the protesters to continue. One said: “The stronger you are out here, the stronger we are inside!”

As for what happens when there is no more “inside” — when the convention is over — the next step remains an open question.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.