Bernie or Busters threaten protests amid Clinton formal acceptance speech

Bernie delegates from California prepping for a final protest against Hillary Clinton at the DNC. Photo by Sara Ritsch.

By Morgan Allen
Journalism Intern

After multiple calls for unity in the Democratic Party, even those from Bernie Sanders himself, “Bernie or Buster” supporters have decided to stage a second walkout during the last moments of the Democratic National Convention. Previously, pockets of Bernie supporters had walked out of the convention following the formal nominating roll call on Tuesday July 26. Multiple sources have confirmed that the group is still planning to protest when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton takes the stage Thursday night.

Many “Bernie or Busters,” specifically delegates from California, where the roll call results yielded 330 delegate votes for Clinton versus 221 for Sanders, claim that the nominating process was rigged. These protesters cite the leaked e-mails as proof of the bias toward Clinton. Delegates from California, Washington and Missouri all have members pledging to walk out when the former Secretary of State takes the stage.

The convention is attempting to block these protests by issuing a lockdown, meaning no one in the convention hall will be able to leave their spot an hour before or during Clinton’s speech. In response, protesters are threatening to stand up and literally “turn their backs” on Hillary Clinton. They disagree with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which they believe Hillary backs wholeheartedly. In a visual act of protest, many “Bernie or Busters” have changed their “Hillary” signs to read “LIAR” in time for the speech.

Bernie himself is not in support of the walkouts and protests, calling on Twitter and in the convention hall, for all Democrats to come together and support the Democratic nominee.

“It’s easy to boo,” he repeated over a rowdy crowd on Tuesday. “But it is harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under a Donald Trump presidency.”

Recent polls show that 90% of Bernie supporters plan to back Clinton come November. 41 out of 50 states gave Clinton the majority of their delegate votes. When Trump turns out the Nixonian phrase “the silent majority,” "Bernie or Busters" are beginning to live the reality of a “vocal minority.”

Other speakers at the convention, including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have also voiced their frustrations at those who choose not to vote for a non-Bernie Democratic candidate.

“We all need to get out and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, and then hold them accountable until they get the job done.” Obama said, pleading for Democrats to vote and vote Blue.

Third Party candidates like Jill Stein are also swirling the convention, swaying the 10% who refuse to vote for Hillary, though it is statistically impossible for a third party candidate to win a major election. Many Democrats, Obama, Sanders and Clinton among them, fear that a party divide will hand the presidential spot to Donald Trump.

It is overwhelmingly clear that no amount of protests will change the fact that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for the 2016 election, but perhaps a change is not what "Bernie or Busters" are after. What is unclear is the true intention of this small sect of the Democratic Party. With Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both voting Hillary, it seems strange that this 10% will not follow their leaders.

"Bernie or Busters" do not want Donald Trump as President, but they are threatening themselves with that outcome by deciding not to vote.