A Bernie Sanders Delegate Tells a Very Different Story About the DNC to the one We’ve Been Fed

There's another side to the story...

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 25: Tape covering the mouth of a delegate from Michigan reads "Silenced By DNC" on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The following story was written by Bernie Sanders Colorado Delegate, Mark Lasser, who attended and participated in the four-day Democratic National Convention and lives to tell a very different story to the one of “unity” that we’ve been predominately fed by the Democratic Party and mass media at large.

“Freedom of speech is the right to yell theater in a crowded fire” – Abbie Hoffman

When I was in high school, as one of my co-curricular activities, I participated in theater. I was never cast in a starring role but had enough acting chops to land bit parts and ensemble roles. And while I have always liked theater, I hadn’t participated in any productions since then until July 2016 when, once again, I found myself in an ensemble role. This time with a disagreeable producer and director. The role was that of a delegate for Bernie Sanders in the four-day-commercial, otherwise known as the Democratic National Convention (DNC). The setting: Philadelphia, PA. The last week of July 2016. Temperatures are in the upper 90s and even hit 100 degrees with humidity that makes the city feel and smell like a homeless man’s personal sauna. The convention takes place in several locations and isn’t just what you see on the tube. Things get started early, around seven or eight in the morning with a sponsored $40 hotel delegate breakfast of powdered eggs, limp half-cooked bacon, stale coffee, and scolding’s from party insiders about how the Bernie delegates need to behave themselves, respect Hillary and her surrogates, “or else…” They never explicitly tell us what “or else” means, but we’ve been told, unofficially, that any signs, banners, or overt dissension will be reason for credentials to be revoked and a boot from the convention. So much for democracy and free speech… But for the time being, we don’t really give a crap; we’re optimistic that the 45% of Sanders pledged delegates are large enough in number that they can’t really kick all of us out.

This breakfast scolding is also where delegates get their daily credentials, which theoretically arrive by an armored vehicle — although no one actually sees this. Then delegates can either attend a day of programming at the nearby Convention Center on trade, veteran’s affairs, disability councils, or attend forums on improving race relations in the U.S. Most of the Clinton delegates that we have met use this time to go sightseeing with their spouses and children in-tow.

By two or three in the afternoon, people start looking for ways to get to the Wells Fargo Arena where the televised portion of the convention takes place. Theoretically, there are buses taking people the seven miles across town to the arena, but no one seems to know where they are located — especially not the myriad of people wearing the “Ask Me” T-shirts milling about the convention center. Most days I opt for the subway — which is free if one flashes one’s credentials to the booth attendant. After a mile or so walk, passing through multiple security screening areas, including one manned by the Secret Service, we arrive sweat-soaked to the home of the 76ers. Among the banned items are selfie sticks, mace, backpacks, and any signs or banners. And while I understand why they aren’t allowing in guns, knives, and the selfie sticks (annoying when hundreds of people use them simultaneously), the other items would have actually been useful — and yes, that includes the mace. And call it a pet peeve, but why is a backpack a security problem, while a messenger bag is not? Does that extra strap really have a lot of utility for a potential terrorist? This part of the convention with a little bit of business (passing of the rules and the approval of the platform) mostly comprise of speeches which start at around 4pm and go until 11:30pm. Then there are parties for those who still have some gas in the tank before starting all over again the next day.

So, theoretically, the convention is an event where elected delegates from around the country, along with the now over-discussed super delegates, convene to determine the party’s nominee for President. But in actually, this is a machined, hyper-controlled, psycho-manipulated, theoretical production, orchestrated not only to cover up any blemishes the party may have or to put its best face forward, but also to tell a story that all the players, including the media, have incentive to agree to.

This show takes place in four acts and regardless of how distending actors may want to alter the narrative, the show will likely prevail in the producer’s intended course through all four and until the curtains close. The order of the show is: Act I, Messy display. Act II, An even messier display and a “roll call.” Act III, Reconciliation. Act IV, Unity. On the first day, we are informed that the presumed Chair of the Convention, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the frizzy-haired Floridian woman with the New York accent who has been not only shilling but actively manipulating primaries and the media on behalf of Clinton for months has finally been exposed in a Wiki Leaks scandal and will not be gaveling the convention. (But this doesn’t stop her from appearing at the Florida delegation’s breakfast where she almost causes a riot before anything even gets underway.) The second choice of the party to run the show, Donna Brazile, is also nixed because she too has been so brazenly polarizing towards Hillary Clinton that the Clinton campaign has concerns that with her as director, we may never get to Act III. So, what to do? The party comes up with a Congressman who is black, female, and who no one — not even those politically obsessed, of which most of us count ourselves — has ever heard. Congresswoman Fudge? Uh, Okay.

To even get to this point, most of us in the Sanders delegation had to run for our positions, starting with primaries and caucuses, and then had to raise funds for the flight, food, and the hotels that have a “negotiated” rate of $400 to $750 per night with a 5 night minimum. Yes, not a typo. These are the same folks (the Democrats) that negotiate $1000 hammers and U.S. drug prices. Let me elaborate. When the convention comes into town it takes over all the hotel rooms in the area. It’s not just the 5,000 delegates who need to be housed. But also every Democrat official and aspiring politician who arrives hoping to rub elbows and become the next high-priced lobbyist. And, of course, any protesters that can get into a hotel. So in addition to the 20,000 people in the Wells Fargo Arena, there are an estimated 30,000 more in town hoping to get into the big show, or at the least, working to meet people who could advance their careers. With this much influence one would think the Democrats could pit one potential convention city against another and negotiate favorable rates. In business terms, when it comes to the DNC, the Democrats are market makers and should be dictating the price as a condition of bringing the convention (business) to town. They don’t.

Here in Colorado — and to my knowledge this was similar in most states — the Sanders delegates are mostly working and middle class regular people who had to take a week off work, hit up friends and family for funds, and frequently launch GoFundMe pages to come up with the cash to “participate” in the democratic process. These delegates, while not naïve as to how icky politics can be, at least hoped to be included in the process of influencing the rules and platform and felt that with 45% of the pledged votes, would have their day to speak to the assembly through their own progressive firebrands such as Nina Turner, Cornell West, Bill McKibben, Susan Sarandon, etc. They believed this because, if for no other reason, they felt that the Clinton campaign leadership and the nominee herself not only wanted but needed the votes of the Sanders delegates. They also thought that the Clinton camp would need to appeal to the Bernie supporters at home who had elected the delegates in the first place. But this was not to be.

The Clinton delegates, on the other hand, often fit the mold of those with some level of political status. Again, here in Colorado, they comprised of party insiders, former party officials and those of the donor classes. Many of these establishment Dems make attending the DNC an every four-year family vacation. They see this as a week of political nirvana. They love it so much that for them, attending this political bacchanalian event is only exceeded by paying similar amounts for primo seats at Hamilton on Broadway or attending six figure fundraisers at the home of George Clooney or at any respective Governor’s mansion.

On the floor, one could generally identify the different camps by the wardrobe that had been adopted. The sharp suit and silk tie? Probably Clinton. The glitter-bombed, tutu-adorned man with the plastic marijuana leaf necklace? Probably Sanders. Smartly dressed woman from Georgia who looked like a red, white and blue accident had run over her? I’d guess Clinton. The three women who took sharpies to their arms and faces to write protests against the TPP and war? Yes, those are Bernie people.

Act I lives up to its expectations. Lots of booing at Hillary’s name. Sanders delegates sneak in some signs of protest against the TPP and fracking, and are mildly tolerated. While this is considered Bernie’s day, the producers and director of the show understand that in order to get to Act IV, they need to allow the masses to let off some steam. In fact, they plan for this, understanding that no one can boo and cheer at full bore for four days, and like Ali playing rope-a-dope, it’s smart to just let the “trouble makers” expend their energy early.

The most off-script moment comes when the otherwise respected Sarah Silverman ad libs and tells the approximately 1,800 Sanders delegates that if they don’t support Clinton they are being “ridiculous”. I watched this moment on TV when I got home and it sounded like the crowd was then shouting “Hillary, Hillary”. But from the floor, where I was during her speech, there was a roar of outrage. Seriously, who responds with being called ridiculous with a cheer of support? Silverman looked somewhat pained after her comment. Maybe she realized in that moment that she had crossed over the line from being that edgy alternative voice to becoming a part of the establishment script?

Image source: cctv-america.com
Image source: rollingstone.com

Finally, Bernie speaks. But is he the vitriolic man who has led the political revolution for the last year? Is he the progressive in the neo-liberal fortress that the Democrats have become? He seems to be so fully behind Clinton at this moment that the Sanders delegates are confused, crushed, and some even crying. I don’t think these were tears of frustration or the emotion of losing a race — although they may have been to some. For many, it felt like betrayal. Bernie was the voice of genuineness and the antithesis to the crappy political system that we had all been told that we had no choice but to accept. Everyone has their own explanation for why this endorsement occurred. I’ll give my thoughts at the end.

In the meantime, many of the Clinton delegates and guests walk out before he even starts. Are they getting a head start on the evening’s galas? Or do they simply not care a lick about the man who brought so much energy and new voters to the party? Who knows. But their dismissal is a massive first affront and sets a tone of disrespect for the next three days. The media stays consistent with the manufactured narrative and runs with the story of there being acceptable levels of discord and dissent. Anderson Cooper — rather hysterically — breaks away from a protest story that afternoon so that they can show the Boyz II Men performance.

Act II commences the next morning where the actual voting takes place. That’s right, the roll call vote that you see on TV where Connecticut claims to have invented pizza and hamburgers (Really? Not Italy and Germany?) is just for show. The actual voting took place during the morning scolding.

Here in Colorado, we had two Sanders delegates of whom most of us already knew were really Clinton surrogates with eyes on jobs as future political operatives or lobbyists. Both of these delegates came up with stomach aches the morning of the vote. Remember, this is actually the single most important reason they took the trip. Both were roused out of bed by other Sanders delegates. And while they did their best impressions at being wallflowers in the room while everyone else voted, they were eventually pushed to the ballot where they unenthusiastically signed their name to vote for Sanders. Understand, as pledged delegates representing thousands of people in their home state, they had an obligation to cast this vote.

During this second Act, things do in fact get messier. Clinton delegates start yelling at us to go home. Tell us we are losers and idiots for not supporting Clinton. Hundreds of Sanders volunteers who traveled on their own dime to be at the convention are denied credentials. And those lucky enough to penetrate past the Clinton security goons and get a credential are not awarded the floor passes that they were promised, but instead get guest credentials allowing them access only to the rafters where they are of little use as volunteers to the Sanders delegates. There is also now an increase in violent interactions on the concourse, in the bathrooms, and around the floor. (This is where the mace might have been helpful.) Sanders delegates from all over the country start sharing stories of being assaulted by both Clinton delegates as well as by the yellow vested volunteers who are actually Clinton campaign thugs with a mandate to provoke Sanders delegates so they can ultimately be removed from the arena.

Towards the end of the day, Sanders delegates, led by those from Washington state and California, walk out in protest and occupy the media tent just outside the arena. This is an attempt to get some recognition for the issues that 45% of the delegates came to represent and which were being ignored from the stage. In fact, the person expected to introduce Bernie, Senator Nina Turner — who failed to endorse Clinton — was not only denied the stage, but was also evicted from the convention for reasons that have still not been explained… So did the walkout get covered on TV? Unless you were getting your coverage from “The Young Turks” on YouTube, you probably had no idea it occurred.

Image source: breitbart.com

Act III starts with the real exhaustion setting in. Delegates are getting very little sleep. Old people like me are clocking in four hours and the younger ones are getting only one or two. This is often because they are blogging back to their supporters who elected them or are getting up earlier than most since they are four or five people to a room and are showering off the Philly heat and cheese steak sweat from the day and night before–and it takes some time. I think the theme for this day — yes, every day has a theme — is “Stronger Together”, but it feels more like a contest of the yellow vested thugs to start filtering out the folks who are not fully on script. Verbal and physical attacks seem to be ramping up. At one point my delegation is waving signs that say, “Peace Not War”, “no Oligarchy” “No TPP” and “No Fracking.” A suited guy comes over to us, explains that he is a Sanders supporter and a Congressman from Wisconsin and that the Sanders campaign wants us to stop waving these signs. The one he says is really a step too far is the “No Oligarchy” sign. Seriously? That’s the one they find offensive? Some delegates collect the signs and, without proof of the origination of the request, willingly hand them over. Some refuse.

The yellow vests are now congregating around the aisles. Anytime a Sanders delegate goes up to wait in the 90-minute-long long for what is truly the worst arena food in America or to go pee, the Clinton organizers try to place a hired seat occupier in the seat. These are not temporary seat fillers like you hear about at the Oscars, these are people being told to not get up once they take over the seat, even for a credentialed delegate. So when you were watching at home and it seemed like slowly but surely the crowd was becoming more supportive of the established Clinton storyline, this is due to a forced manipulation. It is visually true but not because people are reconciling, but because the crowd is being forcibly transformed.

Perhaps the most surreal point of the night is when a military leader speaks to how much butt we’re going to kick once Hillary is elected, the Sanders delegates start the chant, “Peace, Not War”, and the rest of the arena drowns this out with chants of “U.S.A.” The DNC is now starting to feel like what most of us would associate with a GOP convention. It’s not that we also don’t like to chant “U.S.A” at things like Olympic events or at the World Cup, but using it in a combative manner is something many of us don’t affiliate with the Democrats.

Act IV is actually kind of boring. At this point people are exhausted. Many of the Sanders delegates that came to Philadelphia to raise differing points of view or awareness of progressive programs have been booted from the arena, are willingly not showing up because they don’t want to suffer the abuses, have thrown their credentials at the feet of their delegation chair’s in disgust, are so deflated, they’ve resorted to Facebook for any updates on alternative coverage, or are fending off attacks and accusations of being Trump supporters, morons, Don Quixotes, or worse. The energy is so sluggish it feels like the entire day is in slo-mo. The only sign of remaining disunity is the more than 100 people wearing fluorescent green T-shirts that say, “Enough is enough,” a favored Sanders quote. (In actuality, nearly 800 people ordered the shirts, and while I can’t be certain exactly how many were part of the fluoro protest on the day, it was at least 100.) The shirts literally glow whenever the lights are darkened in the arena and the black lights become the sole source of illumination.

As far as was apparent, only ABC News even noticed this passive protest. The other stations continued to focus on the narrative of unity, insisting that 90% of Sanders supporters were now aligned with Clinton. Is this really the truth or just a manipulated optical illusion that fulfilled the pre-scripted narrative paid for by massive corporate sponsors? You can probably guess what I think.

While I too suffered several abuses and indignities at the hands of the Clinton thugs and the DNC at large, I’ll share a specific incident. I happen to be a blind person. I carry a white cane to get around, and due to the noise, crowds, and time pressures of the convention, I had a sighted guide helping me throughout the week. As is typical of blind people, I am not 100% blind. I still have about 5% of my sight but cannot read printed materials, see the videos being played, or actually anything on the stage. That said, I pay a lot of attention to my surroundings and remember more than when I used to be able to see. I also watched the convention in its entirety when I got home, and, of course, received hundreds of notifications each day from social media. On the third day of the convention, the head of Colorado’s delegation, a Clinton super delegate, started to threaten my sighted assistant’s seat and told me that I may have to give up her seat and have her sit in the upper levels. This would, of course, entirely defeat the purpose of having a sighted guide. We held our ground. Towards the end of that third day, my cane slipped and fell to the floor. We were on the first level of inclined seats facing the stage and the cane happened to land on the floor in a way that it slid down about 8 rows in front of us. The delegation directly in front was from Louisiana, and several delegates helped locate the cane. When they realized it was recovered, they explained to the person holding it that I was blind and needed the cane. I am not sure exactly what happened next: one of the people a few rows in front of me said it was recovered by the Secret Service and another person said it was recovered by one of the yellow vested Clinton thugs. Whoever had my cane informed me that they would not give it back because I could use it as a weapon. Despite howls of protest from delegates from both camps, the cane was not going to be returned to me. I have to assume that the Secret Service is not this stupid and that it was probably one of the Clinton volunteers once again flexing their authority. But I had been taken beyond my tolerance point; I had a spare cane on me, and with it, stormed out of the arena and headed to the nearby park where the protests were being held. This move freaked out my guide as well as many in my delegation. I’m sorry for the extra stress I created for them, but I’m also so incredibly grateful for their support. At that point, I had no intention of returning for the last day, but was eventually convinced to attend the final chapter of the play.

Image source: romper.com

The last and most pressing question is: What happened that made Bernie decide to convincingly endorse Clinton? Some take him at his word that he simply thinks Trump is so incrementally horrifying that he had to get in bed with the filth of the party and humble himself to align with all that he had so diametrically opposed for months in his opposition to Clinton. Others think he had to do this to get Clinton to adopt a more progressive platform. Others think that he may have been physically threatened or that his wife or children may have been threatened with violence if he did not get on board.

I am generally not much of a conspiracy theorist but struggle to reconcile Bernie’s actions. I think he should have taken up the Green Party’s offer, run as a third party candidate, and maintained his integrity. Now Bernie will be viewed as part of the establishment and his believers will never know how much fortitude he really has. Will he stay the course in the future or will he again endorse other politicians who are hawkish, big bank and oil supported puppets? He did seem beaten down and his lack of visibility in the weeks before and after the convention confused supporters.

I can’t tell anyone which of these theories is the truth. What is evident though is that we are now faced with a choice between two candidates so universally disliked and even hated that many people will likely sit this election out, vote third party, or simply buy into the fear and vote against instead of for someone. This is a loss for most of the country and especially a loss of what many of us felt was a unique opportunity to finally rise above the fray and elevate politics.

Feature image source: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com


  1. Wow! Thank you Mark for giving such an on-point description of what happened at the DNC! It’s exactly what my impression was, you’ve captured it in its entirety.

  2. Excellent account of our week of commercialized hell, Mark! I just caught two errors—first, I’m certain Nita said there were 700-800 of our glowing green shirts at the convention during Act IV (in the article you stated 100). And secondly, several of us did NOT give up our signs during the standoff in Act III. Giselle and I had two signs that everyone was freaking out about long after many in our delegation did hand theirs over. On one side, the yellow-vested DNC thugs and Secret Service were insisting we turn in the “No Oligarchy” signs, and on the other side, the Hillary heads of the Colorado establishment were begging and then threatening us about the “Stronger Together” signs that we used sharpies to turn into “Stop Her.” We stood our ground, along with Sha-rena and Sarah, and refused to turn in either sign. Much to their fury, a lot of photos were take of us (the attached image made the cover of Slate), but they wouldn’t forcefully take them from us because as much as they didn’t want these images to get out from their Act III reconciliation themed day, they REALLY didn’t want even worse images of the secret service dragging us out of there while we screamed and chanted “All signs or no signs” or “This is a commercial, not a convention.”

    Anyway, thanks so much for writing this. You’re a bad ass and you just inspired me to finish my article, too.


    • Hi Kona

      I actually updated the article to knowledge that there were more than 100 shirts. I’m not sure how many could be seen on the last day but I do know we had a good concentration in Colorado. Also made a note that at night everybody give up their signs. Thanks for the input.


    • I’m so depressed by the reality of the DNC, our silly 2party system, and joke of a government. Bernie broke my heart by backing Hillary. But if she threatened his family, I could forgive him. She’s a scary force to reckoned with.

  3. Mark. Who were the two delegates that you referenced but did not name as having tried to avoid voting for Bernie in the morning.

    • I’m not sure I want to share those names. But if you poke around and talk to other people in Colorado, someone would probably share that with you.

  4. My experience was completely different. I was a Sanders delegate from North Carolina and have been an active Democrat most of my life. I was the earliest active Democrat in Charlotte to work for Sanders, and everyone in the state knew where my sympathies were. There are a few threads that seem common in all the disaffected stories by Sanders delegates I’ve read.
    A month before the Convention it was clear; we lost. If it wasn’t clear from reading vote totals, in the month leading up to the convention there was no effort by the Sanders campaign to put into place a whip program to tell us what they wanted. This is not the sign of an active campaign.
    If a delegate had never been active in Party politics – and many Sanders Delegates never were – why would you expect to go into a 150 year old organization, be vehement about telling them everything they were doing wrong and then be welcomed with open arms? The Party is a private organization that rewards volunteers that put in the work of registering voters, working for candidates and keeping the Party running. Yes, one of the rewards is going to the DNC – it is not a “vacation every four years” but it is a reward for being a part of the organization.
    I went to the DNC four days after knee surgery on crutches. Patsy Keever, State Executive Director and Julia Lee went out of their way to make sure I had an aisle seat. Seats on the floor were very tightly controlled – they were for Delegates only. We had exactly the number we needed, and not one more. Our State rep on the Platform Committee was firmly told to leave when he wanted a seat on the fourth day.
    I’m sure some Hillary delegates were rude – just as some Sanders delegates were. Almost every national convention in my life has been decided before the convention. The convention is not intended to go over issues that have been decided – it is an extended commercial for the general election.
    I wore a yellow shirt the last night – but when I was interviewed by Time.com, I was firm that we were Stronger Together and talk of disrupting the convention was divisive. Sanders ran hard, almost won – but in a two person race, almost won is lost.

    • Peter,

      Of course everybody had slightly different experiences. But I saw people with crutches who are elderly and people in wheelchairs abandoned on the concourses. I saw them waiting for hours in the hot sun for buses that would arrive and did not have wheelchair capabilities. I saw people in wheelchairs being lifted overhead and over seats in order to get them into their delegation and other people with mobility disabilities were never able to sit with her delegations at all. And the person in charge of all of this was promoted to be the disability director for the DNC when the convention ended. The convention staff also claimed to have braille programs for us which they did not. They claim to be providing audio description both for the blind delegates at the convention and for those blind people watching on TV. This too was a lie.

      And I don’t know how you could possibly justify the physical and verbal assaults. This was not the first convention I attended. And I never considered attending any of the conventions a reward. That is definitely a difference of you. I think both for me and my fellow delegates, we saw this as an opportunity to work, to participate And to represent the people at home who elected us.

      And if anything, the progressive ideals that we were promoting were not introducing new ideas to the party, they were reaffirming the old and established beliefs of the party. If anything, the pro war/pro oil/pro Wall Street positions of the party are new and not part of the heritage of the Democratic Party.

      I guess we will agree to disagree.


      • Mark, I have to agree with Peter. I was an elected Sanders delegate from the Ohio 15th, but did not make the cut for the convention. In Ohio, the Sanders delegates were elected by Sanders supporters at a caucus in January. Everybody at the caucus gave speeches about Sanders and progressive values. None of us made promises about what we would do to represent the Democrats in our District who supported Sanders if he lost. You talk about democracy, but I’m not convinced that all of the Democrats in my District who supported Sanders would have wanted me booing Clinton, walking out of the Convention in protest, participating in a sit in with tape across my mouth, etc. Bernie recognized months before the Convention that (“Listen, I can do the math”) that we was not going to be the nominee, but many of supporters just refused to believe it. Yes, there was the small chance that Clinton would be indicted, but other than that, she was going to be the nominee. He said at the outset he would support her if she won and he is man of his word. I don’t know why anybody would respects him for his integrity would have thought he would do otherwise. The these days of a televised Convention is to further the interests of the Democratic Party, which is to win elections for its supporters. Loser rarely get a chance to have a say in anything, and we lost. It was a testament to the power of Bernie Sanders that we were allowed to affect the platform and Clinton so much and that Bernie was allowed to speak. Usually losers stay in the locker room. I expected Clinton to dive back to Center after the Convention, but she is appearing at rallies, talking the Sanders platform and urging people to stay involved and to hold her feet to the fire once she is elected. That is a yuge victory for us and we should now follow Bernie’s lead and support Clinton. Many of my fellow Central Ohio Sanders progressives are abandoning him for Jill Stein. Protest votes are for losers. We are not going to see President Stein, which is why I say we should fear the prospect of President Trumpenstein, which is a possible result if progressives abandon Clinton in large numbers.

        • Well, we also are going to not agree. On the one hand, I don’t think Trump as a boogie man and I am equally afraid of him as I am of Clinton. I definitely take The side of Chris Hedges. If you have not seen his debate with Robert Raisch on the mocker C now, I highly recommend it. There’s a lot of reasons to vote third-party candidate that I will not going to hear. Maybe that will be the subject of another article. But I certainly don’t think their parties are for losers. As for the loser being shut out, you’re clearly not aware of the history of party conventions. This is not historically the norm. At the very least, you should look at 1968 and 1972 and 1976. You might also want to look at the Republican convention for 2016. Anyway. I’m not your history teacher. But I think you have some ideas that are not based on situations where there is factual evidence to the contrary.

    • I think the words “The Democratic National Convention WILL be a Contested Convention” does not mean that it’s a decided convention.

      Your entire third paragraph did nothing to sway me that what the DNC did was right. In fact it just backs up the establishment politics view of the entire situation. At the end of the day the DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL convention, should be a Nationwide Democracy, not an extended commercial for the general election.

    • so, 45% of the delegates get no voice in that situation? I’m not surprised to hear the vanilla, scripted version of events from a fellow North Carolinian, but I am disappointed. I talked to a lot of delegates that week and they were consistent with this report.

    • Thank you Peter Norris for your rational explanation of how our system works. There may be a lot to not like by the “purists” in America but you went in with a mature understanding. Lasser criticized everything from stale coffee to, and I quote: “The party comes up with a Congressman who is black, female, and who no one — not even those politically obsessed, of which most of us count ourselves — has ever heard. Congresswoman Fudge? Uh, Okay.” Why would that even be a problem or even care since Bernie diehards hate the DNC anyway. I am an Independent/Progressive and would have voted for Bernie, if he pulled it off. But let me be clear that he is no “saint”. He knew he was wrong way back when he made a deal to ship Vermont’s “nuclear waste”: http://www.thepeoplesview.net/main/2016/2/17/when-brown-lives-did-not-matter-to-bernie #VettingBernie: How Sanders Cleared Way to Dump Toxic Nuclear Waste on Poor Hispanics (and How They Fought Back).” But, of course, there are some white-privileged young people and angry old white-privileged people who don’t think that’s a big deal. My point is, he plays the game of politics like every other politician. I think he knew that HRC was going to be backed up big time and just jumped in to bring up valid issues. I just don’t think he knew it was going to go viral and it just went to his head. Let me share my post today to Thom Hartmann: @Thom Hartmann I agree with so many of your views and rational take on controversial social and political issues. It’s uplifting in a political arena that is filled with ignorance and decades of faux news and hateful brainwashing, especially in the last 50 years. I do not buy into the “lesser of the two evils” mantra. There is CLEARLY one real evil here and that is trump. HRC is not perfect but who is? And those who really believe she is “evil” are products of right-wing propaganda hate of which they are obviously willing participants. We should ALL have our personal or BUSINESS e-mails hacked into and people could see our true feelings on controversial issues that might be embarrassing. And the progressive “purists” have a lot to learn by asking the “magic mirror on the wall ‘Am I the purist of them all?’ Answer: NO!”

    • Peter Noris, how lovely for you that you are one of the DNC’s elite. You are so much more experienced than the average Bernie delegate and obviously have learned to do as you are told. Silly Bernie delegates went in there thinking we are all equal and that their views had some merit. I suspect that you were not truly and completely behind Bernie to begin with or you would not find it so easy to fall in line after the nomination was stolen from ‘your’ candidate. Your right, Bernie Sanders ran hard, but he didn’t “almost win,” he won the support of the majority of the voters. Between voter disenfranchisement, outright election fraud, and the fact that Hillary was the predetermined winner by the DNC before the race even began, it’s a miracle that he came so close. We all know who would have won an honest election, but hey, he was new to the DNC, and therefore had not paid his dues, so I guess it’s okay that so many of us had our votes stolen.

      • Oops, I forgot to thank you, Mark, for a great article. Amazing details, and I’ve heard similar stories from other delegates about the abuse from the DNC. How ironic that a blind man gave such a vivid accounting of the convention, while the MSM could see only what they were told to see.

    • Bullshit. Sanders “lost” this election due to fraud, suppression and corruption. And part of that includes turncoats like you infiltrating the sanders campaign.

      • Ironically, I think it was senator Franken Who wants Road the observation that the Republican Love their party and country the way a small child loves their mommy. No one can handle any criticism of their mommy without throwing a fit. While the Democrats, love their party in their country the way someone might love their very flawed brother or sister and except that there are problems which does not necessarily mitigate that love. Increasingly, I can observe that there are Democrats who now look at country and party the same way as the Republicans have historically. I personally do not see this as a good thing or move forward.

    • Sounds to me from the term, ‘Lost’ a month before the election’ that the convention isn’t what MOST people think a convention is…Why even have an election if you are going to cheat from the beginning to the end. Peter Noris sounds like he faked being a Bernie Delegate just to add to the problems that the entire process had…I have to wonder how many more ‘fakes’ are out there.

  5. First, Mark, I’m proud to have had you support us as a delegate. I am just as shocked and dismayed by your horrid treatment, as you were when it happened. This article is a real eye-opener for many, well done and thank you.
    Peter Noris, your commentary only underscores how badly the new delegates were actually treated. The fact that you received preferential treatment while every other Sanders delegates who were new did not, just again underscores how undemocratic the people participating in this convention were to new delegates, no wonder there’s not been growth. Indeed this institution is steeped in 150-year history, perhaps they should know that this is the first exposure many delegates had to our democratic process and they were excited to participate in making a change. Reading your comments makes me realize that this 150-year process tries to crush the idealism out of those people in the cruelest way possible. They learned the hard way that what they said, did or thought was of no import to even their own countrymen. At a time when good sportsmanship from the Clinton supporters would have made a huge difference, none was given. Especially after the revelation that the head of the DNC was actively sabotaging Sanders. Instead of being sympathetic, the Clintonians took the opportunity to push, shove, name call and steal seats & signs. Not a way for “winners” to act. It was like a third-grade playground…so far not impressed with this 150-year old institution. Your own condescension toward the other Sanders delegates just shows what they were up against, the need to recognized is being an old-timer, is self-importance at it’s worst. We’re not talking about an underdog candidate here, we’re talking about 45% of the Democratic voting base. The behavior that occurred not only disenfranchised those that were there, (with the possible exception of you and other lifers) but all who were watching and experiencing the event through their eyes of the new delegates on facebook and social media. In this day and age, it is truly tragic the DNC thought they could actually control the narrative through television alone with white-noise machines, confiscation of personal property, paid actors as seat fillers forcing out actual delegates– the days when you could get away with that juvenile behavior are gone, and so is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her like. We all experienced first hand, how our representatives were treated. We watched them cry and as they were snubbed, we felt snubbed along with them. The delegates I spoke with felt dejected, devalued and angered by the experience. And the sheer arrogance of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. She got caught red-handed breaking the DNC by-laws of impartiality, yet she is still acting the victim. What she doesn’t realize, is that she didn’t just mess up at a job, she actively went against what millions of people wanted, she broke the covenant with us when we gave the DNC over a millions of our hard-earned dollars to help support a candidate we cherished. She was mandated to aid for us, only to find out she had no intention of doing that, it was unsettling and horrifying to see such corruption and graft only then to see her rewarded by Clinton, herself. When the class action suit settles, she can still deny that she made any kind of error, but there are millions of us that won’t forget what she did. She broke a 150-year old party into pieces, that’s what she did.

    • It is very interesting that Hillary Clinton immediately had a plum assignment for Debbie Wasserman Schultz. To many people, that indicates that Debbie knows far too much to “go it alone” and only by keeping her very very close will Hillary perhaps manage to control any damaging revelations that Schultz might attempt to make. Of course, sooner or later, somebody is going to out how close Hillary herself was to much of the corruption and manipulation that went on in this election cycle.
      We who were involved in the Nov 2004 Stolen Election are quite aware of how Hillary Clinton had “her guy” James Carville sit on John Kerry both the night of the election and the following day. With Carville feeding Kerry false information, including persuading Senator Kerry to believe that there were not enough uncounted ballots in Ohio, so that Kerry would then fold. Remember that it was only activists and people in Ohio who were upset? Do you remember anyone from the DNC saying that the election results were a concern? No of course not – the DNC was already Clinton controlled at that point. When activists in Ohio insisted that the uncounted ballots be counted, it was not the DNC that got it done – it was Ralph Nader and David Cobb, both indies, who raised the $ 200,000 so that the ballots did get counted.
      Anyone who hated the last four years of George W Bush should remember that Hillary herself was involved in that election’s theft, all so she could assure herself of a way to run in 2008.

  6. Thank you for telling your story. I am an attorney and attended the convention outside the fences, and unequivocally agree that the party unity my wife was seeing on television was a myth.

  7. what an insightful account – thank you! First I’ve read of Shillary delegates pretending to be Bernie backers -with inopportune stomach aches (aww, and SO close to voting) – kudos to the CO delegation for forcing them out of their “sick”beds. There’s no low below which the Clinton machine won’t find a way to stoop! Seat fillers who won’t then relinquish the seats back to delegates? Only in Hillary’s America.

    Not giving a cane back to someone so visually-impaired? Absolutely outrageous! Your article was so well-written — leaving the blindness aspect out till the end while you described how awful (and awfully-expensive) this “exercise in democracy” was to anyone who didn’t endorse (with gusto!) Her Royal Heinous was a surprise twist – making the Clintonistas out for the inhumane neo-liberal fascists so many of them are!

  8. I traveled to Philly to be apart of the protest from the outside. Please contact me. I live in Denver and would like to meet w/ Bernie delegates about possible organizing.

    • Hi Andrew,
      Try sending me a message on Facebook. That might be the best way for you to find me and contact me.

      Thank you

  9. Great description. I served on the Platform Committee and did my best to fight an uphill battle. I ran as a delegate for Bernie , came in second in my congressional district ,but since the Democratic Party of Illinois decided that votes don’t count., I was bumped by two men. In my district it had to be man,woman, man. The two men who were delegates received fewer votes than I did. I did not fit the mold as diverse. I am a senior, a woman,and a doctor who had worked tirelessly for Bernie and for single payer. However, I was not good enough to be a delegate at large or an alternate. I came too the convention and got my pass to the nosebleed section on top of the arena. I couldn’t even sit in the mid section in line with the stage on the nosebleed section because this was for other people. I too could not find the buses. You could not take a cab since Uber had a deal with the DNC. I should have used the subway but my ancient hip was aching. After two horrible nights and a retooling of Love Story ad infinitum, Hillary and Bill and the way they were, I went to the Black Men for Bernie Party and had fun. I went home early on Thursday night since I had to work Friday and all weekend after my great adventure. The morning breakfasts and caucuses were adventures in tedium where every politician complicated every other politico. I had one time or other received money requesting calls from the various Congress people but they did not make any effort to find their donors.Just to let you know, no one at the Philadelphia airport watched the convention on the televisions. I know my flight was three and one half hour late. Politics is too convoluted ,dirty, and too fake for my sensibility. I will continue to work for issues and will work for ColoradoCare, but my convention experience was more like a Stephen King novel.

    • I’m still working on finding the superlative’s to describe the week. Glad you found a least a little bit of a good time there. And I definitely appreciate your support for Colorado cares as I am living in Denver. There are plenty of good fight out there still. I’m sure will see you on the front lines of many of them.

      Thank you

  10. As I read your article and the posted comments, I realized we need to prevent this from happening at the next convention. Any ideas /suggestions on how we could do that?

  11. Mark, good article, you nailed it. I walked out on day 2 and didn’t return. I just wanted to thank the Washington delegates who stood with me during the walk out. I am short and got lost in the crowd for a while. Also wanted to say thanks to the California folks who had the guts to put pressure on some of the Clinton delegates with their chants and signs. I was with Ohio and our lead person was a Clinton supporter who stood facing us all night just trying to find a reason to take issue with what we did. I was harrasssed by a 19 year old shouting in my face and pushing his sign at me. I am old enough to be his grandma. I have been a Democrat all my life…not anymore. This experience was disgusting.

  12. I was there too. As I was driving home listening to the news say how the convention had everyone united, and that 80% of Bernie supporters were going to vote for Clinton.. I was shocked. I called my daughter and offered her my retirement savings to move to a democracy.. ours is gone. This group has done an amazing job of documenting the massive fraud the DNC was responsible for. http://electionjustice.net/democracy-lost-a-report-on-the-fatally-flawed-2016-democratic-primaries-table-of-contents/

  13. Mark the article confirms what most of us Bernie supporters already knew, that the Clinton machine will do anything to get to the white house again. The public at large does not know and probably does not care, especially the Clinton supporters. I have supported Bernie with small donations since day one and to me it was a YUGE disappointment to see him endorse this Corrupt, Lying, Criminal, Corporate Puppet. Were the leaked DNC emails of a conspiracy not enough to distance himself from the corrupt democratic party or does he think he can reform the party? Both the RNC and the DNC are so rooted in deep corporate money and corruption that no one can or will reform them anytime soon. Bernie Sanders missed a Golden opportunity to hold true to his beliefs and take up Jill Stein on her offer to join their ticket. Many people would say, but that would give Trump the election. These two presidential candidates are probably the most disliked and hated in our country’s history. So here then lies an opportunity to galvanize the masses to a third party that we have been dying for. On a third party ticket I think sanders would beat both Trump and Clinton, but then how would they govern in the congress and senate? Compromise and more compromise until enough elections are held to elect more candidates favoring this party’s agenda. Nothing to lose as the congress and the senate have not accomplished much in the last eight years anyway. I stopped donating to the democratic party or any candidates that Bernie was recommending as I feel a big let down from the Sanders campaign and while I am not a huge Trump fan I will vote for him as I would never ever vote for Hillary Clinton so one way or another I think the election gets handed over to Trump anyway.

    • My views exactly. I was a lifelong Democrat, but their cheating throughout the primaries, and their treatment of Bernie (and his delegates) was the end for me. And every day, Hillary cozies up to the Republicans even more. I believe the only way out of this mess is to build up the Green Party as much as we can – not to win this fall of course, but to lay the groundwork for a progressive takeover in 2018/20.

  14. I read where Bernie and his wife bought a $600,000. lakeside cabin in Vermont.
    Maybe that was a bribe…what do you think?

    • My understanding is that Jane’s parents gave their home in their will to Jane and that Jane took the value of that house and rolled it into the new house. I don’t think it’s particularly excessive for a senator and his wife after an accumulation of about 130 years of life to be able to afford that home, especially since some of it was inheritance. Well senators don’t make millions of dollars, they earn enough to be upper-middle-class and that does afford a few luxury items. I thought how’s it been five or $6 million, it would raise my eyebrows a little higher.

  15. Mark – thank you for this account. My experience as a MI Bernie delegate was much the same. I want to offer a different conclusion, however. Maybe it is fantasy, but I think the way Bernie handled the convention may make him still eligible to be the nominee – should Hillary drop out due to prosecution, etc. I know, it’s a very long shot, but because the specific moves he made, I think he could pick up the race if there is an opening.

  16. Mark, (proofread version)
    Thank you so much for writing this article. 10 years ago I was naive enough to get into politics in a neighboring state – I live in Colorado now – I thought it was the right thing to do – I thought people would be interested in my input – much like your expeience I learned that they were looking for worker bees and shills and if you expressed an opinion you were either told that you have not put in enough years as a volunteer or they would use Roberts Rules to shut you up. I was a precinct woman and an election judge – I tried to introduce a new method to actually get people in precincts involved in politics – but no the guy who had been involved in politics for 50 years – with the equivalent internet and pc skills (none) – got to keep his old fashioned method that did not work – oh and yes he was rewarded for this loyalty by getting to go to the White House every couple of years for a shin dig – oh and he had a cushy state job to top it off.
    I no longer belong to a party – I am an independent – I cannot stand either party – because they are corrupt and only interested in maintaining the power of the individuals in power and keeping the perks that go with the job and associations – which seems to mean you go there making a normal amount of money and become a millionarie –
    The gangster tactics – the threats – they happen on both sides of the isle – I once was told if I did not shape up I would never get another job in the place I lived – that was not a threat I had to take seriously because my work is not dependent on local customers – but if I had been that may have been an effective threat.
    I am closer to retirement age than I care to admit (not that I will retire) and have become a bit cycnical – I would love to live in a world where one could discuss diverse ideas and work together on shaping our world, communities etc…. But politics is not about that – politics is about power and money – nothing more nothing less – Both parties are private organizations and they decide – I mean look what the republicans did here in the state – they did not even bother to hold a straw vote –
    With the mail in ballots we can’t even observe the vote to ensure there is no hankipanki –
    I will never give up because that is not in my nature – I hope that Bernie supporters do fight on to change the party system – but the parties have been around for a long time and view this just as a temporary hickup – I wish I had an answer or felt it was going to change – but I sincerely believe that it is not going to change.
    Thank you for sharing your experience

  17. Thank you Mark
    .I appreciate your every word. And the 600K house may have been in the background of Bernie’s sudden rush to praise Hill—to move his supporters a few more steps away.
    An article appeared in another thread–“stated”to be by Bernie. Bernie stated that those who voted for him should now vote for Hill.

    That article did not read like a Bernie writing–to me—not in any way.
    So a stand-in ghost writer working for Hill!!!! Sure, that would be right up the Hill Alley
    I also recall Bernie stating—“if you see anything from me telling you who to vote for—-“DON’T” ”
    An other person made mention of that in a different thread,

    Very Timely, no?

  18. As a P. S.
    I too would like for Bernie to join Jill Stein—seems like a “natural” and simple.
    But —that would be out of the question –if there were “suggestions” to clear the path for Hill.
    It would be interesting to see Jill Stein draft Bernie–against his will–into the Green ticket, somewhere.

    Bernie could deny but Jill could use it as a Green Promotional call to those on the sidelines.

  19. Somewhere, the ghost of George Orwell is smiling. America would be weeping at our lost democracy if we weren’t heads down in Pokemon Go or gloating over how much Olympic gold we’ve amassed in Rio. Bread and Circuses.

    Very well written piece, Mark. And deeply disturbing.

  20. I don’t understand the anger of the Bernie or Bust people. Say whatever you like but the nomination was not stolen from Bernie Sanders. Bernie himself has always identified as an Independent and only called himself a Democrat before running in the primaries. I researched a bit and found that one in three Sanders supporters were newly registered Democrats and did so only for the sole purpose of supporting him. All of this begs the question: if you don’t agree with a parties platform, why on earth would you register yourself as a member of it? If Sanders supporters had the votes that they claim, why didn’t he just run as an Independent and have his supporters vote as such? I don’t disagree with many of the ideas that Sanders brought to the forefront. That being said, it doesn’t seem practical to me that any group would think it could just bum rush the Democratic Party & change it’s long established platform. A platform, I might add, that a great many like & agree with as is. After reading many of the previous comments, it seems as though not all Sanders delegates had the same “horrific” experience as some. Might that be because some states had experienced people working within the ranks of their individual party headquarters? As I previously mentioned how many Sanders delegates were newly registered Democrats, this may have contributed to the huge feeling of disappointment many felt when things didn’t go quite as they imagined due to their complete lack of knowing the established protocols & procedures. There also seems to have been a complete absence of communication from the Sanders campaign to his supporters regarding the probable outcome, which would also have left many disappointed when faced with the reality of him not getting the nomination. All major & reputable news organizations had been saying for weeks that his chances were slim to none. How does that translate into so many believing that a contested DNC could change the outcome? Although I actually like Bernie Sanders & would have voted for him had he won the nomination, I believe it was his own campaign that gave many supporters false hope & ultimately ran them into a brick wall of disappointment.

  21. 1) The election was not rigged or stolen. Bernie Sanders does not believe it was stolen. Jane Sanders does not believe it was stolen. No rational independent observer believes it was stolen. Only a small subset of Bernie’s “supporters” believe that. I put “supporters” in quotes because, in general, they no longer support him now. These people were never really supportive of Bernie or his platform, they were just anti-Hillary. They were never really part of the revolution. They have abandoned Bernie and the revolution. The people who are remaining faithful to Sanders are following his lead and supporting Clinton.

    2) Bernie now supporting Hillary while pushing her to be the best she can be – this is 100% consistent with how he has fought for causes his entire life. The idea that he is betraying anyone, or that he was compelled to endorse her, is absurd. Bernie knows the best way to push his agenda goals is for the Democrats to control as much of the federal government as possible. Anyone who was surprised by his endorsement of her was not really paying attention or was just immersed in an echo chamber of ideas. Most people knew he would endorse her once she adopted enough of his policy positions.

    3) Where the rubber actually meets the road, there is very little difference in the way Sanders and Clinton would govern. In the US Senate their voting records were virtually identical. 93% of the time they voted the same way. They are on the same side of virtually every issue.

    4) If you are as frightened of Clinton as you are of Trump, you were never really part of the revolution. One is an extremely competent but imperfect and somewhat hawkish Democrat who has fought for progressive causes and fought for the vulnerable for decades, the other is a bona fide authoritarian fascist con man. If you can’t tell the difference, you need to look closer.

    • Bingo, your points #1, 3 and 4 are remarkably arrogant and inaccurate. I am in touch daily with thousands of Bernie supporters who are planning to vote for Jill Stein but are also very loyal to Bernie – working for his endorsed Congressional candidates, donating to them, donating to Bernie’s “Our Revolution,” and poised to work their tails off for Our Revolution once Bernie launches it next week.
      To say that there is very little difference in the way Sanders and Clinton would govern is incredibly naive. Clinton lives and breathes via bribes (“donations”) from Wall Street, the fossil fuels industry, big pharma, etc. Every day since the Convention, she moves farther to the right. This week she announced her pick to head her White House transition team – a prominent fossil-fuels rep who is pro-fracking, pro-TPP, and has lied to the public about these issues. And you don’t see a difference btwn a Clinton administration and what Bernie’s would have been?

      • Jeanette, totally agree. When someone says that they can’t see the difference between those candidates, I just kind of move on.

  22. Mark, thanks for this honest and colorfully-written article. You and the other Bernie dels are heroes, and we will never forget your dedication!

    I was a protester in Philly, and since returning home I have been amazed to see that the general public was completely taken in by the MANUFACTURED convention that was shown on CNN. You actually did not mention the DNC’s call for actors, which appeared on Craig’s List late on Tuesday night after the Bernie delegates’ walkout. (They called for 700 actors, and offered $50/night.) And the white noise machines that were brought in during Act 4, to drown out the chants of the Bernie delegates. But the biggest issue by far, for us protesters, was the DNC’s complete refusal to acknowledge the rampant fraud and voter suppression that occurred in 11 states, and has been documented in 3 different expert reports. I met some of the poll workers who witnessed the widespread disenfranchisement of the young “crossover” voters in CA, who were wrongly given provisional ballots that were not counted (or in some cases, whited out, as can be seen in video evidence on youtube.) I met voters from NY who checked their registration 3 times in the 3 weeks before the primary, then found out when they went to the polls that they had been purged. In 11 states, the discrepancy between the raw exit polls and the “official” results far exceeded the level at which the UN and the US will invalidate an election in other countries. Wikileaks emails showed that the DNC actively and illegally sabotaged Bernie’s campaign from start to finish, while lying about it and claiming to be neutral. As a result, there is a class-action suit pending, on behalf of millions of Bernie donors. – And yet, the DNC acknowledged NONE of this. They just told us to shut up and be unified. And they took away the signs of the Bernie delegates and used white noise machines to drown out their chants.

    Censorship, fraudulent elections, intimidation, nationalism, and nonstop wars… are hallmarks of Fascism.

    For me, standing at the Wells Fargo fence in the evenings, staring at the huge COMCAST sign over the main doors (Comcast/CNN was the main sponsor of the convention), and talking with outraged delegates in the afternoons… the whole thing had a Nazi-like feel to it. Hillary shattered the glass ceiling, and shattered Democracy with it.

    • Thank you Jeanette,

      I heard a lot about the white noise machines and just include it because I didn’t really see them first hand but I definitely believe that was going on. I also heard firsthand from people that saw signs in downtown Philly offering $50 to people to be seat occupiers. Do you have a screenshot of the craigslist ad? I’d like to see that too.

      I’m also following a lot of those lawsuits. While I’m very excited to see any of that really happen, I’m a little skeptical that we will see that stuff make it all the way through to court. But it sure would be great if it did.

      Thank you

  23. Thank you, Mark, for your testimony and insights. Just one thought about Bernie running Green: In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt, a former President with all that means in terms of name recognition, ran independent because he did not like Taft’s performance as President. He did not win.

    Using history to predict what could have been is always chancy. I would love to see polling data about how things would have looked with Bernie at the head of the Green Party. But the 1912 example suggests he would not have won.

    But it is hard for me to second guess Bernie’s choice to endorse Hillary even though I really detest Hillary. I think she is a criminal and should be in jail. But Bernie spent over a year working tirelessly for all of us. And with the opening act of Our Revolution on August 24, it is clear he has not given up.

    • About Sanders running on the Green ticket–only 27 states will have the Green Party as an option on the 2016 ballot. Clearly, Sanders could not win running as the Green candidate. I’m sorry to see Sanders support and campaign for Clinton. I suspect he doesn’t want to loose whatever influence he has in the Senate, but who knows what motivates another person? Fortunately, I’m in one of those states where I can vote Green, and will be able to vote for Stein.
      Thank you for the report from the convention and to all the thoughtful comments. The fight to regain our country continues.