PHILADELPHIA ― Angry and frustrated with the Democratic Party, hundreds of supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday staged a walkout at the Democratic National Convention over what they claim was rigged primary process that wrongly handed the party nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In an orchestrated show of party unity, Sanders appeared on the floor of the convention at the end of formal roll call proceedings, where he called for a suspension of rules to name Clinton the nominee by acclamation. The convention hall did so nearly unanimously by voice vote, prompting loud cheers and jubilant celebration among hundreds of gathered delegates.
But above the convention floor, away from the glare of television cameras in the halls of Wells Fargo Center, hundreds of angry Sanders supporters rushed for the doors, chanting “walkout,” and “this is what democracy looks like.” They held Sanders campaign signs, placards that read, “Rigged,” and “#WikiLeak DNC,” a reference to hacked DNC emails released by WikiLeaks that showed bias against Sanders.
As the evening’s program was getting underway inside, the demonstrators marched toward a press tent outside the arena, where they held a sit-in to protest what they called an unfair primary election.
“There wasn’t a fair election. It was obviously rigged,” said Bill Sifford of Idaho, who told HuffPost he was “heartbroken” to see Sanders nominate Clinton.
Asked whether Sanders would approve of the walkout, Sifford said he did not know.
“He doesn’t like our decisions,” Sifford added. “We made our decision to go to him.”
Another attendee, who declined to be named, said the walkout was about “making our voices heard because obviously they haven’t been heard for this entire process. Bernie Sanders is the beginning, this is about a movement.”
Sanders, however, framed the stakes in a different manner earlier in the day while addressing supporters at a California delegation breakfast: It’s easier to jeer and boo and protest than to deal with the reality of Donald Trump as president.