Before the Democratic National Convention officially began on Monday, Democracy Now! was there when Senator Bernie Sanders addressed his 1,900 delegates and threw his support behind his former rival, Hillary Clinton. We play highlights from the night’s speeches and speak with several Sanders delegates, who say “it pains me,” but that they now plan to vote for Clinton. Others say they remain undecided and are at the DNC to ensure Sanders’s values are represented.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: It’s been a tumultuous 24 hours here at the opening of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The convention began on Monday, one day after Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as head of the party following the release of nearly 20,000 emails that revealed how the Democratic Party favored Hillary Clinton and worked behind the scenes to discredit and defeat Bernie Sanders. Before the convention officially began, Sanders addressed his 1,900 delegates. Democracy Now! was there.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: We have got to defeat Donald Trump. And we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
SANDERS SUPPORTERS: Boo!
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Brothers and sisters, brothers and sisters, this is—this is the real world that we live in. Trump is a bully and a demagogue. Trump—Trump has made bigotry and hatred the cornerstone of his campaign. Throughout this campaign, he has insulted Mexicans and Latinos, he has insulted Muslims, he has insulted women and African Americans.
SANDERS SUPPORTERS: We want Bernie! We want Bernie! We want Bernie! We want Bernie! We want Bernie! We want Bernie! We want Bernie! We want Bernie!
SANDERS SUPPORTER 1: We’re going to fight. The WikiLeaks showed that this election was rigged. We’re going to fight for Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders is the only one with integrity. We’re going to fight. You saw today, he said Hillary, everybody said “boo.” That’s what’s going to be in the convention. We’re going to fight this week. We’re going to fight for the TPP. We’re going to—
SANDERS SUPPORTER 2: Never Hillary! Never Hillary. I love Bernie, but I am not voting for Hillary.
FAWAZ ANWAR: Fawaz S. Anwar, national delegate for Bernie from the great state of Texas. I’d just like add, as a dedicated Democrat, Democrat before Bernie, Democrat after Bernie, I love Bernie, everything he stands for. But the problem is, you’ve—we’ve all seen what happened this morning. Clinton is slipping behind Trump. I’m scared. I’m scared. I’m scared for my civil liberties. I carry the Constitution around with me, to this day. I’m scared that Trump’s going to win now. And now that Clinton is sagging behind Trump, the most misogynistic, sexist, sexist, racist person that the Republicans have ever nominated, Clinton is slipping up. I just—I don’t know how else to say it. But our democracy is in danger if Trump becomes president. I’m in agreement with Bernie. I’m going to vote for Clinton if she’s the nominee. But the fact is, Bernie beats Trump. Bernie beats Trump. Everyone knows this. I do not understand why this has to be like this.
JIM KEADY: My name is Jim Keady. I’m a Bernie delegate from New Jersey. I’m proud to be here to represent the agenda that Bernie’s been pushing for the past year. The thing that really struck me the most was when Bernie had said, you know, “We have set the agenda for the future here in America.” We think about the young people that have supported Bernie’s campaign. You know, we need to have a vision that goes well beyond this presidential election. That’s looking for the next four years, through the next 40 years, and taking care of our country for the next 40,000 years. And that’s what excites me the most. It pains me when Bernie, you know, asked us to support Hillary Clinton. I’m sure it broke his heart, as well, because, you know, look, Hillary is—you know, as Robert Reich had said, she’s the perfect candidate for the democracy that we have, and Bernie is the perfect candidate for the democracy that we want.
DEBORAH PARKER: My name is Deborah Parker. I am from the Tulalip Tribes in the state of Washington, and I’m a Bernie delegate. I was also on the Platform Drafting Committee and the Platform Committee that voted in Orlando.
AMY GOODMAN: Will you be voting for Hillary Clinton?
DEBORAH PARKER: You know, right now, I came as a delegate, and I earned a lot of votes to represent Bernie’s values. And so, I’m really here to represent those values, not only on the platform and also from the state of Washington and my district, where I was voted. We were 80—I believe 84 percent Bernie Sanders. So, they asked me to come represent their voice, so that’s what I’m doing. As far as voting, I haven’t made those decisions right now. It’s—again, it’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking for—this is not just about politics, in the sense—yes, it’s political, but there’s a feeling, there’s a movement, there’s inspiration that has been created. And how do you just all of a sudden change that and go for the person that you don’t think would make the best president? And yeah, we hear the lesser of two evils. And, you know, so I’m—it’s a sad day for many of us.
AMY GOODMAN: Once the Democratic convention began, supporters of Senator Sanders repeatedly broke into chants of “Bernie!” every time Hillary Clinton was named. During his speech to the convention, Senator Sanders again urged his supporters to back Hillary Clinton in November.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her, as you do, as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play, as she helped lead the fight for universal healthcare. I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children, for women and for the disabled. Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight. Thank you all very much.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren also spoke on the opening night of the DNC as a keynote speaker. She accused Republican nominee Donald Trump of fanning the flames of fear and hatred.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: Now, we are here tonight because America faces a choice, the choice of a new president. On one side is a man who inherited a fortune from his father and kept it going by cheating people, by skipping out on debts, a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone, a man who cares only for himself every minute of every day. On the other side is one of the smartest, toughest, most tenacious people on this planet, a woman who fights for children, for women, for healthcare, for human rights, a woman who fights for all of us and who is strong enough to win those fights. We’re here today because our choice is Hillary Clinton. I’m with Hillary. I’m with Hillary.
AMY GOODMAN: First lady Michelle Obama also spoke and gave one of the most impassioned addresses of the evening.
MICHELLE OBAMA: I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters, and all our sons and daughters, now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States. So, look—so, don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again, because this right now is the greatest country on Earth. And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls’ promise and all our kids’ promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.
AMY GOODMAN: First lady Michelle Obama. In a minute, we’ll be joined by two guests. From Berkeley, California, Robert Reich, labor secretary under President Clinton, professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He was a Bernie Sanders supporter. Here in Philadelphia, Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. His most recent book, Wages of Rebellion. He supports Dr. Jill Stein. A debate, coming up.