Mary­land San­ders del­e­gates come to terms with Clin­ton can­di­dacy


Cap­i­tal News Ser­vice

— Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Bernie San­ders’ sup­port­ers in the Mary­land del­e­ga­tion at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion are fol­low­ing his lead in en­dors­ing pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton, even in the af­ter­math of leaked emails im­pli­cat­ing high-level party of­fi­cials in try­ing to in­flu­ence the pri­mary process in fa­vor of Clin­ton.

The Mary­land del­e­gate break­fast at the Inn at Penn on Mon­day kicked off the first con­ven­tion day. Mary­land Demo­cratic Party Chair­man Bruce Poole opened the break­fast with a short speech, jok­ing that First Lady Michelle Obama’s ad­dress later that evening would be a pre­view of Ivanka Trump’s next speech.

But signs of dis­af­fec­tion among San­ders back­ers sur­faced quickly.

Vol­un­teers from the San­ders cam­paign col­lected sig­na­tures of del­e­gates pledg­ing sup­port for the Ver­mont se­na­tor at the break­fast. One of the vol­un­teers es­ti­mated they had roughly 35 sig­na­tures, which to­tals less than 3 per­cent of the Mary­land del­e­ga­tion.

At-large del­e­gate Dar­rell Cox, of Bowie, was in­ter­rupted dur­ing his speech when he de­clared Hil­lary Clin­ton the next pres­i­dent, and San­ders sup­port­ers shouted “Bernie!”

San­dra Fal­well, 67, a Clin­ton del­e­gate, said she


sup­ports San­ders for many rea­sons, but said, “I’m tak­ing Bernie’s lead,” when it comes to whether she will vote for the for­mer sec­re­tary of state.

Ken­dra Ziegler, 32, a del­e­gate from Sil­ver Spring, was a “Bernie or bust” voter for a brief pe­riod of time, but said she will fol­low San­ders’ lead.

“I trust that he will do a fan­tas­tic job lead­ing me as a del­e­gate,” she said.

An at-large del­e­gate from Bowie, Dar­rell Car­ring­ton, 48, is also a San­ders sup­porter, but said he was “here to sup­port the Demo­cratic ticket.”

The open­ing of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion comes just three days af­ter Wik­ileaks pub­lished emails from mem­bers of the Demo­cratic Party that ap­peared to show col­lu­sion among mem­bers of the lead­er­ship to en­sure Clin­ton was the nom­i­nee.

Car­ring­ton said “we rec­og­nize that ob­vi­ously our can­di­date won’t be the nom­i­nee.” But he added the idea that “our party con­spired against a can­di­date is trou­bling.”

“I just feel val­i­dated,” by the email leak, Ziegler said, ex­plain­ing she al­ways felt the party was work­ing against her can­di­date.

But the res­ig­na­tion of Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz was not much pun­ish­ment be­cause “she’s get­ting the job she’s al­ready had for a year and a half,” as an hon­orary Clin­ton cam­paign ad­viser, Ziegler said.

Fal­well said the “to­tal con­spir­acy to keep a can­di­date down” is crim­i­nal, and Wasser­man Schultz was the scape­goat the party needed.

“It had to be her,” she said.

“Peo­ple have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Car­ring­ton in­sisted. If the party is se­ri­ous … we need a change of lead­er­ship.”

The Demo­cratic del­e­gates were staunchly op­posed to Don­ald Trump, the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee. Car­ring­ton re­ferred to him as “the evil we see on the other side.”

Some of the del­e­gates see this year’s con­test as more than an elec­tion.

“This is life-or-death for many of us, as a queer woman, this is life- or­death,” Ziegler said. She also called Trump a “non­starter.”

San­ders faced some chal­lenges pre­sent­ing the most pro­gres­sive plat­form for a Demo­cratic can­di­date, she said.

And while the party is trend­ing to­ward more pro­gres­sive ideas, Ziegler said, “I have to re­mind my­self, as a pro­gres­sive, while our party is shift­ing in my di­rec­tion, it’s not there yet.”

San­ders “presents the best and bright­est of what we can be,” Car­ring­ton said.

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