The Bern: Inside and Out

Just before midnight, after Monday night’s speeches, delegates for Bernie Sanders rallied in the hallways of the Wells Fargo Center. They chanted, “Bernie beats Trump,” in anticipation of Tuesday’s roll call vote. This is Bruce Jones of Half Moon Bay, California, representing San Mateo County, California.

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Who are you representing?
My district of 50,000 voters elected me to represent Bernie and cast a delegate vote for Bernie.

What do you plan to do these next few days?
I plan to honor that and vote for Bernie tomorrow night at the roll call vote.

In light of everything that’s happened in this election cycle so far, how do you feel about democracy in America right now?
I was an election officer and I witnessed election fraud. I saw a woman grab paper ballots out of her back pocket and stuff them into her ballot box and no one would do anything about it. I reported it to authorities and apparently it didn’t matter to the authorities that someone was trying to cast more votes than me.

How do you feel about the demonstrations by Bernie delegates?
I think that the Bernie delegates are principled and we are for certain principles and platforms and we are really trying to make a point that the system is broken and rigged. We have some big problems we have to face–income inequality, healthcare, and climate change.

Did you witness any of the Bernie or Bust protesters as you were walking in today?
I saw some this morning at the California delegate breakfast. I think that it’s bullshit to talk about anything after this week. Right now we’re talking about the roll call vote tomorrow night and electing, or at least casting our vote, for Bernie. All of this presumptive talk about what we’re going to do in November, really, we’ve gotten stupid in America, in that we forgot what our farmers taught us, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. This whole Hillary campaign, they’ve been counting their chickens before they hatch. They’ve been telling us that Hillary has won, months before she’s actually won. She still has not won the nomination. And at this point, trying to count eggs before they hatch, superdelegates before they hatch, we used to be smarter than that in America.

How do you feel Bernie has handled his influence in the Democratic party after the primaries?
Bernie has been this campaign. He has brought the political revolution–the principles, the values, the voters–nineteen hundred delegates and thirteen million voters to the democratic party in 15 states and 7 territories. He’s bringing it.

I look at Hillary and I wonder, what did she bring this whole election? Nothing. Only controversy and copying other people’s messages. It’s a complete fast-follower strategy. You have to respect their campaign managers, that they put messages into all of the speeches tonight that were absolutely offensive to delegates who haven’t voted yet.

Do you have anything else you want to say to college students?
The biggest message of Bernie’s campaign is, ‘If you want to change the system, get involved.’ All of us want to now run for office. All of us want to make changes. All of us realize, we may not win this election, but if we want to win the next one, we have to get involved.

The description on the Bernie or Bust Facebook page reads “This is for people who support Bernie Sanders with no compromise,” and it claims over 22,000 members. The top comment affirms #HillaryisPoison. On Monday, the movement showed up to protest the DNC. They lined the fence, a police perimeter, that separated the public from delegates and press, and chanted, yelled, and sang as delegates exited shuttles and filed into the arena complex. BPR spoke to protesters Vanessa Perez (26), and Stephen Boreiko, 26, from Providence, RI.

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What part of Bernie’s platform are you representing?
All of it. Not one part, all of it.

Why are you at the DNC?
Boreiko: Because enough is enough. The Democrats are just as corrupt as the fucking Republicans. They’re either going to represent the party or we leave. We all leave. They lose power. They’ll lose the White House, they’ll lose the fucking Senate, they’ll lose the fucking Congress, and the Republicans and the Independents and the Green Party will take over, and they can all kick dust.

Perez: Bernie or Jill, never Hillary. Never.

Where are you from?
Boreiko: We’re from Providence, Rhode Island, and [RI Governor] Gina Raimondo’s here, sucking on Hillary Clinton. Yeah I know what’s going, DNC corruption, election fraud–

Perez: Using taxpayer money–

Boreiko: New York City, California, Arizona, Ohio, Massachusetts, Florida, election fraud, election fraud.

What’s your plan for the next few days?
Boreiko: To sit here and piss everybody off until we get what we want, or they are done.

Who is the ‘they’ and the ‘everybody’ you’re talking about?
Boreiko: The DNC, the DNC. They have one option: nominate Bernie Sanders or lose total power and authority over the rest of the party.

Perez: And they get Trump and they’re screwed.

Describe your political views.
Boreiko: I’m a Democratic Socialist. Partly liberal.

What sorts of changes do you want to see?
Boreiko: Everyday changes. $15 minimum wage, I wanna see them act on climate change, I want renewable energy now, not tomorrow, I want free public college and tuition–

Perez: Medicare for all.

Boreiko: I want Medicare for all, single-payer system, I want prescription drug prices rung in from the pharmaceutical industry, I want healthcare-for-profit out of the fucking industry, I want it all gone, I want it all fixed, and I want it fixed now. Or somebody is going to be held accountable. I’m here for Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders.