— Mollie Reilly (@MollieReilly) July 26, 2016
The overwhelming majority of Bernie Sanders backers plan to vote for Hillary Clinton, and by all accounts that appears to be true at the convention as well. Sanders himself gave a full-throated endorsement of Clinton, making a thorough, substantive case for doing so in order to advance progressive goals, and the crowd (at least mostly) cheered.
Early in the day yesterday, there was some raucous protest from Sanders supporters (booing at the mention of Hillary Clinton’s name, competing chants, etc.), but it dissipated quickly by evening. The scattering of boos and chanting makes for a good media narrative, but according to the accounts of those on the floor, it really was a scattering by the time we got to the primetime hours. A subset of folks are hollering, but we’re certainly not seeing a revolt from Bernie Sanders supporters as a whole.
Of course the problem is that a very small group — at times on the broadcast, it sounded like just one or two people — is able to make a lot of noise. The DNC has an audio problem when it comes to the television broadcast. It was hard to pay full attention to Elizabeth Warren’s speech, for example, because of a guy in the crowd shouting what sounded like “we want juice” (turns out it was “we trusted you”). Does that amount to disunity in any meaningful way? Color me skeptical (let’s see how the polls shake out at the end of the week) — but it can make for awkward stagecraft.
Sanders made appearances at breakfast delegations this morning and while his statement on the importance of electing Hillary Clinton was met with cheers at the Wisconsin delegation, there were some boos when he made the same pitch to the California delegation. Sanders made a forceful response, one that is sure to make the rounds in the coming days:
“It’s easy to boo, but it is harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under a Donald Trump presidency.”
Meanwhile, in another symbolic move toward party unity, the two camps are in talks to have Sanders be the one to formally nominate Clinton tonight.
Will it work? Again, I think that depends on how you define the scope of the issue. I would argue that the basic political aim of bringing the overwhelming majority of Sanders supporters on board was already achieved last night. And I think that Sanders will continue to be a powerful and effective advocate in that effort. But will Sanders be able to get every single one of his supporters to sing kumbaya? Of course not. And we’ll hear the holdouts.