UPDATE: I added the name of the delegate.
At present, I’m listening to a protester on a bullhorn outside the Franklin Hotel in Philadelphia yelling continuously, “Shame on Arkansas!” for the decision by the Democratic Party of Arkansas to deny a credential to Frank Klein of Mount Ida on the final day of the Democratic National Convention to a Bernie Sanders delegate.
Delegates for both Sanders and Hillary Clinton had expressed frustration with Klein for disruptive behavior during the third night of the convention. Anti-TPP signs have continued to pop up in the hall and, apparently, this delegate did have a sign, but his yelling and refusal to move out of the aisle went further than other Sanders delegates who have refused to accept the Clinton nomination.
Patience wore thin among Clinton and Sanders delegates alike, and the decision to pull the credential was made. The Democratic Party of Arkansas provided this statement on the situation: “Because of one delegate’s explicit rejection of the rules of the Convention regarding orderliness and safety on the crowded floor, we were forced to deny him his credentials for the day. Democrats care deeply about free speech and this was not about the content of any sign, but about safety and good order.”
Being at the DNC has helped me to more fully understand the Sanders movement, as we were distanced from it in Arkansas — a state in which Sanders never fully invested, because of Clinton’s potency among Arkansas Democrats. Most importantly, it’s really not a single movement. Instead, it’s three different movements and, in Philadelphia, tensions between the factions have clearly shown themselves
About half of the Sanders delegates are progressive Democrats; many have been involved in the party for years and others were inspired to activism by Sanders’ campaign. While disappointed with the result of the nomination battle and frustrated with the Democratic National Committee for the perception that favorites were played during the primary campaign, they have, like Sanders himself, quickly come back under the Democratic party tent for the general election battle against Donald Trump. They are increasingly frustrated with the remainder of Sanders activists who continue to agitate at the DNC.
The other half of the Sanders movement is split. The bulk are young people new to politics who feel deeply disappointed about his loss and feel that Clinton’s victory was driven by a fundamentally “rigged” system. Only time will tell whether they stay engaged in electoral politics or focus more on advocacy from outside the system. The final group of Sanders supporters are older activists who see themselves as Leftists first and foremost. They have been outside the system for decades and really have no interest in playing by its rules now.