Chants of “lock her up” echoed through Philadelphia Monday as supporters of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders marched across the Ben Franklin Bridge and snaked through the city to the convention site, airing a long list of grievances at presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party establishment.
The chants came from the left, but they echoed what was heard from the right last week at the Republican convention in Cleveland. They blamed Clinton for the rise of ISIS. They said she’s corrupt because of her ties to big banks, her secret email server and her refusal to stand up for women allegedly assaulted by President Bill Clinton.
Thirteen-year-old Michael Ferguson from Arlington, Va., went to Staples to make his own “Hillary For Prison” sign. Asked if he believes Clinton should actually be in prison, he replied: “Yes she should!”
The protests were larger and more unified than any last week at the Republican convention. In fact these liberals seemed angrier at Clinton than Trump. Dylan Carney of New Hampshire said Clinton only came out against fracking and construction of the Keystone gas pipeline because Sanders pushed her.
But, Carney said, he will grit his teeth and vote for her. “When it’s going to come down to Trump or Hillary in November, and we need to act on climate, it has to be Hillary, because Trump is toxic,” he said.
Still, many protesters refused to commit. They are furious at the Democratic Party. They chanted “Goodbye Debbie, Hillary’s next,” in reference to newly ousted Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. They believe she was biased against Sanders, and they think the system of superdelegates gives party donors — like Wall Street banks — too much power over public policy.
“Hell no, DNC,” went one chant, “we won’t vote for Hillary!”
Jamie Ludovise of California held a sign that said: “The Democratic Party is the worst party that I’ve ever been to.” When Sanders endorsed Clinton last month, Ludovise changed her voter registration to independent. She says Clinton is an untrustworthy politician who adjusts her positions based on what her corporate donors want.
“I don’t know if a Trump White House would be worse than a Clinton White House, honestly,” she said.
And then there was Renee from Minnesota, who described herself as a “multi-generation Democrat” but wouldn’t give her last name. She marched from Camden, NJ, over the Ben Franklin Bridge to Philadelphia to show her support for Sanders. Near tears, she said she can’t accept Clinton taking Wall Street campaign funds and questions why she can’t reject them like Sanders did. Even though Sanders endorsed Clinton, she credits him with creating a movement.
“We may not agree with him, but we love him and will appreciate him,” she said. “And he taught us to know that we can do this together.”