The DNC is a convention of Bernie fans who prefer Trump to Hillary
‘I want to see Trump win to wipe the smug look off Hillary’s face’
PHILADELPHIA –– Five minutes after arriving in the city, we see our first Hillary for Prison sign.
Along with Build the wall and Lock her up, Hillary for Prison was the most popular chant at last week’s Republican Convention. And here it is again, being used by Bernie Sanders activists to protest Hillary Clinton.
Conventions are meant to be a public show of party unity, a week of tub-thumping for the nominee. But tens of thousands of Bernie fans have traveled for days to reach Philadelphia to voice their loathing of Hillary, with a vitriol to match what we saw at Cleveland.
In fact, many of Bernie’s supporters dislike her with such a pathological hatred that they have pledged their votes for Donald Trump, just to spite her.
“I’d like to see Donald Trump elected,” says protestor Courtney, who drove 18 hours to get here from Iowa, “to wipe that smug look off Hillary’s face.”
“I don’t have any faith in Trump, but I don’t hate him like I hate Hillary,” she explains at a pro-Bernie rally near City Hall.
Anson, from South Carolina, agrees. “After I’ve seen the way the DNC has treated Bernie Sanders, if she lost to Trump, Hillary would get what she deserves.”
This year’s Republican Convention was unexpectedly quiet (authorities anticipated 1000 arrests a day; 24 was the final figure). There were hardly any vocal protests of Trump, and very few made the trip to Cleveland.
But here there are anti-Hillary demonstrators from across the States – Texans, Ohioans, Californians who journeyed for Bernie, even though he lost the primaries weeks ago.
Dixie, from Tennessee, tells me she would be happier to see Donald Trump become President than Hillary.
“If we have to put up with four years of Trump’s buffoonery, I’m fine with that,” she says. “I don’t think Congress will let him do anything. If we put up with eight years of Hillary’s warmongering, then we’ll live on a less viable planet. He’s scary, but she’s scarier.”
But what specifically about Hillary makes her worse than Trump? What policies?
“Hillary is… fracking. You know, there are a lot of issues that she appears to tell to people, because she, she… flips on the issues. She’s right of center. I want a progressive candidate who is far left of center. Hillary is in this for Hillary, Bernie is in this for the American people. Trump and Hillary are in it together, I’ve said that since the beginning. You have to question that.” Right.
Jet from upstate New York, is nearby. “Gun to my head between the two, yes, I would vote for Trump.”
Why? “Fracking, TPP, all this bad shit.”
We’re interrupted by a group of political activist stoners parading past carrying an enormous blow-up joint.
“We’re making a statement about legalizing marijuana,” they say. “It’s the plant that God made.”
A bearded demonstrator holds up the front end of the joint with eyes tinged a deep red, like a hippie Atlas. His mouth hangs open in a wide grin. “We smoke pot and we like it a lot,” shouts an aged activist into the loudspeaker. The beaded man joins in, not quite in time with the rest of the crowd.
Finally, amid the hum of weed smoke, is Anthony from Colorado. The voice of reason, he tells me he doesn’t understand why Bernie fans would vote for Donald Trump. “They don’t have the same principles.”
And then: “I think they’re working together, Trump and Hillary. He’s scaring people to vote for her.”
The conspiracy theories never stop. The stoners, who took a minute to rest in the blistering sun, pick up their huge inflatable joint and move on.