After the Democratic Party officially named Hillary Clinton as its nominee for president, some Bernie Sanders supporters at the convention staged a walkout in protest. But Sanders delegates from Manatee-Sarasota did not join.
“When things come to an end you need to close a door, move on and find a new direction,” Sanders delegate David Beaton of Sarasota said Wednesday. “Some of the delegates had trouble with that and they walked out. I stayed because I felt the issues that the Democratic Party is putting forward are issues that I can support.”
Katherine Sogolow, also a Sanders delegate from Sarasota, said she remains skeptical because of how much she knows about Clinton.
“I would like to give Sen. Clinton a chance, but I need to see more evidence from her,” Sogolow said. “So far we’ve been hearing about issues on the party platform and people speak about her, and historically just a lot of the positive, rosy stuff. I know her history very thoroughly, the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Deanie Bergbreiter, another Sanders delegate from Sarasota, could not deny the emotion delegates felt after the roll call vote.
“I was really in it for Bernie Sanders for the campaign, so it was a bit of a let down after we did the nomination by acclamation,” Bergbreiter said. “I was surprised I felt as emotional as I did. I thought I was ready for it.”
Lucy Lapides, president of the Lakewood Ranch Democratic Club, agreed with Beaton that some delegates would need time to process and accept that Sanders was not the nominee. But Lapides said there also was a stronger sense of unity in the room.
“The stress level in there (Wells Fargo Center) was less,” Lapides said. “There were clearly still some pockets of unfriendly resistance, but it was clearly better.”
Bergbreiter is ready to see Sanders and Clinton supporters come together, but has concern about a faction of her delegation.
“My concern with the Bernie or Bust people is that they are not going to present a united front in Florida so that we can make sure (Donald) Trump doesn’t win the state or the White House,” the Sarasota Democratic Party member said.
Beaton is more understanding of Bernie or Bust resistance.
“Everyone has their own opinion,” Beaton said. “They’ve put a lot of work into this, this struggle to bring these issues to the forefront. If they feel as though their path can keep the movement going, I’m OK with that.”
Two Sanders delegates from Sarasota expressed willingness to support Clinton.
“It’s not an easy decision, but I think that the party is making moves in the right direction and I can support it,” Beaton said.
“I am now very excited about helping to elect our first female president,” Bergbreiter said. “We had such a rapid transition and I knew it was coming; it really didn’t hit me until after the vote.”
Christine Jennings, chairwoman of the Sarasota Democratic Party, said the roll call vote was great for all women and men with daughters, nieces and wives.
“Last night was a historic moment in time for the United States of America and for women,” Jennings said. “I think women, regardless of what area of the Democratic Party they’re supporting, and men too, now understand what a great thing it is that the Democratic Party had the first African-American president and will now have the first woman president.”
Bergbreiter said she has a plan to help Floridians present a strong front for Clinton in November.
“I’m hoping to work as closely as I can with the Bernie or Bust people,” Bergbreiter said, “to see if we can find some common ground or common understanding about how important it is to make sure we don’t get Trump elected.”