Elections

Fresno Democrats sound out sides of Clinton-Sanders debate

Democratic delegates from Fresno tell why they're in Philadephia

Meet five delegates to the Democratic National Convention -- all from Fresno (and from the 22nd Congressional District). Three are pledged to Hillary Clinton, two to Bernie Sanders -- and one can't wait for a colorful convention tradition.
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Meet five delegates to the Democratic National Convention -- all from Fresno (and from the 22nd Congressional District). Three are pledged to Hillary Clinton, two to Bernie Sanders -- and one can't wait for a colorful convention tradition.

Halfway through the Democratic National Convention and, though they’ve been loud, Bernie Sanders delegates in general say they have no voice.

Blame it on Donald Trump. On a night when Hillary Clinton became the first woman ever nominated by a major party to run for president, the theme from the dais Tuesday was speaking out against the Republican presidential nominee.

“It feels like they’re trying to get us to vote against someone we don’t like instead of for someone we do like,” said Yamina Roland, a Sanders delegate from Fresno.

Judy Lund-Bell, a Clinton delegate from Fresno, said the anti-Trump rhetoric is warranted. “The whole (Republican) convention was anti-Hillary. ... I think what they did was have a lot of people address Trump’s issues.”

That’s not cutting it for delegates like Roland, even after her candidate nominated Clinton for the top of the party’s ticket.

“Fear mongering is not enough of a platform,” Roland said.

Sanders himself tried to win over his own delegates at breakfast Tuesday, asking the California delegation to back Clinton – once again to a chorus of boos.

“It is easy to boo,” Sanders said. “But it is much harder to look your kids in the face when they have to grow up under a Trump presidency.”

Michael Soller, communications director for the California Democratic Party, addressed the disappointment (“There’s a small group of people who are angry and going to let everyone know it”) and said the key to winning over hard-line Sanders supporters will be personal interaction this week.

“It’s really the one-on-one conversations between delegates that are going to get everyone on the same page,” Soller said.

Lund-Bell said she has tried, “but some of them are really entrenched, and I don’t think anything in the world is going to change them – even Bernie can’t.”

Roland said she doesn’t believe Sanders’ endorsement is sincere: “One of the reasons why so many of us basically gave up our lives for the last year is because his integrity resonated and it struck a chord with us.

“And his endorsement speeches are hollow.”

The Temple University School of Media and Communication has assembled a team of student reporters to cover the Democratic National Convention in their hometown. Harrison Brink is a graduating senior journalism major at Temple: tue75105@temple.edu

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