PHILADELPHIA — Leaders of a group organizing more than 1,000 delegates loyal to Bernie Sanders would not rule out disrupting the speeches of Hillary Clinton and her vice presidential pick, Tim Kaine inside the Democratic convention hall.
Norman Solomon, national coordinator for the Bernie Delegates Network, said that a recent straw poll of his organization found 55% of Sanders delegates would be willing to “participate in non-violent protest” during Kaine’s acceptance address. Even more people, 58%, said they’d be willing to protest during Clinton’s speech.
Solomon hedged when asked if there actually would be protests, saying that he didn't know what would happen and was not involved in planning anything.
The polling — which relied on voluntary responses and was not scientific — could show that many Sanders delegates are still not prepared to unify behind the Democratic nominee.
"We're not giving directions or directives, we're serving," Solomon said when asked about protests, adding later that "this is not going to be a process of the troops taking orders."
On Monday, Sanders supporters protested in the streets and in the convention hall — even interrupting keynote speaker Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who endorsed Clinton, with chants of "we trusted you!" The unrest — stoked by leaked emails showing DNC party officials talking about working against the Sanders campaign — led to Sanders texting delegates on Monday and calling for them to not disrupt the convention floor.
Teva Gabis-Levine, a delegate from New Mexico, said he received that message and intentionally did not forward it to the rest of his state delegation. And though he said he wasn’t aware of any organized protests as of Tuesday morning, he did not rule them out.
“I am looking the other way,” he said.
Meanwhile, Donna Smith — executive director of Progressive Democrats of America — said her organization attempted to fill out the proper paperwork to formally put an alternate vice presidential candidate up for a convention floor vote, but was thwarted after “a wild goose chase” led to “barriers to getting the information we need” from the party.
“Very frustrating, very frustrating to be thwarted by the DNC at that point,” she added.