PHILADELPHIA — Two die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters arrived early here on Tuesday afternoon to attend a powerpoint presentation on the American economy, delivered by the party’s big-name progressive hero, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
While waiting, they debated whether this liberal icon was now a sellout.
"She's a turncoat, not backing Bernie,” said 58-year-old Georgette Chalker. “She's going where the money is." Her friend, George Dusichka, 40, disagreed. The Bernie-or-Busters, Dusichka argued, are missing the forest for the trees.
This was the question among devout progressives the day after Warren was loudly booed by Sanders fans packed into the Wells Fargo Center for the first night of the convention here in Philadelphia. At one point during her vociferously pro-Hillary primetime speech, chants of “We Trusted You!” echoed through the hall.
If Warren’s June endorsement of Clinton came as a disappointment, the speech seemed to come as a betrayal amid tensions this week over the DNC email leak.
Twenty four hours later, the senator from Massachusetts was back to the kind of wonky, professorial progressivism that made her a star in the first place.
Across town from the convention, Warren stepped to the lectern on an unadorned stage and delivered a presentation complete with bar graphs, charts, and statistics in nearly every slide. “This is a little bit of an experiment,” the former Harvard Law professor admitted. “Once a teacher always a teacher.”
There was no fanfare or introductory speaker. A playlist of woman-driven pop music, including staples of Clinton’s campaign soundtrack, filled the ballroom before the music cut off, Warren came out, and began to lecture.
Several hundred came to hear it. Some wore Bernie buttons and Bernie t-shirts. None booed. And many said Sanders fans simply had to look forward, just like Warren.
Susan Gillespie, a 67-year-old Warren fan who supports Clinton, recalled doing the same after she campaigned her heart out for Eugene McCarthy in 1968.
“I’d just say, we got over it,” Gillespie said.
Two Sanders voters in the front row said the Warren boo-ers were refusing to acknowledge the “terrifying” prospect of a victory for Donald Trump.
Jessica Herring, 32, said she was as pro-Sanders as the next progressive. “And then it didn’t work out — and now I’m a grown-up,” she said. “And I think the Bernie or Bust people need to deal with reality and move forward.”
“That’s it,” said her friend, 33-year-old Brandon Solstad, who argued that Warren would not be damaged inside progressive circles by her Clinton endorsement.
Still, there those like Georgette Chalker, weren’t happy.
The New Jersey resident plans to write in Sanders’ name on the ballot this fall — and though she wasn’t in the Wells Fargo Center when Bernie fans booed Warren, she said that if she had been, she would have booed right along with them.
“You have to make compromises in life,” her friend tried saying.
Chalker cut him off.
“Why should there be a compromise when we find out two days ago that the whole election was a fraud and there was voter suppression going on?” she said.
“Why should we compromise?"