PHILADELPHIA — Mac's Tavern on Market Street was empty through the early hours of the Democratic National Convention's first night. Other bars on the street had baseball on, or no sound. At Mac's, America's Democratic eminences addressed the bar from multiple screens.
Two British tourists from Leeds said all the talk of immigration reminded them of Brexit. They said the result had taken them by surprise. Maybe here, too.
"This goes on until November?" one asked incredulously.
Sometime after State Sen. Adriano Espaillat took the stage to discuss his own immigrant story, two weary-looking Sanders supporters entered the bar, their Sanders buttons still glistening from the rain.
They watched comedian Sarah Silverman call Bernie or Bust supporters "ridiculous," and the same supporters periodically interrupt the proceedings with jeers or chants.
"It's inevitable," said Monika Granholm, 54, of Westchester. "Of course I'm sad it's not Bernie." She noted that he'd fought so hard, with a constant headwind from the Democratic National Committee — subtle pressures like strict voter registration rules and non-prime time debates.
Granholm said that Sanders' message spoke to her: "It clicked."
His attention to the economically struggling resonated. Her job with a large airline was outsourced to Mexico, and to add insult to injury she says she was sent south of the border to train her replacement as part of a severance package. She was given two years of health insurance, but now that's running out. She says she works part time now for half her old salary.
So she wishes Sanders had won, but says she'll go with Clinton in the fall. Because "the prospect of Trump scares me to no end."
Of the speakers boosting Hillary Clinton, she said "they're all making good points."
With Republican nominee Donald Trump looming, she said, "In a way, I hope they do get through to some of the kids saying Bernie or Bust."
Granholm and her husband left before Michelle Obama's barnstormer of a speech, in which she reached deep into the annals of American history drawing a progression to Clinton and a world in which daughters think it's totally normal to be president.
They left before Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave her direct endorsement for Clinton and excoriation of Trump, while scattered protesters briefly chanted over even this progressive hero.
They left before Sanders delivered a version of his stump speech, which hardly got going because of the unyielding cheers of his supporters. Before he made his argument for Clinton, mostly examples of how she'd come towards him over the course of the primary.
But maybe this was the only way his most adamant supporters would be convinced to throw their support elsewhere. If his argument for Clinton is, somewhat self-centeredly, that she's basically Sanders now — on health care and on college tuition and on the TPP — so be it. Whatever works.
The Sanders supporters left the bar before the senator had the chance to make his case, because they were already won over. Time will tell about the rest of Sanders' supporters.
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