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Bernie Sanders supporters disappointed, but philosophical and still fighting

Sen. Bernie Sanders endorses former campaign foe Hillary

Sen. Bernie Sanders endorses former campaign foe Hillary Clinton on July 12, 2016, at an event in Portsmouth, N.H. Photo Credit: EPA / CJ Gunther

Yeah, they feel burned – but also oddly victorious.

After Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president Tuesday, Bernie diehards trumpeted their disappointment and sense of betrayal in social media.

On the ground in NYC, though, Sanders supporters rationalized that their struggle yielded gains that meant defeat was not complete.

“It’s not an occasion for mourning: It’s an occasion for celebration: The issues he raised are now front and center” and incorporated into the Democratic Party platform, said George Albro, 67, a pledged delegate and organizer for Sanders who lives in Park Slope. A public health care option, free college tuition for students whose family income is less than $125,000 a year and a $15 an hour minimum wage are among the principles now in the Democratic party platform that were based on Sander’s campaign demands. Inserted into the platform by leveraging his candidacy and supporters, noted Albro: “It’s the most progressive platform ever to come out of the Democratic Convention and it’s all due to Bernie and his supporters!”

A recent Pew Research Center poll indicated that about 85% of Sanders supporters will switch their support to Clinton.

While a sector of Sanders supporters are distraught and alienated, “the other part – and I’m a part of them – are more realistic about how politics work,” said Jessica Frisco, 23, a health policy analyst who lives on the Upper West Side. A pledged Bernie delegate, she said she would support Hillary in November “but I’m not going to announce it until after the convention is over.”

Bernie’s endorsement of his rival “wasn’t unexpected,” said Traci Strickland, 37, a South Park Slope lawyer and Bernie volunteer who is also a delegate. She plans to attend the convention and work to shape the party’s platform in keeping with the progressive ideals of her first-choice candidate.

“It’s not easy to invest so much of yourself in something and not have it go the way you want,” acknowledged Karthik Ganapathy, 25, who served as Sanders’ communications director in New York and elsewhere before leaving the campaign after New York’s April primary. But, he added, “Bernie awakened something in the American electorate and especially in young people. As long as people stay engaged, I’m hopeful.”

But Woodhaven Sanders supporter Fenton Li, an actor in his 40s, said Clinton must support campaign finance reform and reducing the influence of lobbyists before he will cast a ballot on her behalf. “My vote will be held until she demonstrates she is no longer a conservative,” Li said.


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