'Deli-gates': The Democratic Party’s Divide Still 'Berns' in Philly

ABC's Jon Karl had a candid discussion with four Democrats in Philly.

ByABC News
July 26, 2016, 2:28 PM

— -- The divisions are still raw between many Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters on the ground in Philadelphia, with some Sanders supporters vowing to continue acts of protest against the presumptive party nominee.

After sitting down with Republican delegates over deli sandwiches in Cleveland last week, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl joined four Democratic delegates for food and conversation at Jim’s Steaks in Philadelphia in the Democratic National Convention edition of "Deli-gates."

Sanders supporter and Colorado delegate Gabriel McArthur says he was one of the delegates shouting in protest when Clinton’s name was mentioned at the convention yesterday. He plans to walk out on Clinton’s speech Thursday night.

“The fact of the matter is we’re angry,” McArthur said. “And it’s not just with Hillary Clinton, it’s with the Democratic Party itself, we’ve seen these DNC leaks, I don’t feel there’s been enough recourse for that. We’re moving about this as if it is business as usual; this is not business as usual.”

So what does McArthur plan to do come November?

“I’m going to be focusing on down ballot races, I will not be voting for Hillary Clinton,” McArthur said. “I have no love for Trump, but I also have no love for Hillary.”

Challenged by Florida delegate and Clinton supporter Ken Russell that his non-vote could translate into a de facto vote for Trump, McArthur was not swayed.

“If it comes under the very rare circumstance that my vote is the one that decides it for Trump, then I suppose that it means that she wasn’t popular enough to garner enough votes to win,” McArthur replied.

Maria Quinones-Sanchez, a city council representative in Philadelphia and Clinton delegate, praised the work of Sanders supporters but said it’s time to get onboard with the party, with Clinton at the helm.

“You can get angry but you can’t throw a tantrum,” Quinones-Sanchez said. “You’ve got to become part of the family, and sometimes we hold our nose."

Russell echoed Quinones-Sanchez in applauding the message of the Sanders’ campaign but said it’s time for the party to come together.

“I agree with a lot of the things he says about the party and what needs to change but I’m not willing to flush this election down the toilet in order to make a statement about those goals,” he said. “I’m willing to fight and work toward those changes but not at the expense of having Donald Trump as president.”

Hawah Ahmad, a Nevada delegate and Sanders supporter, identifies with the anger being expressed by supporters of the Vermont senator but said she will back Clinton in the general election.

“A lot of the anger is they felt like their votes didn’t matter, that their voice didn’t matter,” Ahmad said, explaining the discord on display by Sanders supporters.

“We … have to give everyone space and let them grieve the loss,” she continued, estimating that about 40 percent of Sanders supporters are not yet ready to vote for Clinton. “We have to kind of stomach that this is the best that both parties had to offer and go forward from here.”

McArthur said he’s seeing Sanders supports choose Green Party candidate Jill Stein over Clinton.

“In Colorado, people are leaving for Jill Stein in droves,” McArthur said. “I’m not condoning that, I’m not encouraging that, but I recognize that that’s a reality that we have to deal with.”

There was one non-candidate that all the delegates could agree on: First Lady Michelle Obama, who delivered a well-received address to the convention Monday night.

“I couldn’t help but think to myself, 'Why aren’t we nominating you?'" McArthur said. “I could get behind her and support her all day long.”

Quinones-Sanchez said she’d like to see the first lady return to Chicago and run for public office herself. It’s an idea that Mrs. Obama has rejected on multiple occasions.

But Quinones-Sanchez said the history of nominating the first woman as the candidate for a major party is not lost on her.

“I can tell you as a woman, for women of color, it’s not just about that glass ceiling it really is about opening that door,” Quinones-Sanchez said. “Michelle Obama said it best yesterday the fact that her daughters will have the audacity to believe women can do anything in this world is hugely important.”

Ahmad, on the other hand, said Clinton’s gender didn’t hold much sway with her, but noted that the United States was far behind the rest of the world when it comes to electing a woman.

“We’re really behind; we have other countries all over the world that already have women presidents,” she said. “I’m not all about the gender, I think it’s great but I also think the fact that we live in the U.S. and it’s the year 2016, we are behind.”

ABC News' Matthew Wargo and Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.

Related Topics