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Editorial: Bernie Sanders shows class when sandbagged

A Bernie Sanders supporter holds up a sign on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. / AFP PHOTO / Saul Loeb

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz wanted to stand at the podium and hammer down the gavel Monday to open the Democratic National Convention.

Talk about clueless.

This is how the Democratic Party would draw Bernie Sanders supporters into the fold, rally the troops for Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump in November?

Just days earlier, leaked emails proved that the Democratic National Committee, which Schultz chaired, had been biased in favor of Clinton — and against Sanders — all through the primary elections. Schultz’ presence at the convention podium on Monday would have been an insult to Sanders and his supporters, who had complained for months that the DNC was just an arm of the Clinton campaign.

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Fortunately, Schultz gave up the gavel in time. All it took was a lot of people at a breakfast meeting shouting “Shame! Shame!” Also fortunately, Sen. Sanders proved to be anything but clueless himself. Understanding the stakes in this election, he not only stood by his endorsement of Clinton, but pushed the message hard.

“Brothers and sisters, this is the real world that we live in,” Sanders told booing supporters at a Monday afternoon rally. “We have got to defeat Donald Trump, and we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.”

And then late Monday night, in a rousing convention speech, just to be clear there was no doubt of where he stood, he shouted it again: “Based on her ideas and leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.”

Nothing in the emails, released by WikiLeaks, says to us that Sanders might have won the Democratic presidential nomination had the DNC not played favorites. But the emails amount to a legitimate scandal for a political party that boasts “democratic” as part of its name. The democratic process includes no provisions for a coronation.

Schultz had no choice but to resign as chair of the Democratic National Committee. The only question is who will resign next, as they should. Those emails flew in many directions.

To ask Sanders’ supporters to put their fury aside now and support Clinton — enthusiastically — is a tall order. They were never wild about her in the first place. She is, for them, too centrist, too calculating, too compromised.

But if Sanders’ supporters believe, as he believes, that a Trump presidency represents a true threat to our nation’s rule of law, civil liberties and security, they will do just that. And, we predict, they will look back one day and be glad they did.

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