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Brown: Sanders backers still want to be heard

Activists including hundreds of environmentalists and Bernie Sanders' supporters gather before the start of the Democratic National Convention on Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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PHILADELPHIA — As Democrats open their convention here Monday, their main order of business would seem clear:

Wrangle invitations to the best parties.

Just kidding, the real answer is:

Find a way to beat Donald Trump.

But before they can get to that point, they still have some internal family issues to work out between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders after passions were inflamed anew by an email scandal involving the Democratic National Committee.

Those divisions were evident in the Illinois contingent that checked into its hotel Sunday, the delegates gathering in the lobby to collect their credentials and goody bags — and work on those party invites.

It’s not as if they are warring camps in a replay of 1968 or 1972, but for the first time in a while, the losing candidate controls a sizable enough minority of delegates that they could disrupt the convention both inside the hall and on the streets, if they choose.


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I would have thought it was time for the Sanders’ camp to disarm and stand down, but I’ve been out of step on pretty much everything during this election cycle, and there’s no reason this should be any different.

So far, Sanders’ supporters have not shown they are quite ready to postpone the revolution, although they will be looking for signals from the candidate Monday when he is scheduled to address them privately before the opening gavel.

“It will be interesting,” Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Clinton delegate, observed with a wry smile. “There’s a lot at stake.”


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Raoul said Sanders will need to make a more overt endorsement of Clinton than he has so far if hopes to bring along all of his followers, and even if he does, Raoul wonders whether he can.

Troy LaRaviere, the ousted principal of Blaine Elementary School and newly elected president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, is here as a Sanders delegate.

LaRaviere, who made a campaign commercial for Sanders that became part of the case to fire him, didn’t sound like he was ready to sing Clinton’s praises.

“This isn’t about candidates. It’s about issues,” LaRaviere said, arguing there’s no candidate left to champion the issues Sanders did.

But he also said: “I’m not here to act alone. We’re here as a delegation. We need to confer with each other. We need to confer with the candidate that we’re behind.”

Theresa Mah, a Sanders delegate who just won the Democratic nomination to be the new state representative from Chinatown, said she’s ready to support Clinton.

“I think the prospect of a Trump presidency is so dangerous, and there’s so much at stake,” she said.

LaRaviere didn’t disagree, but added:

“There’s what we’re against, and I think we’re all against a Trump presidency, and then there’s what we’re for,” he said, explaining that many Sanders delegates don’t want the issues they support “being submerged in the name of fear of the Trump presidency.”

Nobody should have to give up on their issues, and nobody should lose sight of what’s at stake.

A Twitter List by Suntimes