Bernie Sanders’ Georgia delegates get their marching orders: ‘Make yourselves heard’

Tim Franzen instructs Bernie Sanders' supporters to tell convention delegates seated behind him what they should try and accomplish this month at the Democratic National Convention. AARON GOULD SHEININ / asheinin@ajc.com

Tim Franzen instructs Bernie Sanders’ supporters to tell convention delegates seated behind him what they should try and accomplish this month at the Democratic National Convention. AARON GOULD SHEININ / asheinin@ajc.com

Bernie Sanders may have finally ended his bid for the White House, but his supporters are not interested in giving up the fight for pushing Sanders’ ideas.

More than 70 Sanders supporters braved an under-cooled theater at the Mammal Gallery in downtown Atlanta on Saturday to give Sanders’ Georgia delegates to this month’s Democratic National Convention some guidance.

It wasn’t always gentle.

“Make yourselves heard at this convention,” Dani Washburn told the group. “Do everything you can to scare the hell out of the Democratic Party. Let them know we’re here. It’s not just a personality cult that is going away overnight. We want the Democratic Party to change, but we’re not going to wait for it.”

Eric Robertson, political director of the Teamsters Local 728, said part of Washburn’s demands had already been accomplished, but more remains to be done.

“Talk about scaring the Democratic establishment,” he said. “I think we already did that. Now we have to show them why they were scared.”

Robertson said Sanders supporters in Philadelphia should continue to fight to convince the party to fully oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade deal that both Sanders and presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton oppose but that President Barack Obama supports.

The Democratic National Committee’s platform committee this month voted to vaguely oppose trade deals that are anti-worker but an effort to make it explicit that the party opposes TPP failed. While Sanders’ side won concessions in the platform fight, Robertson said the delegates still have a chance to do more.

“I know there’s not supposed to be a floor fight on TPP, but nobody is going to be able to tell you that once you get on that floor.”

It was not all fire and brimstone. Phil Lunney, legislative liaison for the Fulton Democrats, acknowledged that he is part of the party establishment and vowed to continue to push the party from outside the convention.

“You all work it from the inside,” he said.

Starting in Iowa and New Hampshire, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has brought you every key moment in the 2016 presidential race. A team of AJC journalists will be at this month’s Republican and Democratic national conventions, continuing to provide that deep coverage.
To track major political developments, check in with the Political Insider blog at http://politics.blog.ajc.com/ or the Georgia Politics page at http://www.myajc.com/s/news/georgia-politics/.

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