Bernie Sanders supporters lash out at press for calling nomination for Clinton

By Robert Costa

Bernie Sanders addresses supporters at a really in California as news outlets announced that Hillary Clinton had clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Photo / AP
Bernie Sanders addresses supporters at a really in California as news outlets announced that Hillary Clinton had clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Photo / AP

Unbridled fury about the media and the Democratic establishment rippled through a crowd of Bernie Sanders supporters following reports that Hillary Clinton had clinched the Democratic presidential nomination.

As thousands gathered on the lip of San Francisco Bay on a cold, foggy night, there were angry shouts as people thumbed through news stories on their phones, many of them turning to each other in exasperation to read aloud articles to fellow rally-goers.

The scene at Crissy Field was an apt emblem of the progressive movement that Sanders has led over the past year, an ascent that saw the 74-year-old senator from Vermont rise from being a long shot to a national political force who has roused millions.

Many of the people who were spread out on the grass said they are far from ready to see Sanders cede the nomination to Clinton. There were urgent calls for him to fight on to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

And most of the dozen interviewed by The Washington Post were deeply bitter about news organisations, which they said had called the race too soon.

"Disgusting. Absolutely horrible to hear," said Travis Fox, 31, of San Carlos, California. "But you know what, I'm more inspired to support Bernie Sanders. He should go all the way."

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP

"How can you call this on the eve of the California primary?" asked Jacob Chase, 50, who lives in a boat nearby. He leaned up against a metal fence and shared his view with others. "The media is trying to suppress the vote and they're trying to anoint her, they're doing an anointment process."

Jennifer Larson, who lives in Marin, California, and works in bio-technology, nodded her head as Chase spoke. She recalled instantly growing sad as she walked to the event today under the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge and saw the evening news alert that was buzzing in her pocket.

"My first thought was: Of course this isn't a coincidence," she said.

"You know what? I'm not even a big Bernie person. I'm in this for ideology. I don't think what Bernie wants to do is really possible to do, but I think he should see this through. That he should get that chance," Larson said. "We have to start recognising in this country that everyone has a voice."

John Gates, 29, who works with children who have autism, was roaming alone following rock musician Dave Matthews's acoustic set. He said Sanders should not quit - and that he would never really trust the media again.

"I don't think this race is over at all," Gates said. "People have to realise that what we're seeing on television and in the media is an illusion and it's been pushed too far. They can't decide."

When asked what he would do this fall if the general-election campaign came down to Clinton and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, Gates said he would write-in Sanders.

"It'll be a protest vote," he said.

Some older liberals in the audience, who spoke of Sanders as an icon of sorts for a generation of activists whose politics were forged in the 1960s, said today's reports were distressing. They sprinkled in advice with their irritation and urged Sanders to shape the Democratic Party in the coming weeks, win or lose.

"Regardless, he's got to preserve this movement," said retired college professor Dennis Evans, 67. "I want to see him take the lead on the platform, maybe consider being Clinton's vice president. I really hope he stays involved."

- Washington Post

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