Don’t belittle Sanders supporters

Editor’s Note: Kayleigh McEnany is a CNN commentator and supporter of Donald Trump. She graduated from Harvard Law School with a juris doctor. She received her Bachelor of Science in International Politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and studied politics at Oxford University. The views expressed in this commentary are her own.

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The Democratic Party convention is taking place this week in Philadelphia

Kayleigh McEnany: Bernie Sanders supporters are warriors, fighting against an establishment elite

CNN  — 

On Monday night, Bernie Sanders fell on his sword for Hillary Clinton, endorsing her candidacy for president and bowing under the pressure of the Democratic establishment. But Bernie’s conciliatory endorsement does not negate the very real contentions of the protesters passionately shouting their grievances outside and within the convention hall.

Heading into the convention, Sanders supporters were rocked by the news that the purportedly unbiased Democratic National Committee had actively discussed various strategies to defeat Sanders, including appearing to invoke his Jewish heritage, portraying him as an atheist, and floating stories of a disorganized Sanders campaign. The leaked DNC emails corroborated some Sanders supporters’ deepest fears.

Kayleigh McEnany

For Sanders supporters, the circumstantial evidence of a biased DNC and party system already seemed strong: primary debates buried on weekends and behind sporting events, superdelegates vowing support to Clinton before voting even began, and an unusual caucus process in Nevada that seemed to favor Clinton. But circumstantial suspicions were validated by direct evidence when leaked DNC emails finally provided evidence of an organization seemingly determined to advocate for a hand-picked choice, not necessarily that of the people.

As a Donald Trump supporter, the battle to elevate the will of the people above that of the establishment is one with which I empathize. It is a battle that we fought in the Republican Party amid talks of delegates overcoming the popular vote. But it is a battle we won in the nomination of Trump. For Sanders supporters, a hard-fought battle was lost, and vindication of their message did not come without protest.

Across the convention hall, signs of disunion abounded. Despite Sanders “ambassadors” attempting to tamp down protests, Sanders himself texting his supporters, and the Sanders campaign warning the Clinton campaign about potential unrest, dissatisfied supporters still found ways to express their frustration. Momentary “Bernie” and “TPP” chants interrupted speeches, including at the very start of the convention. Some supporters edited their “Love Trumps Hate” signs to “Love Trumps Hill” while some Michigan delegates stood with tape over their mouths in protest.

But outside the convention hall, protests were far louder and more fervent.

Protesters marched across Philadelphia chanting, “H*** no DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary.” And on the Sunday leading into the convention, Sanders supporters took to the streets of Philadelphia shouting “Lock Her Up,” a chant that echoed the chant of some Republican delegates.

The disunity on display at the DNC was deeply ironic, because now-former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was only last week tweeting the following to the RNC chairman: “Hey ‪@Reince‬ – I’m in Cleveland if you need another chair to help keep your convention in order.”

It appears the Democratic convention was in need of some order of its own. And perhaps we are seeing not just a convention in turmoil, but a party in turmoil as well. A new CNN/ORC Poll showed more than a third of Sanders supporters would not back Hillary Clinton.

The disappointed Sanders supporters were met with a response from the stage this evening when Sarah Silverman said to Bernie or Bust supporters, “You’re being ridiculous.”

Yet far from being ridiculous, Sanders supporters are warriors, fighting against an establishment elite that Republicans defeated in the nomination of Donald Trump. The tears they shed across the arena as Sanders spoke, and the impassioned cheers they gave that delayed Sanders’ speech by minutes, suggest a group of individuals who are not “ridiculous,” but rather deeply committed to a cause that transcends party loyalty.