California Delegate: I Won’t Work for Clinton
TRNN correspondent Kwame Rose and California delegate Roberto Alvarez say they felt deflated after Sanders called to support Clinton – From TRNN’s Livestream of the DNC
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back into the studio. We’re just outside the convention center, the Wells Fargo Convention Center where the Democratic Party Convention is being held.
Kwame, you’ve been out in the streets all day, what’s the mood?
KWAME ROSE, TRNN: Right now Bernie Sanders delegates they walked out. They came and took over the media pavilion by sitting down and staging a silent protest. Outside the protest they were still chatting. So the mood it’s like a parade atmosphere. But it’s been like that, the protest we’ve seen all weekend we’ve had thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters come. But although some were crying the whole atmosphere as the entire group it’s been more as a parade like theme. I feel as though that I’ve talked to several people say who say that the revolution is still going on. That Bernie Sanders is—it’s bigger than Bernie Sanders. The Bernie movement is bigger than Bernie Sanders and that this was just a solidification that the Democratic Party wasn’t willing to change this presidential season.
JAY: Now you were at a black lives matter rally earlier. I think a little later on we’ll play some footage from that. Let me do we have any of that lined up yet? Maybe we could work on that? What happened at the black lives matter?
ROSE: The black lives matter protest earlier –the black protestors they basically it was a weird protest. Weird in the sense that it was more organized than we’ve seen at other protests.
JAY: How many people.
ROSE: There was about 2,000 people and organizers ensured that white protestors and white media had to go to the back of the protest and allow the space for a black movement, this part of the resistance for democratic convention would be led by black supporters of Bernie Sanders and Black members of the black lives matter movement. It was fairly organized, fairly structured. Started in North Philadelphia, went to City Hall and then FDR Park. But it was really—even that atmosphere was a really organized—the resistance to the Democratic Convention has been really organized and strategic to not be labeled as violent.
JAY: What was the message of the black lives matter protest?
ROSE: The message was that the Democratic Party does not speak for black population in America. It showed the protestors said they weren’t supporting Hillary Clinton. They weren’t sure who they were going to support. They were going to support the Socialist Party, whether it be or the Green Party, but they just weren’t sure at this moment.
JAY: Now when they say that the Democratic Party doesn’t speak for black people in America, the facts of the matter is Hillary Clinton probably won the nomination because of black votes.
ROSE: And that was the thing. That was something that I bought up to a delegate. The second youngest delegate Daniel, I forget his last name but he’s a member of the 6th congressional district in Florida and he was a black Bernie Sanders supporter. And I said Bernie Sanders failed to secure a black vote or a good portion of the black vote during his campaign and he said it just was above his messaging. His messaging didn’t get out there. He didn’t have the right avenues because of mainstream media. So yes I do think Hillary Clinton will get a substantial amount of the black vote, of course against Donald Trump. But I think it was all you know, for intents and purposes, Bernie Sanders just didn’t have the access to mobilize young black people.
JAY: Now we’re joined from a delegate from California. Could you, if you could introduce yourself and then tell us, you left the hall and I’m wondering did you just leave or did you walk out.
ROBERTO ALVAREZ: My name is Roberto Alvarez and I’m from Southern California, city 38. No we were at the rollcall. We were seeing what was happening, how it was developing. We get upstairs right from the beginning because that they were counting the votes with the super delegates included on it. Which that shouldn’t have happened. Because they should’ve only counted the regular delegates from every state. Because in the morning they asked to vote over there. They had the papers for us to vote. SO they were going to count the tallies then they were going to bring that to the floor. That’s what we were told in the morning.
JAY: You were told that it would just be the elected delegates.
ALVAREZ: That’s what we [were] told all along. Mostly but also Bernie told us that he wants a roll call. They said the first roll call nobody gets the majority of delegates then we have to go with the second one and the super delegates. So we wanted the super delegates to vote to make sure to that that’s what they are supporting, that candidate, in this case Hillary Clinton. Because did you see how this process has evolved. It’s like they had a magic pen somewhere that they add the delegates every time the super delegates, every time they wanted to give an advantage to one candidate and then they don’t want to do it when they see the official rates they remove them. And that’s the media too. And we had noticed that. I mean we’ve been looking at all these numbers all the time because you’re not supposed to count the super delegates at the beginning in every primary or caucus. You’re supposed to count it at the end in the convention.
If somebody wins the majority of delegates then they have the majority of delegates and they are most likely to be the nominee. In this case Hillary has never reached the majority of delegates so they—she needs the super delegates to do that. But they’ve always been tweaking that number. Sometimes they add it, sometimes they remove it.
JAY: Bernie Sanders said he had 46% of the elected delegates. So that means Hillary had enough to win without super delegates.
ALVAREZ: No because the numbers she also had 40 something. Maybe 48. She didn’t have past 50, 50%. The super delegates bring in over the threshold of 50% and that’s why they were going to be bought at—that’s why it was a contested convention.
So we were waiting for that.
JAY: You were angry as soon as California’s vote was announced that it shouldn’t have been announced that way.
ALVAREZ: Absolutely because it shouldn’t have been announced that way.
JAY: We had heard there was some talk that many of the Sanders delegates were going to walk out at some point.
ALVAREZ: They got that information. They said that some delegation, I believe it was Alaska, it was Alaska and they passed the name we communicated via telephone and private messages and they sent us a message that if this thing happens then we are going to be walk outed. It was an open invitation for whoever didn’t feel comfortable with what will happen you should walk out. So I [walked] out and seems like a lot of people did.
JAY: And what point did you walk out? After California’s?
ALVAREZ: At the end. I didn’t wait for them they just said this is the last one and we knew that that was it and I just walked out it [inaud.].
JAY: So as soon as essentially Vermont called for unanimous then you left.
ALVAREZ: Yea more when he give’d conversation to Hillary it was oh that’s it this is over let’s go. So we walk out.
JAY: So how are you feeling about the whole process now. Where are you at in terms of your role in the democratic party? What happens in this elections?
ALVAREZ: Definitely it has been a very difficult experience to digest because we never expect to be so much tie and so much security and so much secrecy on the process because we as a first time delegates in here that is nothing they tell us, well this is going to happen right here, it’s going to happen right there. They always change the timing so you’re not updated with what’s going on. A lot of people can lose the times and go with somewhere else or whatever. So it’s a very convoluted process.
JAY: What’s next for you? Have you been working for Sanders?
JAY: Are you going to work for Clinton?
ALVAREZ: No. 8 years ago I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton because she voted for the Iraq War and it has been almost 8 years and she hasn’t done anything for me to change my mind and support her.
JAY: So you won’t work for her. If you—you’re in California so I guess, it’s not a swing state. If you were in a swing state would it make any difference?
ALVAREZ: Yea it would be. Like a lot of people right now with all the delegations that we are talking about it. They are thinking what is the next step. They know the power that this has been created this revolution of people. This revolution has opened up the eyes of the people and they have realized that they have the power to change things. And that’s a very important thing because all these process of secrecy and the faith placard of democracy is not true at all. And that’s what people have realized but also they have realized they have power that is not the need of so much money as they said all the people has to do is be educated, support the cause, and get involved. And that’s what going to make change. That change is going to happen because people is already working up again about how important it is for them to participate in the process.
JAY: You just haven’t actually said that Kwame, I should introduce Kwame properly, we have a few times before. Kwame Rose was an activist during the Freddie Gray events in Baltimore after kind of critiquing the Sanders campaign, had an exchange with Sanders then actually became a Sanders supporter and spoke for Sanders publically. You were actually an official surrogate weren’t you? So take off your kind of journalistic-y hat and put on your other hat. How did you feel when Sanders called for the endorsement of Hillary?
ROSE: When Sanders first did it on another news network on the morning show—when he first said, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton, ultimately I felt the balloon of the political revolution that he inspired had been burst by a small needle. There’s no point in being on the bandwagon for the Bernie Sanders bandwagon if the driver of the wagon hops off. So for me I felt as if the Bernie Sanders movement had been compromised. Because essentially he said I’m not going to contest Hillary Clinton myself, personally because she’s agreed to compromise on certain issues. It was just a big letdown. It wasn’t the fight that I expected or thought I was led to believe would happen.
JAY: What did you feel? How do you respond to Kwame’s?
ALVAREZ: Absolutely. When that happened everyone had pretty much the same reaction. We have been involved into the delegation and be part of the delegation at that point. We wanted to follow the process. We were hoping that he would have something under his sleeve to do something else at the convention. And that was the thing they said we cannot let him forget about him right now. We have to let the process play let’s see what happens at the end. And that’s what a lot of people were doing all the delegates that were thinking about it. Now that he capitulated with this. Obviously people is disillusioned about what happened and it was very difficult to swallow. Yesterday was very hard when he explained to us at the convention and he again said that he was supporting Hillary Clinton.
JAY: His argument is that Trump represents such a danger. What do you make of that argument?
ALVAREZ: Yea they’ve been playing the fear card since Trump became the nominee of the Republican Party and it is a real threat. But through the past we know that Trump hasn’t doesn’t done anything, he’s just talking and talking. But with experience of Clinton she has done a lot of things that really doesn’t support working people.
JAY: But if you look at the political alliances that Trump is making. For the sake of argument, look at a Rudy Giuliani as the head of the FBI. [Pence] his Vice President is very closely connected to the Koch Brothers and with the neo cons. He’s making alliances with the most reactionary forces there are on the political scene. This isn’t to suggest that the Clinton forces don’t have somewhat similar alliances. But Sanders judgement is that that’s a more dangerous option. You don’t share that idea.
ALVAREZ: No. We do. But that’s why we want the Democratic Party to understand that the stronger candidate to defeat Donald Trump was Bernie Sanders. Because Bernie Sanders in every poll he has been polling better than Hillary Clinton. Since Bernie Sanders declared his nomination for the presidency in the Democratic Party, the numbers of Hillary Clinton has been going down. So we were very close. We were at 45%. She has been going down. She has been losing candidacy since the beginning. So we don’t think she will regain the power that she needs, the support that she needs to overtake Trump. So don’t blame I would not voted for her. Okay? So that’s the thing. If it has to be her issue for the Democratic Party to understand that the revolution that Bernie Sanders has created in the inclusion of these millions of people coming back to the democratic process and they don’t want to give it up one candidate because they love it or they want it or because they want to make history because she’s a female, they need some [inaud.].
JAY: Kwame at the Republican Convention, Sheriff Clark from Milwaukee County and others have directly tied black lives matter movement to the shootings and the killings of cops. It’s not a very far step from there that one could imagine the possibility that if you had a Trump administration head of police, FBI and such controlled by people like Sheriff Clark or Rudy Giuliani, that you could see the arrest and charges perhaps conspiracy against activists and black lives matter. Is this not a particular kind of threat coming from them? Especially for black activists.
ROSE: I don’t think that it’s Donald Trump—is Donald Trump dangerous? Very much so. Rudy Giuliani dangerous? Yes. The rhetoric that Sheriff David Clark puts out represents or misrepresents as a black male, not just a black male but also as a police law enforcement leader, it is very dangerous. It puts fuels to a fire and the fire is wow society isn’t as progressive as it should be. But I also at the same time though, I think that the Republican Party at this point deserves to win the election. In the sense that the Democratic Party, we didn’t see as many anti-Trump supporters as we’ve seen anti-Hillary supporters or anti-Hillary demonstrators here in Philadelphia.
JAY: Yea but who bears the consequences of that winning? It’s not a football game.
ROSE: Yea but ultimately the Democratic Party didn’t put their pieces in the right way. With the Wikileaks scandal that came out, we saw solidification with concerns that were raised by Bernie Sanders and his movement.
JAY: There’s no question the enablers of Trump is the Democratic Party leadership. This whole 8 years of Obama administration. The increase of economic inequality. All of that. The soil for Trump was tilled and watered by the Democratic Party but who’s going to be bear the consequences of that?
ROSE: So we’ll have to bear the consequences of it. But also the Democratic Party bears most of the consequences.
JAY: Or the responsibility. Not necessarily the consequences.
ROSE: We saw the GOP unify around the candidate essentially right? Well [inaud.] Ted Cruz. Well delegates said we have to support Donald Trump because Hillary Clinton will be president and he’s bad. The Democratic Party screams Donald Trump is bad but yet won’t have more open arms to include Bernie Sanders supporters or just be a little bit progressive enough to give Bernie Sanders or a large faction of Bernie Sanders supporters on board.
JAY: What do you make of that argument?
ALVAREZ: Yea it’s uh—
JAY: Latinos are going to suffer the worst.
ALVAREZ: All the minorities will suffer.
JAY: Latinos, they obviously are particularly being targeted.
ALVAREZ: It is a rhetorical fear. The fear monger that is out there. We understand that but I came over here it was a republican candidate that passed amnesty for everybody so it was just interesting that the Democratic Party has not be supporting immigrants that much. So yea it’s the fear right there and its still some time for us to decide what we’re going to be doing. So we have seen the power that we have gained with this new political revolution and it will be up to us to see how we are going to be served better. If people decide to go and reform with inside the Democratic Party they are going to be supporting Hillary Clinton. Maybe giving chances 4 years and maybe we find a more progressive candidate for the next 4 years and we’ll take care of it. If not they want to go with the Green Party.
JAY: That seems to be one of the ideas is to try to make this a one term presidency.
ALVAREZ: Exactly and it wouldn’t be the same thing with Donald Trump. He will end up being only one terms president. The problem is that how much damage he will create in 4 years. But also with W. Bush, all the damage he created in 8 years. A lot of times we don’t have much to do in all of it. But yea we will pay the consequences. Every citizen in the country pays the consequences of spending. Increasing the military spending with a great cost of the lives of the people and start taking away all the social programs that benefit the community. And it has been happening for a long time. And that’s why with Bernie telling us that enough is enough, people have been waking up today and see that we have the power to take it back. So now we have to relax a little bit, to think about it, and to be very thoughtful about the decision we’re going to be making in the short future.
JAY: Right. Alright thank you both for joining us. Thank you very much for joining us on the Real News Network.
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