Portia Boulger, Featured in Viral Video Viewed by Millions, Explains her Anger at DNC
Boulger tells Paul Jay that DNC leadership attacked democracy itself; she still implores superdelegates to support Sanders or risk a Trump victory
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay, and we’re in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention.
A video went viral on YouTube and on the internet today. More than 3.5 million views. Portia Boulger, coming out of a meeting with Bernie Sanders and his delegates, was furious. And here’s a clip of what she had to say.
SPEAKER: Is Trump better?
PORTIA BOULGER: I don’t give a fuck about Trump, okay? Trump is dangerous for this country and so is Hillary Clinton. What’s she going to do for me? What’s she going to do for my children? What is she going to do for my community? Is she going to frack the hell out of it? Is she going to put more of the soldiers on the ground?
SPEAKER: I love this woman. She’s a delegate.
BOULTER: Do you believe one damn word a woman like her says? How can America believe this when yesterday she proved to us that when you’re a corrupt person she’s going to promote you? What did she do with Debbie Wasserman Schultz? She promoted her. So what does that say about the Democratic Party? We need to clean house.
JAY: Portia Boulger is a Sanders delegate, at-large delegate from Ohio. As you heard, she’s not very happy with the way this convention is turning out, the way this whole primary has turned out. And in fact, she joins us right here in the studio to talk about it. Thank you very much for joining us.
BOULGER: Thank you, Paul.
JAY: So who were you angry at?
BOULGER: I was angry at the system. I was angry at the Democratic bosses. Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned under severe pressure. The Donna Braziles–I wrote this person’s name down so I wouldn’t forget–Luis Miranda, Brad Marshall. I’m very angry with these people because they have stolen my democracy. They have gutted my party. I’ve been a Democrat for many years. I’ve got a lot of skin in this game. I have my blood and my sweat and my tears. And they are stealing my party.
I don’t know if you’re a Democrat, but every Democrat out there, they are stealing our party. We have got to save the Democratic Party.
JAY: Now, they would argue they won the primary. They didn’t need superdelgates to win. They won more votes. So how are they stealing it?
BOULGER: Have you read WikiLeaks? We knew all along what was going on. The long lines, the voter suppression. The–how many hundreds of thousands of people’s affiliation with the party flipped from Democrat ot Republican. All the craziness over the crossout over ballots in California. How many voting polls, places were shut down in Puerto Rico, in Arizona. I’ll never forget watching the elderly people collapse in the heat after having to stand in such long lines to actually exercise one of the most sacred rights any person can have, is the right to vote.
So we knew. We knew. And I know they knew, too. And so the Donna Brazile–.
JAY: WikiLeaks has made it pretty clear how deliberate all this, much of this, was.
BOULGER: Yes. And it ain’t a Russian plot, Paul.
JAY: Well, the only possible Russian plot was hacking and revealing, not the doing, so.
BOULGER: Well, actually, the man doesn’t even really live in Russia, does he?
JAY: I don’t think so.
BOULGER: So I can’t recall where–it’s a country close there. But this is Karl Rove talk. This is Republican talk. When you go after a person’s religion to try to demonize them, to try to harm their reputation–.
JAY: Which came out on the WikiLeaks, that this was one of the plans.
BOULGER: Yes. So it’s wrong. And it’s destroying my democracy. It’s destroying your democracy. It’s destroying the party that I want to save.
JAY: And why is Clinton so unacceptable to you?
BOULGER: Because she’s not honest. I can’t–I’ve been very active in politics since I was 19 years old. That’s when they changed the vote to 18. And at the age of 19 I was out walking and knocking on doors and making phone calls, and helping people raise money in my local community, in city council and mayoral races.
And guess what? I was a young Republican. I was an Eisenhower Republican, because Dwight D. Eisenhower, first of all, he supported the Equal Rights Amendment, which we’ve been fighting for for 100 years, by the way. He was pro-union. He was an environmentalist president. And after having served in war and saw the horror of it, he didn’t want to have to take this country to war anymore.
So fast-forwarding, when Ronald Reagan became, when Ronald Reagan came after the air traffic controllers, I realized that the Republican Party left me. As a union carpenter working on job sites, people were very upset with me that I was a Republican. But it’s about values, it’s about issues. So I became a Democrat, because the Republicans came after something near and dear to my heart.
JAY: And you, before that video that went viral, you were in that meeting with Bernie Sanders. What did he say to the delegates?
BOULGER: He talked about–he reminded us, he underscored the amazing accomplishments that the revolution has brought forth in this country. He reminded us this is about us, and I think that’s extremely important, that we all understand this revolution is about us. Bernie has helped us, but we have helped ourselves. And we have to continue to help ourselves.
So that was the first part of his message. The second was, and it was really driving home, that this revolution will continue, and Bernie wants to be a part of that. And so he plans meetups all across the country to continue the revolution.
And then the pivot came. And it was about Trump, and how badly we have to defeat Trump. That it is dire that we beat Trump. And–.
JAY: So what do you think of that? Because in the speech, in your video, it starts with “I don’t give an f– about Trump.”
BOULGER: That’s exactly why I’m saying it. It’s time for the voters to wake up and understand that Hillary Clinton can’t win this race. Tomorrow is a pivot point for America and the entire country. The superdelegates are scared to death. She–what she, a new poll came out today and she’s down 5-6 points. Nate Silver came out and said if the election was being held today that Hillary Clinton would lose.
The superdelegates I know are shaking in their boots, because they know it is up to them to decide whether or not Trump is going to win or not. It’s not about me. It’s not about all those people that supported Bernie. We were behind a winning candidate.
JAY: And you’re referring to tomorrow, being Tuesday, will be the roll call–
JAY: –on the nomination of Hillary Clinton for the nominee of the party. And what you’re suggesting, there’s still a possibility superdelegates could decide not to. Although you’d have to admit it’s kind of unlikely.
BOULGER: I implore to them. I implore to them to save our country. Save our country from Trump. You, they are backing a candidate that cannot win. She has not–how long ago was it that she hit 50 percent? You can’t win an election–I’m from Ohio. I am in a swing state. I live in Ross County, which is a swing county. Hillary Clinton may be able to win Ross County but she’s not going to win Ohio. There’s too many people in there that just–.
I’m sorry, I don’t hate Hillary Clinton. I don’t hate people. I hate what she’s standing for, which is the establishment that’s taking my party to the depths of hell, as far as I’m concerned.
JAY: There was a moment when Sanders spoke to the delegates, where he said to defeat Trump, we’re going to have to elect Hillary. I don’t think he sounded as reluctant as I’m positioning it. But some people suggested, there were some boos at that point, but you didn’t think so.
BOULGER: I heard no boos, but what–you hear my voice. I was saying we want you. We want you. And when he said how dangerous Trump was, our fists went in the air and said, she is too. Hillary is, too. And she is dangerous. She is–and I don’t hate Donald Trump. He’s another human being on this earth. I do not like what he stands for.
JAY: Are you disappoionted in Sanders endorsing Clinton? He said he would in the beginning, so–.
BOULGER: I knew it was coming. On that day that I heard him do it it broke my heart, because I felt like–you know, I keep reminding myself, because it’s kind of unique, isn’t it, that somembody’s actually honest. But I had to keep reminding myself, this is a man of his word. And sadness from the truth is better than happiness from lies. And once Bernie crosses the path of not being truthful, then that’s another whole ball game that can be negative.
So Bernie, Bernie stood by his word, and it makes me very sad. Bernie Sanders is my champion, one of them. I’m not Bernie’s sheep. He’s not my savior. But he is the first absolute solid, pure candidate that I’ve ever been behind, and I’m 63.
So Bernie also, there was a moment there that touched me. As we were screaming, “She is, too,” I didn’t hear anybody boo, but it was an explosion of noise. Bernie’s head went down. You could feel the weight on this man. He loves this country, and anybody that’s angry with Bernie, please redirect your anger toward a system that is stealing our democracy. Put your anger toward a system that is killing our party. Tomorrow is a real defining moment in the Democratic Party. They are either going to get behind a candidate that’s going to lose to Donald Trump, or they’re going to get behind a candidate that can whip his ass.
So it’s up to the superdelegates. It’s up to the people who are running this party to say, whoops, things have changed now. Why don’t they just come on out and tell the truth?
JAY: You’re a very political person.
JAY: What’s next for you, and what do you think is next for the movement?
BOULGER: I believe that what’s next for the movement is to look to leaders like Nina Turner and Tulsi [Gabbard], and RoseAnn DeMoro. Look to leaders like Keith Ellison, and although he’s not an elected official, Ben Jealous. And really work hard to get the Democratic Party to put them in position. Why should any of these people that were a part of this blaming culture that now exists within the Democratic Party have their job?
JAY: Do you still see this as a fight within the Democratic Party?
BOULGER: It clearly is. Now, I hope one day that our country has more than two parties. I would love to see our country become a country that has a coalition government, so that we don’t have a winner-take-all. You know, and everybody can get something. And I believe that if people are willing to work hard, and we have honest parties that don’t rig the system, then who knows what we can do? Look at what’s going on in Spain right now, in two years how far the new people’s party has gone there.
But what I want to really emphasize is that I want to save my party. This is my party.
JAY: Thanks very much for joining us.
Thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.
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