Sanders Delegate Portia Boulger Expresses Grief After Call for Unanimous Support of Clinton
Portia Boulger and Charles Lenchner respond to Sanders and say their next step is to get involved in the down ticket races – From TRNN’s Livestream of the DNC
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Now joining me in the studio again is Charles Lenchner from People for Bernie and again is Portia Boulger, right?
PORTIA BOULGER: Boulger.
JAY: Boulger and Portia can barely talk because you have been talking and making some waves around this place. For those that don’t know, Portia did a video yesterday.
JAY: Portia did a video yesterday expressing some of her anger at things and we interviewed her last night which you can find on our site. I don’t know, what is it up to? 4 million views in like a day?
BOULGER: Actually over 8 million views.
JAY: Over 8 million views? 8 million views in about a day and a half maybe. We have this interview with Portia and the whole video you can find on our homepage.
BOULGER: No wait it might be 6.5. It’s a very high number.
JAY: I would say in a day that’s a high number. So how long did you stay around for the roll call? You were in there for the roll call?
BOULGER: I stayed until they called Vermont.
JAY: So Vermont.
BOULGER: I opted to be able to reach out and touch Bernie Sanders because Vermont was right next to Ohio.
JAY: And you’re just sorry no one knows; I should’ve said you’re a delegate at large from Ohio. You’ve worked in the Democratic Party for years and years and Bernie stands up and calls for the unanimous endorsement.
BOULGER: I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to get out of there. And I had an opportunity to kind of bond with the secret service agent and I said please let me leave. And we had to wait until Bernie and Jane got through. And I said please let me leave and he said I’ll give you the signal and even went so far as to do some hand signals and he let me get out of there because I felt like I was going to explode. We’re watching democracy be destroyed before our eyes and people are celebrating. We just watched the police state here. Just watched a police officer grab a man and pull him into a tent. And I watched a parade of police officers out on the street. Our country is in severe danger and people are celebrating. They think people like me are out of my mind.
JAY: What do you mean they wouldn’t let you leave? You were a delegate. You were sitting in the Ohio delegation. Bernie calls for unanimous endorsement. You’ve been a tremendous, massive Bernie supporter. But you wanted to walk out and they wanted to block you from exiting.
BOULGER: Well I’m not upset about that because they were protecting Bernie.
JAY: Oh you had to walk near Bernie in order to leave. Okay that’s a different story.
BOULGER: But I wanted to speak to that because not all security, not all secret service, not all law enforcement are bad guys and this was a beautiful example of these folks are human and all these people that are being made to march around him, they’ve contained us in this building. They’re just doing what they’re told. So it’s the higher ups. Just like in the Democratic Party. It’s the bosses.
JAY: I’m going to ask one of our technicians here to fix your microphone. Somebody’s got to get over here. I’m sorry your mic moved and I know that this is all live but we’re going to–in fact while we’re fixing Portia’s mic let’s go. Charles Lenchner from People for Bernie. What do you say to Portia who says–who’s distraught almost with what’s happened with the Democratic Party.
CHARLES LENCHNER: Well first of all I want to say thank you for all the amazing work you did. However–whatever the results were, we wouldn’t have won this much, this many delegates this much attention without the wonderful work of folks like you and so many others. But I also feel like I want to say in addition to the dangers you’re talking about or the bad experiences we’re having around this dissonance of all this celebration when we’re feeling disappointment at Bernie not getting the nomination, is there any space for being proud of what we’ve accomplished together?
BOULGER: Oh I’m proud as hell. But right now, at this moment I’m afraid for–
LENCHNER: I was just going to say I feel like it’s time for a few victory laps, not just the one that’s being done by Hillary but also what team Bernie has been able to accomplish and I’d like to build on that and see what are the possibilities for 2017. We know they didn’t nationally and in many areas the Democratic Party is not a neutral container for everyone who wants to compete in a primary or win support for the race that they’re running. But it’s more so today as a result of what Bernie has done than it was last year.
JAY: I’m sorry Portia, we’ve fixed your microphone.
BOULGER: No problem, if I could come back to what Charles was saying, I am extremely proud of what we’ve done but right now, right here is not time to celebrate the people’s extreme–we have been rigged okay? They stole our votes Charles. They stole our votes. What other power do we have left? So right now, as immensely prideful almost, I’m so happy to have worked with you all these months. So I have a lot to celebrate. I have actually extreme pride in being able to have walked with the people who came in this building to show our displeasure. Right now, right here, what a half hour ago? Our democracy was–the stealing of our democracy was celebrated okay? So I can’t be real happy in this moment. However, tomorrow, I will pick my emotions up off the floor and I will fight. I’m going to go have some martinis here in a few minutes and I’ll have a good time. I celebrate everything that we’ve done. People for Bernie has just, I stand and tip my hat to you, okay?
LENCHNER: Thank you.
BOULGER: But right now America has to be on alert. Am I ever going to be able to trust that my vote will count? Will it even mean a damn if I teach my little grandchildren that you need to vote? I planned to take them into the voting booth with me just like I did my children. Will I be being a fool? I don’t think I’m being theatrical.
LENCHNER: I just feel for that and it’s almost an awkward conversation because in my head in the sort of the most classically male way I’m thinking about 2017 and percentages and what you know how do we figure things out so this doesn’t happen again. But I want to honor the fact that you and many others are having such powerful emotions around what we’ve been through.
We’re at the end of this marathon and its really hard. I’ll confess, when I wake up, when I go to bed I’m sort of thinking about oh how we going to use this in Brooklyn, in New York. What are we going to do so that the next DNC chair is someone that’s going to be truly neutral and welcoming of everyone. I’m thinking about how at the New York State delegation meetings I was watching the speakers this morning almost every single one of them was a Hillary supporter an elected or a famous VIP.
They had not a single representative of the grassroots. And I asked a question, what would it look like if it was different? How do I get there? This is my first convention as a delegate. I’d never been in that room. So I now have sort of a little bit of a standing to sort of be like okay party what are we going to do to get better and to do it without subordinating myself to the values and practices that they’ve perfected but instead to see where are their weak spots where folks like me can use the leverage we have to make essential changes.
BOULGER: Well I’ve been thinking about the same things and in particular the other day when Hillary Clinton decided to promote Debbie Wasserman Shultz. So we can [inaud.] and I thought when I went into teaching I was going to go into la-la land but the bad teachers, the teachers that hurt the children, the teachers that don’t do their jobs get promoted up, okay? So that’s a culture in our entire country. Hillary Clinton taught the world that if you lie and you cheat and you treat people badly, if you go after their religion and try to shame them for it that’s okay. Come see me and I’m going to promote you up.
So we need to clean house every single one of the executive directors or chairs they need to go. And then we bring in the people. We bring in the Nina Turners. We brining in the Talsis. We bring in Keith Ellison. We bring in Ben [Gellis] and we start over. Because until people can believe in their party and this is my party, I have a lot of skin in this game. I have given during President Obama, 08-2012, 12-14 hours a day. My gardens were down. My feet were–
JAY: What will you do next in terms of this election? What role are you going to play?
BOULGER: What am I going to do? I’m going to try to work really hard for down ballet candidates. I’m going to try to help people understand the importance of voting and holding their people accountable. I want to hear what Sherrod Brown my senator, the progressive senator from Ohio’s got to tell me, a person who’s given him my blood, sweat, and tears for many years. I want to look at Sherrod and I’ll get the chance. I want to say what are you going to do about voter fraud in this state? Ted Strickland they’re friends of mine. I’m going to talk to. I want to be re-elected, don’t get me wrong. Senator—I won’t call him senator he’s now a governor. Governor Strickland running for the senate against Portman. Under the Clinton administration stood tall for the people and he voted against NAFTA.
JAY: So what in the moment that Bernie called for the unanimous decision, what were you feeling? Why’d you have to leave?
BOULGER: I’m sorry?
JAY: Why did you have to leave at the time Bernie wanted to make it unanimous?
BOULGER: Because I didn’t want to cry in front of everybody.
JAY: What’s that?
BOULGER: I didn’t want to cry in front of everyone. You know when I get really, really upset I just got to get away.
LENCHNER: Not to kind of shift the atmosphere completely but I’m thinking about this morning, the New York state delegation of Bernie supporters decided to create a new state wide organization.
BOULGER: That’s beautiful.
LENCHNER: And folks are thinking about who the leadership of their particular congressional district might be and how to make sure that it’s diverse representative and how to make sure that this kind of effort is thought through all the way before anything like a press release is sent out. People are thinking very seriously how to do politics the right way. And in that sense out of this despair of loss, of defeat, I think at the local level with us a community of people that Bernie brought together we can really get a lot done.
BOULGER: Oh I have hope. I have all kinds of hope. But we need to have a time to grieve. And to feel we’re not robots. We have can’t just shift on a dime and say oh well you know I gave the last 16 months of my life and got fucked. And then you know everything’s cool, let’s get on to this. We need time to heal. We need time and people think that I’m just like that but I reflect a lot. And when I say something, I don’t give a damn care who hears it because I tell the truth.
JAY: Alright thank you both very much for joining us.
BOULGER: So can I leave you with one thing?
JAY: Yeah, go ahead.
BOULGER: Portia Boulger will have her feet on the ground and her mind straight. She’ll be working hard for the people and I appreciate you but you need to feel too my friend.
LENCHNER: Absolutely. Thank you very much.
JAY: Thanks for joining us.
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