Local Sanders delegate walks out on Clinton 'infomercial'

Sean Simmers/PennLive.com via APJill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate, meets up with protesters on Broad Street during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

While speeches by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former President Bill Clinton played to loud applause at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, the big story was different for 6th Congressional District delegate and Bernie Sanders supporter Audrey Proctor of Amesbury.

“We voted for Bernie, we did what we had to do,” Proctor, 59, said. “They took the roll call vote and once (former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) got the nomination, it was just the same old dog and pony show. So we walked out.” 

A Democratic voter since she was 18, Proctor joined roughly a dozen other Sanders delegates in leaving the Wells Fargo Center and heading for what has become a makeshift protest headquarters at FDR Park. They were met with what Proctor said was a much better reception than in the convention hall.

“They were happy to see us because we were delegates and we walked out,” Proctor said. “There was a lot more mutual respect out there with the protesters.”

With the temperature in Philadelphia hitting 101 degrees in the afternoon on Tuesday and only simmering down to 88 at night, rather than turn in like many of her fellow delegates did after voting for Sanders, Proctor found herself among instant friends at FDR Park.

“Last night was a lot more fun than at the infomercial,” Proctor said yesterday. “It wasn’t a wild protest vote on my part. There was just no point in being (in the convention hall). We found out that another group of delegates had walked out and occupied the media tent right outside of Wells Fargo. That was an interesting sit-in. I’m told that they were covering their mouths to show that the campaign had been silenced by the media throughout the entire campaign.”

While a group of roughly 100 delegates protested at the press tent, Proctor and her delegate friends marched back to the Wells Fargo Center alongside their fellow Bernie or Busters and members of Black Lives Matter, eventually joining forces with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

“She had about 12 people,” Proctor said. “She asked me who I was, and I told her I am a Bernie delegate that walked out. She gave me a big hug and we marched. We started out with 12 people and we must have had 10,000 by the time we reached the DNC gate. We must have walked 7 or 8 miles last night.”

While Proctor was unable to reenter the convention hall, Stein was — with the aid of a Fox News crew.

“She is really not anti-Bernie,” Proctor said. “She has never been. She is only trying to help the Bernie campaign. What she wants to do is get an independent group together to investigate election fraud. She is looking into getting people like (former U.S. president) Jimmy Carter and (former Massachusetts Gov.) Michael Dukakis to investigate election fraud, and these are Democrats. She is willing to get reputable people to look into this.”

Stopped blocks away from the Wells Fargo Center, as the night dragged on, Proctor said she and her fellow protesters found the Philadelphia police to be very supportive. “They were bringing us water” as the protesters caught glimpses of the convention’s TV coverage.

“It looked like a half-empty convention center inside,” Proctor said. “But I don’t think that bothers them. The Hillary people were stealing our seats anyway. That way they can stuff it full of Hillary people and it looks like unity.”

Both Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama were scheduled to speak last night, and Proctor planned to attend a lunch where Sanders was to speak about why he has endorsed Clinton. While she would prefer not to see a second Clinton presidency, Proctor said she would certainly be glad to see Sanders.

“I still support Bernie,” Proctor said. “We are still pulling for him. I know Hillary got the nomination, but everything that we are doing is because we feel that he should have gotten the nomination. Marching with Jill Stein doesn’t mean that we are anti-Bernie. Jill Stein is for Bernie; she thinks the election was stolen, too. And just because we don’t like Hillary does not mean we are for (Donald) Trump.”

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