PHILADELPHIA — Vermont’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention took center stage Tuesday evening, casting its votes last before Sen. Bernie Sanders helped Hillary Clinton cement her place in history as the first woman nominated for president by a major political party.
Sanders, after months of battling Clinton for the party’s nomination, offered one final, symbolic olive branch Tuesday by moving to suspend the rules and nominate Clinton by acclamation. Clinton had already secured enough delegate votes to win the nomination the traditional way, but the move mirrored what Clinton did for President Barack Obama in 2008 following their own grueling primary.
“I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules. I move that all votes cast by delegates be reflected in the official record, and I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States,” Sanders said from his spot among the full Vermont delegation.
Vermont’s official votes — 22 for Sanders and four for Clinton — were announced by Vermont Democratic Party Chairwoman Dottie Deans.
Aster O’Leary, an 18-year-old Vermont delegate, announced that the state would pass when Vermont’s turn first came up — setting up the dramatic conclusion to the nomination process for Sanders.
Both Clinton and Sanders were officially nominated for president. Shyla Nelson, a Vermont delegate, seconded Sanders’ nomination and delivered a rousing speech before states began to cast their votes.
“Together we have worked to take our country back from the millionaires and billionaires. Together we have worked to end Citizens United and restore democracy to the people. Together we have worked for a $15 minimum wage, for debt-free college, for breaking up big banks, for climate justice and for the man who launched this revolution — Sen. Bernie Sanders,” Nelson said.
“With pride, gratitude and optimism for the future we will all build together, I stand before you for the purposes of seconding the nomination of our friend and hero, Sen. Bernie Sanders.”
During the roll call, Sanders’ older brother, Larry Sanders, now a resident of England, cast five votes for now-former presidential candidate as a member of the Democrats Abroad delegation. He spoke of his parents, whom the candidate often spoke of during the campaign.
“They did not have easy lives and they died young,” the elder Sanders said. “They loved the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt and would be especially proud that Bernard is renewing that vision. It is with enormous pride that I cast my vote for Bernie Sanders.”
There was plenty of lingering discord from Monday, however. Just a day earlier Clinton was booed heavily when her name was mentioned from the podium. On Tuesday, hundreds of Sanders most hardcore supporters staged a walkout from the Wells Fargo Center after Clinton was officially nominated. They chanted and many yelled their support for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Vermont’s delegation was also struggling to accept that Clinton was the party’s nominee. Ashley Andreas, one of the most outspoken Sanders supporters on the delegation, declined to comment after the roll call vote. But earlier in the day she expressed her deep frustration.
“There are some people who have more easily gone and supported Clinton and I respect that opinion full-force, wholeheartedly, and it would be nice if those of us who are still not convinced could be respected because there’s a lot of hate toward us,” Andreas said.
“I don’t feel right now like I would vote for her in November,” she added. “That’s a long time from now. She’s going to run a really hard campaign. I’m not at all convinced she can beat Donald Trump. I’m not convinced she’s going to do what she’s campaigning on. So, she’s got a chance to prove that until November to kind of start walking the walk.”
The Sanders backers that walked out stormed into a media filing tent outside the arena, but most declined to comment.