Nuisance: Bernie or Bust at the 2016 DNC, and an interview with the movement’s founder, Victor Tiffany

The topic of Bernie or Bust came up a lot during my coverage of the DNC with Citizens’ Media TV. I decided to take each of these pieces and make this article. To round it out, I interviewed one of the founders of the movement, Victor Tiffany (see the bottom of this article).

From this episode of The Jimmy Dore Show.

Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman has been one of my biggest and most appreciated Bernie Sanders celebrity supporters. Some highlights from Sarah during this campaign have been her introduction of Bernie at an early LA rally, her Bernie pitch-commercial, and a great appearance on Bill Mahar, where she compares Citizen’s United to steroids in sports.

While her full speech at the DNC was well received, her unscripted statement of

“And to the Bernie or Bust people, you’re being ridiculous”

while a reasonable opinion, expressing it in this context, was humiliating. Bernie delegates were being unappreciated and silenced and minimized, and in front of those doing the minimizing and silencing, on national television, was not the time to express it.

From a conversation with a Hillary delegate while waiting in line to get my credentials and vote for Bernie Sanders in roll call

Jeff: “I’m not Bernie or Bust, but I have a lot of friends who are Bernie or Bust. They’re in a really difficult position. They’re being blamed before it’s even happened. That if they don’t vote for Hillary, then they’re the cause of Trump. I personally think that’s not totally fair, because, what has the Democratic Party done to earn their vote? Did they leave the party or did the party leave them?

I’m absolutely passionate about Bernie.”

Hillary delegate: “Clearly”

Jeff: “I’m not Bernie or Bust, but I don’t see that she has worked very hard to earn my vote.”

Conversation with Kristin, a Bernie delegate from my own delegate district, while waiting in the same line as the above conversation.

Jeff: “Was Bernie or Bust ever a consideration for you?”

Kristin: “I’ll be honest, it was. But when I think about what’s going to happen and the role of the president has to take, I stepped out of my comfort zone and I really removed myself to figure out what would be the best strategy for the country. And I think that it would be keeping a Democrat in office as President of the United States, leading this country that makes it so great.”

Jeff: “Anything else you would say to the people that you know or Bernie or busters?”

Kristin: “Listen, that is completely your choice. But honestly, this is a very important election. We cannot allow Trump to nominate our Supreme Court justices. We can’t allow him to destroy our jobs, to keep folks down, right? You need to hold your political appointees accountable. I mean, this is exactly what we’re doing with Hillary, with what’s going on right now. We are really making the progressive platform. So just keep it going.

Bernie supporters, you have to make sure you hold folks accountable. Run for your own office. Get involved in your own area. And don’t just stand there and complain. Be the change you want to see in this world.”

Jeff: “So let me ask you from a different point of view. If Trump does win, do you blame the Bernie or Busters?”

Kristin: “No no. I mean if Trump does win, that’s just a damn slap in the face to Americans everywhere. I don’t blame anybody except for the people that voted for him, and the people that didn’t go out and vote.”

Jeff: “a lot of the Bernie or Busters may not go out and vote.”

Kristin: “You know what? If you want to go out and vote and write Bernie Sanders name in? Cool. Go out and vote.”

Jeff: “So as long as they go and vote, even if it’s for Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein, then that’s OK.”

Kristin: “Yes. That’s it. Go out and vote.”

Jeff: “But if they don’t go out and vote, then you have a problem.”

Kristin: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

Jeff: “OK, that’s fair.”

Two more delegates on Wednesday morning give their opinions of Bernie or Bust

Pat Merton Coyle and Anna Payne, Bernie delegates from Bucks County, PA.

10:25: Anna’s views on Bernie or Bust.

Anna: “To me, voting for Trump, or maybe even voting third party to a point of view, is like a slap in the face to Bernie, if Trump ends up winning this election.”

Jeff: “So what is your point of view on Bernie or Bust?”

Anna: “I understand it completely. And I’m not totally against it. But at the end of the day, you really have to look at what…what’s important to you? Now, some people will not be able to sleep at night voting for Secretary Clinton. Because they do not believe in her. And they do not believe that she will hold the platform up. That she will make good decisions. And if you cannot sleep at night voting for Secretary Clinton, I completely understand why you are Bernie or Bust.”

Jeff: “So what about those that say that Bernie or Bust is effectively a vote for Trump?”

Anna: “…I hope that the Bernie or Bust people, at least come out and vote down ticket. Because that is what matters… If they vote their conscience, I can’t argue with it. I can’t. Would I like to sit down and talk with someone that’s Bernie or Bust and talk with them? Of course. And explain to them, ‘The issues that you care about’–The Supreme Court is a huge issue. And I don’t even know if many people know about the Supreme Court. The person who gets into office is going to get two to four Supreme Court nominations. Those people are going to be on the Supreme court for years. And I don’t mean three years or four years. Decades.”

13:30: Pat’s views on Bernie or Bust: “We’re mourning the loss of our campaign.”

Pat: “I want people to vote their conscience, but I want people to make informed decisions. They call them throwaway votes. I don’t believe it’s throwing away if it’s what you absolutely believe in. But for every action there’s a reaction. And if too many people are Bernie or Bust, it could hurt the whole Democratic Party, up and down the ticket…

I think right now you have to realize that we’re mourning the loss of our campaign. We’re mourning the loss of Bernie as our candidate. We have to get past that and go on. And there’s a lot of people today who are saying, ‘I’m not going to vote at all, I’m going to stay home election day and cry maybe.’ And I understand that totally, because it is such an emotional thing. But I hope as the hurt goes down and people start to heal, that they well look at the issues, and look at the important things, such as the Supreme Court, such as how we treat our fellow citizens, whether or not we’re sending our children to war. And they do vote for who they believe is the best person.”

Post-DNC interview with Victor Tiffany, co-founder of the Bernie or Bust movement.

Victor and I talk about

  • Exactly where the “Bernie or Bust” term came from,
  • How the movement began as a potential write in campaign for Bernie Sanders, and morphed into one where vote your conscience (and many are expected to vote Green),
  • How Bernie Sanders has never disrespected Bernie or Busters, despite endorsing and supporting Hillary Clinton,
  • Why Bernie or Busters do not deserve the blame for a potential Trump presidency, how the Democratic Party left them long ago, they did not leave the Democratic Party,
  • How the Democratic Party, through superdelegates, rubber stamp our corrupt system including all of the questionable things occurring throughout the primary,
  • “Hillary Clinton is the spoiler.
  • Victor’s recommendations on voting all the way down the ballot in November,
  • “I see the green party winning the popular vote, and then getting robbed five machine who will elect of Hillary Clinton.”
  • My views on not being a Bernie or Buster, but spending much of my time during the campaign with friends who are.

Here is Victor’s speech on the Sunday before the DNC, at Thomas Paine Plaza, directly across the street from City Hall, at the Bernie or Bust rally:

How voting third party–voting your conscience–is never a wasted vote.

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