Nevada DNC delegates react to booing, Sanders’ unity speech
LAS VEGAS — Forty-three Nevada delegates are in Philadelphia this week for the Democratic National Convention, which formally kicked off Monday. Here are their thoughts on the action:
ON MICHELLE OBAMA’S SPEECH
Nevada delegates had glowing reviews for first lady Michelle Obama’s Monday night speech, which didn’t reference Donald Trump by name but rebutted his premise that America fell from greatness.
She talked about her daughters, saying the election “is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives” and adding that Hillary Clinton is the only person she’d trust with that responsibility.
“The first lady just knocked it out of the park,” said Nevada Rep. Dina Titus, a Clinton superdelegate who also praised Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s speech. “I think it made a statement that we started out with strong women.”
Clinton delegate and Nevada Assemblyman Nelson Araujo said the first lady stole the show Monday night, coming across as “fierce” and “poised.”
“She raised that alarm for us that if we don’t win this election, Trump can take us so many steps backward,” he said.
Sanders delegate and Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom marveled at the contrast it drew with the Republican convention’s audience, which he described as older and mostly white.
“You have a young, attractive, energetic African American woman talking about a White House that slaves built,” he said.
ON BERNIE SANDERS’ SPEECH
Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out a detailed, policy-heavy case for supporting his primary rival on Monday night, even though many of his supporters remain vocally distrustful of her.
“Any objective observer will conclude that — based on her ideas and her leadership — Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” Sanders said.
Nevada delegates praised the speech, but they acknowledged the tension within the party.
“I think he did an excellent job as always under difficult circumstances,” said Nevada superdelegate Erin Bilbray, a Sanders supporter. “There are still a lot of bruised feelings out in the convention hall.”
Segerblom said he sensed how difficult it was for a candidate who fought so hard for the nomination. “The reality is, for Bernie, it was probably the toughest speech of his life, and you could feel his pain,” he said.
Titus said she wishes Sanders had been more forceful in his remarks. “I wish he’d gone a little further,” she said. “I wish he’d say ‘I’m with her.’ “
Many speeches Monday were met by boos from delegates upset that Sanders would not be the nominee. The morning after his speech backing Clinton, Sanders was booed when he arrived for a breakfast with California delegates.
“It is easy to boo,” Sanders said in response. “But it is harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under a Donald Trump presidency.”
Segerblom said the boos were a natural reaction to a tough loss.
“I know people would love to say it’s detracting, but it’s really just a grieving process,” he said, adding that the Nevada delegation seemed to be “mellowing out” Tuesday morning compared with a tense breakfast meeting on Monday.
He’s been offering fellow Sanders delegates his sympathy, telling them he remembers the disappointment he’d feel as a young man new to politics.
“There is a life after politics and a life after loss,” Segerblom said. “If you quit now then the whole thing is lost.”
Araujo said he didn’t find the booing from Sanders’ supporters to be a distraction, and wanted to make sure his supporters felt understood.
“I’m very respectful to those who haven’t reached that point where they can be on board,” he said. “It takes time. We have to be patient and understanding.”