PHILADELPHIA — The Bernie Delegates Network—a loosely organized coalition that’s been holding daily press conferences at the Philly convention—has been trying very hard to convince the press that Sanders’ people will still put up their dukes for a fight with Hillary that may never happen. Their latest claim: that they’re trying to block Clinton’s choice for a running mate, the centrist Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, by floating their own far-left VP pick.
Problem is, that alternative candidate may not even exist.
Pinning the Bernie Delegates Network down on even the loosest facts has been an exercise in high farce. In fact, it would appear that they are entirely disorganized, have no specific plans, and are no longer listening to marching orders from the Vermont senator at all.
Norman Solomon, the activist at the head of the organization, claims that there is sincere interest from his constituency—which he described as 300 or so delegates out of the near 1,900 total represented in Philadelphia—to oust Kaine and float their own progressive VP pick. But he refused to give the name of who the alternate would be.
“It’s a moot point,” Solomon said, exasperated by the badgering press. When The Daily Beast asked if the person was in fact a real, living human, he said testily, “yes.”
He explained that the DNC had not gotten them the paperwork quickly enough to be able to gather a consensus for a potential challenge today.
“If I get permission from that individual, tomorrow, I’ll give you the name,” Solomon said of Kaine’s supposed rival.
He explained that the attempt to put up a more progressive candidate was symbolic and that the symbolism would be lost if the name was revealed. That is, if it came out today, at least. Or, that is, if they revealed the name without the express permission of said individual. Or, that is, if this whole thing is not a puff of smoke. All this, mind you, from the group that is angry with the DNC for lack of transparency.
“It won’t be revealed to history for many years,” Solomon said at one point. He claimed that Sanders hadn’t heard about the challenge—indicating the candidate’s approval or disapproval of his supporters’ actions at the convention no longer seemed to matter.
Teva Gabis-Levine, a delegate from New Mexico who said he was responsible for being a whip on the convention floor, claimed he didn’t even forward the message Sanders sent last night encouraging supporters not to protest during the speeches.
Hours before Hillary Clinton was set to be formally nominated for the Democratic nomination, it seemed that the Sanders ship was venturing on without a captain.