ITHACA, N.Y. — On Tuesday, at a campaign event in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders took to the podium to formally endorse Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee in the upcoming presidential election — and Ithaca die-hard Bernie voters are torn between what to do next.
After reports in early June pointed to Clinton as overwhelmingly leading the race for the nomination, Sanders supporters began to anticipate the Vermont senator’s lack of controlling delegate votes and what that ultimately means for the campaign.
Just weeks before the Democratic National Convention, which is happening in Philadelphia July 25 -28, Sanders stood beside Clinton and addressed an audience surmised of supporters of both candidates.
In his statement, Sanders passed the torch to his once-rival, declaring,“She will be the Democratic nominee for president, and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”
For Bernie supporters in Tompkins County, there is no unifying reaction to this news — many would-be Bernie voters are torn.
Activist Emily Adams, a Brooktondale Sanders supporter and delegate elect part of New York’s 23rd congressional district, is headed to the DNC with high hopes.
“I think it will be difficult for supporters to switch, despite of what he said,” she said. “There are a lot of people who say yes, you have to make compromises and I understand that point of view, though there is a lot of anger.”
Adams intends to continue rallying the Sanders nomination when in Philadelphia, noting, “It was a smart move (for him) to make that endorsement anyway…it could help later on if something else comes along.”
Division seems to be the new trend in the campaign that, just weeks ago, united millions across the nation who are now in political limbo as the dust settles.
“Bernie’s most active supporters are split into three camps,” says Marc Messing, a local government consultant.
“Many will work as hard as before hoping for a ‘Hail Mary pass’ that gives him the nomination. Many will sit down in disgust. And some will just shrug and go on,” Messing said.
Although Sanders is an independent, he caucuses as a Democrat. For many his public endorsement was enough to redirect voters to Clinton’s campaign which is now solely rallying against likely Republican nominee Donald Trump.
But, it’s not that cut and dry.
Messing said, “There is no question that the Democratic leadership in the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County are out of touch with the Democratic base, as evidenced by the last City elections and the TC primary numbers.”
“Ithaca’s political leaders look like cartoon characters who go fifty feet beyond the ledge before they realize there’s no solid ground beneath them. Instead of being a genuine example of progressive ideas and leadership, Ithaca is becoming a symbol of the status quo and the failures of neo-liberalism.”
Deborah Dawson, a retired federal litigator and self-described “worker bee” for the Ithaca Bernie Sanders activist group reminds supporters: “Bernie has endorsed Hillary, as he is required to do under the DNC’s rules. However, he has not conceded, and he has not released his delegates. That means he still has room to maneuver at the convention.”