Bernie Sanders says the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and his push to make the party more inclusive could get "messy"—but "democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle." He tells the AP that his supporters hope the party will adopt a platform at the summer convention that reflects the needs of working families, the poor, and young people, not Wall Street and corporate America. More from the interview:
- Sander says he will "condemn any and all forms of violence" but that his campaign is welcoming political newcomers and first-time attendees of party conventions. "If they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs, it's going to be messy," he says.
- Asked if the convention could be problematic, he replied: "So what? Democracy is messy. Every day my life is messy. But if you want everything to be quiet and orderly and allow, you know, just things to proceed without vigorous debate, that is not what democracy is about."
- Sanders says he was "bothered" by the portrayal of the Las Vegas convention and that it did not turn violent as some media reports indicated. "There was rowdyism. There was booing, I think inappropriately, by the way," he says.
- Sanders says the platform process will allow the party to have a vigorous debate over ways to address wealth inequality, the role of Wall Street in the economy, climate change, and universal health care. "A serious debate about serious issues is good for democracy, is good for the Democratic Party. It will increase voter turnout and that always works in our effort to defeat Republicans."
- He declined to entertain the possibility of being considered as Clinton's running mate, saying he was focused on winning the nomination: "If I don't, we will see what happens later on." But he reiterated that he would do "everything that I can" to ensure that Trump is not elected president.
- Sanders says he has a "shot" at winning the June 7 California primary against Clinton and, given his delegate deficit, it is "imperative" that he perform well. He estimates his rallies around the state will allow him to speak directly to 200,000 voters before the primary. "What happens if I win a major victory in California? Will people say, 'Oh, we're really enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton despite the fact that Bernie Sanders has now won whatever it may be, 25 states, half the states?'" he says.
- Looking ahead to the future of his political movement, Sanders says his goal is "the transformation of the Democratic Party. To be a party [that] is a grassroots party where the main energy comes from working families, from trade unionists, from environmentalists, from people today who want real political and social and economic and environmental changes in our society."
(Sanders supporters are suing over "mass confusion"
surrounding the California ballot.)