Brooklyn Voices at the DNC: Still Feeling Fierce

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Brooklyn Voices at the DNC: Still Feeling Fierce

IMG_2051The state of New York pledged 181 delegates to Secretary Hillary Clinton, the eventual winner, and 108 to Senator Bernie Sanders, according the website Ballotpedia. The race to the nomination was fiercely fought and strongly felt. Andy Craft, a reporter for The Brooklyn Ink who attended the conventions on behalf of his employer, Fox News, tracked down two Brooklyn-based delegates. He found that their emotions still run high:

Carmen Validvesio Hulbert: Feeling the Bern

Hulbert hails from Red Hook and is an active Bernie Sanders supporter. She was born in Peru and moved to the U.S. in 1982, where she worked as a journalist for 30 years at The Associated Press on the Latin America Desk. She never had the intention of going into politics until Senator Sanders burst on the primary scene. “I approved of his ideas,” she said.

Sanders supporters sometimes mired the DNC convention in protests, but Hulbert proudly said she did not participate in any of the marches. Being a delegate, she wanted to remain above the fray and simply do her duty—to voice her support for the Senator from Vermont. She thought those supporters who engaged in street protests were “evolving in the wrong direction.” But she was also angry about the way Sanders was treated and thought the entire system was rigged from the beginning. “We were just booing everyone and everything,” she said. “I was one of the delegates who would not support Mrs. Clinton.”

Hulbert believes Mrs. Clinton will never fully be a progressive no matter what she says, and to demonstrate her feelings she took part in a walkout off the convention floor. Upon conclusion of the roll call vote, when Clinton was officially nominated, Sanders supporters walked out, Hulbert among them. She described the scene as an emotional moment. She was crying, she said, as she walked out in protest.

She plans to stay active in politics. “I will continue with the political revolution, “ she said. She started the group, Latinos for Bernie in Brooklyn to amass support for her candidate. She described the moment of Sanders withdrawal as “ground zero of my political career.” In representing Latinos from Brooklyn, she thinks Latinos are kept at the margins of policy and political debate. She has been trying to change that this election cycle. She says she has reluctantly come to terms with the outcome of the convention, but she is still reeling from the decision that was made.


Henry Butler: He’s With Her

Butler, 49, is from Bedford-Stuyvesant, and, like Hulbert, this was his first time as a delegate. He is a loyal Clinton supporter who calls passionate Sanders supporters “irrational” and “unreasonable.”

Butler serves as the president of the IMG_1857Vanguard Independent Democratic Association, or VIDA. According to its website, the organization was established in 1972 as the Vanguard Civic Association, a grassroots community of parents, educators, and community leaders trying to gain more community control over schools in their neighborhoods. He has been involved in politics since high school and describes himself as a “union guy”—a leader in the transit union and a Brooklyn political organizer at the grassroots level.

Butler says he had a difficult time trying to understand the rationale of the everyday Sanders supporter. Repeatedly noting that Mrs. Clinton received three million more votes than Senator Sanders in the primary contest, he does not understand the whole “rigged” argument. “It’s purely math, “ he said.

On the convention floor he said that the whip did a fantastic job for the New York delegation, making sure Mrs. Clinton was not shouted down. He does concede that the DNC was in Hillary’s camp long before Mr. Sanders entered the race. You knew what was going on before the debate schedules came out,” he said. And he isn’t shedding any tears over Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation, contending that that Wasserman Schultz was even behind Clinton during the 2008 race with Senator Barack Obama. Thus his sympathy runs thin. Butler, who is black and an Obama supporter, has two children, 11 and 8 and noted that for his children, “it’s not just a miracle for them to have a Black president like it was for me. He is the only president they know.

Butler has many criticisms of Senator Sanders. He said, “We’re not gonna let him take control of the Democratic Party like the Tea Party did with the Republicans. Our party let Sanders run as a Democrat.” He doesn’t buy the revolution narrative either. “If you really want to start a revolution, that’s an everyday battle, not every four years, “ he said. Butler plans to continue fighting for Mrs. Clinton well into November.



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