Alaska Sanders delegates joined final push before Clinton nomination

Gavin Hudson stands with a Bernie Sanders cardboard cutout during the Alaska Democratic Convention earlier this year. Hudson is headed to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week. (Photo courtesy Gavin Hudson)
Gavin Hudson stands with a Bernie Sanders cardboard cutout during the Alaska Democratic Convention earlier this year. Hudson, at the national convention in Philadelphia, said he is switching to Hillary Clinton. (Photo courtesy Gavin Hudson)

Delegates at the Democratic National Convention officially nominated Hillary Clinton to widespread cheering — inside the arena. But outside, thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters banged on the security fences, shouting election fraud.

It’s still not clear if many of them will come around to Clinton. Some of the Alaskans in Philadelphia said what the Sanders fans do next could turn the tide of history.

For many of the Alaska delegates, the day started with a breakfast buffet in a hotel meeting room that they shared with the Wisconsin delegation. Special guest: Sen. Bernie Sanders.

He spoke mostly about policy, and almost in passing told his supporters they should work to ensure Clinton, and not Donald Trump, wins the White House.

Sanders left like the pied piper, trailing a bevy of his passionate Alaska fans. The Alaskans followed Sanders down the hallway, to the next breakfast for a different group of delegates, but they were blocked at the door.

“He’s going to Iowa. You’re not all going to get in,” they were told.

Gavin Hudson, a Sanders delegate from Metlakatla, was outside the door to the Iowa breakfast. He loved what the Vermont senator said to the Alaska delegation.

“It’s not just celebrity. It’s not just that because he’s popular or that I like him. The best part about Bernie Sanders’ speeches is that they’re all focused on the issues,” Hudson said.

He maintained his die-hard commitment, but said he’s not among the Sanders delegates who were booing pro-Clinton speakers at the convention.

“I was raised better than that,” he said.

Hudson thinks the party stacked the deck against Sanders, but his frustration is not so great that he’s willing to see Trump become president.

“Will I vote for Hillary is probably the question you really want to know. I’ll plug my nose, I’ll eat my vegetables and I’ll pull the lever for Hillary, if need be.”

Hudson is 36. Brenda Knapp of Juneau is a couple of decades older.

“I’m here as a volunteer with the Alaska delegation”

Knapp wore not only a 2016 Hillary Clinton button, but her old Hillary button from 2008, the year Clinton lost the nomination to Barack Obama. Knapp said she knows the pain and anger of seeing your candidate lose, but she said it shouldn’t take too long for the Sanders supporters to get on board with Clinton.

“You can express some dissatisfaction, but don’t keep it up, you know?” she said.

Knapp said she was reminded of 1968. Back then, she and other young Democrats saw their favorite longshot candidate on the left, Eugene McCarthy, lose to the party’s establishment candidate, Hubert Humphrey.

“What happened is that not enough of us probably got behind Hubert Humphrey, and as a consequence we had eight years of Richard Nixon. That could happen again. And this would be – Trump is much scarier than Richard Nixon.”

Knapp said she hopes today’s Sanders supporters know the story of 1968 and avoid a repeat.

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