The first night of the Democratic National Convention saw a swell of support for Bernie Sanders when he took the podium. Although the former Democratic presidential candidate has urged his supporters to rally behind Hillary Clinton, many of his loyal backers came out to the Wells Fargo Center to protest the Democratic National Committee.
“I’m still taking it all in. Like, ‘Wow this is crazy.’ I didn’t expect there to be thousands of people cheering and booing and arguing.” Youth Radio’s Myles Bess said of the opening night’s contentious atmosphere. Bess spoke to Hard Knock Radio on KPFA on the second day of the DNC. He has been covering the convention live from Philadelphia, interviewing delegates, protesters, and police.
When Sanders took the stage, he received what “felt like a ten minute ovation,” Bess said. “You would have thought that he was the nominee.”
Sanders supporters were, in part, fueled by the email leak released the Friday before the DNC. The emails indicated that officials of the Democratic National Committee worked against Sanders despite being instructed to remain neutral in the primary race.
The crowd’s animosity died down as the night unfolded. Bess reported that First Lady Michelle Obama’s rousing speech and endorsement of Hillary Clinton was a turning point of the evening.
“When Michelle Obama came out…and spoke it was a totally different atmosphere,” Bess said. “She commands so much respect, and she wasn’t having it.”
Bess is a 21-year-old college student from Oakland, California. When asked about the issues he’s watching for the election, Bess named student debt as especially important to him.
“I felt like my window of opportunity was kind of narrow based on my income level,” Bess said. “I didn’t feel comfortable going out of state or going to a private school,” he continued.
For more from Myles Bess about his experience covering the DNC, check out his conversation on KALW’s Crosscurrents. Soraya Shockley, Youth Radio’s reporter for the RNC, joined that conversation as well.