PHILADELPHIA — Patricia Wistinghausen said the first day representing Kauai as a delegate in the Democratic National Convention was “crazy and crowded.”
She also said it was inspiring to sit in a room with nearly 2,000 delegates and alternates and soak in the speeches, rub shoulders with political superstars, and meet fellow passionate Democrats.
“There’s a huge battle that’s happening at the DNC and whatever comes of it, whatever the end, this is the beginning of a movement,” Wistinghausen said.
The Bernie Sanders supporter said hearing her favorite candidate for the 2016 presidency was heart wrenching and inspiring, as he encouraged his supporters to vote for the other Democratic candidate: Hillary Clinton.
“He essentially said, to defeat Donald Trump, we need to support Hillary and vote for her,” Wistinghausen said. “That’s what he was encouraging us to do and you could tell how difficult it was to say that.”
She said the movement Sanders started with his campaign, however, will transcend the election and that the message can be carried even with a different candidate championing the Democratic Party’s bid for the presidency.
“He’s talking about the whole movement within the next few years, pushing for local progressive people to run for office to replace the people who are really set in their ways and not willing to work across the aisles,” Wistinghausen said.
Wistinghausen isn’t the only Kauai resident representing the island at the DNC. Dylan Hooser is another delegate to the convention. Felicia Cowden also made the trip.
Cowden said she spent the first day of the convention outside, bouncing around to the different parallel conventions held around Philadelphia.
“There’s so much energy everywhere,” Cowden said, “but a lot of the energy is with the Bernie crowd.”
On Monday afternoon, Cowden walked seven miles from the city center toward the outskirts in a march supporting Sanders.
“The Bernie crowd isn’t giving up and they don’t see Hillary and Bernie’s perspectives as being in alignment,” Cowden said. “The unity message seems to fall pretty flat and hard over here.”
She said there was a variety of ages and races in the crowd that was marching in support of Sanders, but if one group was represented more strongly than the others, it was those people in their early 20s.
“I would say a lot of this group is very young,” Cowden said. “They’re carrying signs that say things like, ‘We won’t stay silent so you can stay comfortable’ and the chant is ‘hell no, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary.’”
Monday was the first day of the Democratic National Convention, which runs through Thursday.
“This is just day one,” Wistinghausen said. “I think I’m just trying to hang in there, stay positive and see what else we can do to be productive for our party and the people that helped send us here.”