Local Sanders delegates look for more out of Clinton

 
 
Updated 7/25/2016 4:12 PM
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  • Once primary rivals, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will seek to unite Democratic voters at the convention this week.

    Once primary rivals, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will seek to unite Democratic voters at the convention this week. Associated Press File Photo

State Sen. Mike Noland said a raucous delegate meeting with Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention Monday invigorated his supporters, who hope the candidate's issues live on as the party prepares to nominate Hillary Clinton.

"Hillary has perhaps won the battle, but the revolution, as a war, continues," Noland said. "This is about ideas. This is not a cult of personality that has developed here."

Conventions are supposed to be neatly packaged displays of party unity, but the Democrats' gathering in Philadelphia shows some Sanders delegates continue to have reservations about Clinton, who is set to accept the party's nomination Thursday.

The convention follows last week's Republican convention, which showcased some divisions in the Republican Party over nominee Donald Trump.

Noland, an Elgin Democrat, said if Clinton finishes the week with the nomination as expected, he'll be fully behind her despite being elected as a Sanders delegate.

Sanders delegate John Laesch of Aurora says he'll give Clinton a chance to prove herself before the November election. He said it didn't help that Clinton picked Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate, since he is seen by some Sanders supporters as not progressive enough.

"She's not doing anything to reach out and unify the party," Laesch said.

Clinton, who was born in Chicago and grew up in Park Ridge, won Illinois' primary and, as a result, has a majority in the state's convention delegation.

And most of Illinois' biggest Democratic names are in Philadelphia to support her, with an eye both on electing her president and helping the party win down the ballot.

Sanders has endorsed Clinton and urged delegates to do the same.

Dan Johnson of Wilmette, a Sanders delegate and top backer, pointed to Democrats' agreement to include some of Sanders' ideas in the party's platform -- such as a $15 per hour minimum wage.

He said the platform isn't completely what he'd want, but it's a step toward Sanders' policies.

"I feel really comfortable," he said. "I feel great about it."

But it's clear some Sanders backers will remain at least lukewarm on Clinton for now. Noland noted a conversation he had with a fellow Sanders supporter before Monday's meeting.

"She was going to hold her nose and vote for Hillary," Noland said. "But she's not going to hold her nose and campaign for her. And that's a real problem. We need people energized to support our nominee, whoever that happens to be."

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