We Asked Bernie Die-Hards Inside Their Philly Tent City: “What Now?”

“This movement is the future, and we are the future—and we’re coming in hot.”


Tents were being disassembled. Buttons and signs, stacked and packed away. A protester strummed a final, whimsical song. Several dozen bleary-eyed Bernie Sanders die-hards were preparing to head home on Thursday afternoon. Many had been camping out for days in Philadelphia’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, not far from the Wells Fargo Center, where delegates met this week to nominate Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential candidate.

Anger over party politics and Clinton’s nomination lingered. But Sanders’ supporters also vowed to fight on, to carry the revolution back to their hometowns, and to continue to campaign for third-party candidates. Many said they were switching their support to Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate.

“This movement is the future, and we are the future—and we’re coming in hot,” said Chelsea Piner, a 29-year-old brewer in Detroit. “We’re not lacking enthusiasm, and I think the whole world can see that.”

All the campers I spoke to agreed that Clinton and Donald Trump were essentially equally bad. Philadelphia local Jesse Ilnicki, 35, who described himself as “just another weird dude who gives a fuck,” put it this way: “We’re up against two oligarchic demons fornicating with each other, and then expecting us to pick one over the other when they’re both fucking prostitutes.”

Wearing a T-shirt that read, “Over the Hill Hippies for Bernie,” 63-year-old Arja Moy agreed: “Hillary is even more dangerous.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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