Mississippi delegates to the Democratic National Convention were having breakfast Monday about the same time embattled former party leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz was taking heat from her own Florida delegation.
Wasserman Schultz’s role in the convention was in trouble from the time emails hacked from the DNC’s servers surfaced Friday. Those emails suggested national party staffers were campaigning for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, a violation of party rules.
Monday morning, Wasserman Schultz was roundly booed as she tried to speak. By the afternoon, she was virtually out of the convention, agreeing to relinquish her speaking spot.
Even Sanders evoked some jeers when he told support they should work to elect Clinton.
Democrats from Mississippi were divided over her departure.
“She took the high road. She took responsibility for some of the things that may have taken place under her watch,” said Curley Clark, a 4th Congressional District delegate who is also the head of the Moss Point-Jackson County chapter of the NAACP.
He said the resignation of the chairwoman will only show how transparent the Democratic Party is.
“I think she did the appropriate thing,” said Clark, “but going forward I think that it’s going to just strengthen the party and show that we do take things seriously and we are going to do everything we can in order to ensure the American people that the Democratic Party is a party with a lot of transparency.”
Not all delegates agreed. Two Sanders supporters said it was something that just had to be done.
“Somebody had to fall on the sword, and I’ll just leave it at that,” said Keelan Sanders, a superdelegate for Sanders. “Somebody had to take the blame and unfortunately it was after the fact.”
Weston Lindemann, another Mississippi delegate supporting Sanders, says the news is a game changer.
“Obviously there are a lot of frustrated Bernie Sanders supporters,” said Lindemann. “They were frustrated coming in here anyway. Now they really have something to be angry about. I know from people I’ve talked to, me included, we’re glad to see Debbie Wasserman Schultz go. So maybe that will actually calm down some of the potential protests and disruptions that we would have had.”
The first day of the convention saw temperatures reaching the mid-90s and lots of sunshine, questions arose as to whether or not the convention started off with something else looming over it.
“Anytime there is an ethical question, I think we need to resolve any type of cloud, anything that is deceitful or not fair and honest,” said Clark.
Chris Abruzzo, a student at Temple University, is covering the Democratic National Convention for the Sun Herald.