Democratic "Unity" on Edge as Progressives Await Clinton's VP Pick

The notion of “Democratic unity” remains tenuous at best as many progressives are holding out support for presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton until her chosen running mate is announced.

Meanwhile, many attendees of the Netroots Nation Conference in St. Louis, Missouri held a series of unexpected protests at the annual convention this weekend, underscoring how divided and skeptical members of the Left remain despite declarations to the contrary.

“For many progressives, and Democrats in general, it’s a wait-and-see moment around [Clinton’s] vice presidential pick,” Stephanie Taylor of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) told the Guardian in an interview during the conference.

Calling the decision “a proxy for what we can expect from her administration,” Taylor added: “If she picks someone like Elizabeth Warren who has this track record of fighting for the issues that people care about … that will be a signal that will energize greatly the Democratic base.”

Alternately, Taylor warned that a more moderate pick would “do the opposite.”

Indeed, 70.6 percent of delegates representing Clinton’s challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said that the choice of vice president was “very important” or “important,” according to a survey released on Sunday, with many “expressing their willingness to publicly denounce prospective running-mates and even protest on the convention floor,” noted the progressive action group

The survey asked delegates to rate six individuals who have been widely rumored to be potential VP picks—Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), as well as retired military leaders Adm. James Stavridis and Adm. Mike Mullen.

Each of those men was declared “Not Acceptable” by the vast majority of respondents, with Warner winning the least support (91.6 percent deemed him unacceptable), while Kaine and the military brass were close behind with 88.5 percent.

Many progressives say that Clinton’s choice of running mate will reflect how serious she is about party “unity.”

In an op-ed on Monday, Jeff Cohen, director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College and founder of the media watch group FAIR, warned that Clinton’s rumored strategy of “ignoring her party’s progressive base” could potentially “open the door to a Trump presidency.”

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