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A House Divided: 2 Democratic Delegates Remain Split Ahead Of Convention


A bruising presidential primary has left some bad blood between Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But perhaps the candidates' supporters can do what they have not done and patch things up. NPR's Sam Sanders spoke with two delegates to this month's Democratic convention, one who's for Clinton and the other, who's for Sanders.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: The two delegates talked to me from Los Angeles, so of course my first question was about their drive.

How was traffic?


DALLAS FOWLER: Traffic wasn't - it was...

C. FOWLER: It was mild for her. She didn't do anything (laughter).

D. FOWLER: Yeah, she picked me up, so I...

SANDERS: Yes, one of them picked the other one up because one of them is the other one's child.

D. FOWLER: So I'm Dallas Fowler. I am an elected district-level delegate for Senator Bernie Sanders.

C. FOWLER: And I am Carolyn Fowler, elected district-level delegate for Senator Hillary Clinton.

SANDERS: Carolyn is a mom. Dallas is the daughter. The two of them together are a Democratic house divided. The divisions between them became clear early on in this campaign.

D. FOWLER: After the first debate, I was like, oh, you know what? I'm with this guy. I like this guy. I think my mom was more of the - all that sounds good, but can it be done?

SANDERS: Did you guys argue about it?

D. FOWLER: When you look...

C. FOWLER: Oh, definitely.

D. FOWLER: Oh, oh, yes.

C. FOWLER: Let me address that.


SANDERS: As I spoke with them, I could hear it. These two know how to argue with each other. Take paying for college.

C. FOWLER: She thinks it should be free for everyone. I think if your parents are billionaires, you don't need free college.

D. FOWLER: Well, no because public school is public school.

SANDERS: Here's the thing. Even though Bernie Sanders is mathematically shut out of the nomination, Dallas says it doesn't matter.

D. FOWLER: I'm only casting a ballot for Senator Bernie Sanders. That is what I was elected to do.

C. FOWLER: I believe that on the first ballot, Senator Clinton has the votes to win (laughter).

D. FOWLER: Well, we'll find out, and that's...

SANDERS: Dallas says she's still holding out for changes in the party platform.

D. FOWLER: I would love to see them include some language saying that they will not bring TPP to a vote in a lame duck Congress.

SANDERS: That's the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement which Sanders vehemently opposes. Dallas also wants some language on fracking.

D. FOWLER: Hydraulic fracturing - I would love to see something in terms of a freeze or a ban.

SANDERS: There's already been some movement to the left. Just this week Hillary Clinton announced a plan to make in-state public college free for families making less than $125,000 a year. For all their divisions, mother Carolyn says she is just as progressive as her Bernie-Sanders-supporting daughter.

C. FOWLER: I do support the $15 minimum wage. Actually I think it should be 20. I do support early childhood education. I think the college debt is way out of control, and...

SANDERS: The biggest difference, she says, between her and her daughter is their different approaches to getting things done. Carolyn, like Clinton, is OK with a slower pace of change.

C. FOWLER: How do we negotiate to get maybe some first steps towards the goal if not everything?

SANDERS: Her daughter Dallas, like Bernie Sanders, sees that approach as a compromise.

D. FOWLER: I don't want to start negotiating from behind. I'm going to negotiate from where we should be.

SANDERS: The challenge for the Democratic Party at the convention will be to unite voters like Carolyn and Dallas - young ones who voted in large numbers for Bernie Sanders and older ones like Carolyn who are supporting Hillary Clinton. Carolyn does say, however bad things seem now, it is not as bad as it was eight years ago.

C. FOWLER: This is not my first day at the rodeo. The discord between Hillary and Barack was far worse, far worse. You don't know.

SANDERS: At the end of our interview, Dallas said she wanted to make sure one more thing made it into this story. She told me, quote, "we still love each other most of the time." Sam Sanders, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sam worked at Vermont Public Radio from October 1978 to September 2017 in various capacities – almost always involving audio engineering. He excels at sound engineering for live performances.
Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.
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