PHILADELPHIA — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made a surprise appearance before Massachusetts Democrats Wednesday, rallying delegates around the goals of defeating Donald Trump for the presidency in November and ushering in a new wave of Democrats to lesser offices around the country.
"I'll tell you what is different about Trump and what is dangerous about Trump. Trump is a demagogue. We all have Republican friends and we disagree with them, but most of them happen to believe in the constitution of the United States of America. Trump does not," Sanders told Massachusetts delegates the morning of the third day of the Democratic National Convention.
Sanders, who lost to Hillary Clinton in this year's Democratic presidential contest but won numerous state primaries, said the Republican nominee is "running his entire campaign on bigotry, on trying to divide us up, on trying to get Americans to hate."
Divisions among Democrats have been evident throughout the convention, but Sanders supporters have also displayed support for Clinton, who is set to accept Democratic nomination on Thursday.
Paul Feeney, the Sanders campaign's state director in Massachusetts and Connecticut, gave a speech to the convention hall Tuesday in favor of his candidate before the nomination officially went to Clinton.
"Despite the fact that it's been a rough couple of days of transition for some Senator Sanders supporters, ultimately at the end of the day people are coming together in Philadelphia with the realization that we need to elect Hillary Clinton as president," Feeney told the News Service on Tuesday after Massachusetts reported its votes.
Feeney joined members of Congress and Treasurer Deb Goldberg on Tuesday alongside Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman Sen. Tom McGee as the Lynn Democrat adopted a martial stance toward the general election.
"Just as we were in 1775, we are ready to fight for our nation, our liberty and the rights of every American," McGee said before announcing to the convention hall 68 votes for Hillary Clinton and 46 for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. There was one absence, according to the state party.
Sanders on Wednesday urged a continuance of the political revolution he has sparked within the Democratic party — attracting young people and others who want more liberal positions from their elected leaders.
"Republicans have captured 900 seats formerly held by Democrats in state legislatures all over this country. Let's get those seats back," Sanders said.
While Sanders seeks a revolution in the party where he ran for president, Trump has already done so within the Republican party, winning on an often non-specific platform and calling for major changes in the nation's trade and military agreements. Trump's doctrine and bombastic temperament have repelled some committed conservatives. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate, said he won't vote for any of the presidential candidates in November.
Trump's warnings about illegal immigration from Mexico and Muslim visitors to the country have galvanized both opposition and support for his candidacy. Sanders on Wednesday noted Trump's role fomenting suspicion that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii.
"It wasn't disagreeing with Barack Obama. That's called democracy. Anyone can agree or disagree with anyone," Sanders said. "It was trying to undermine the legitimacy, the legitimacy, of the first African-American president."
Feeney said the booing from Sanders supporters can be characterized as them blowing off steam in the difficult process of coming around to the Democratic party's nominee.
"There was some divisiveness yesterday, but people are starting to heal and come together," Feeney said Tuesday. He said, "There was a little bit of a steam release valve yesterday — some of the Sanders supporters that are going through a tough transition. I get it. I am as well."
Feeney, who is the legislative director for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2222 in Dorchester, praised the Sanders campaign's success in moving the party toward the left.
"Because of Senator Sanders, we were able to adopt the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic party," Feeney said. He said, "None of that matters unless we can elect a Democrat to office."