Angst in Bernie ranks over push to exit Democratic Party

Efforts by some Bernie Sanders supporters to organize an exodus from the Democratic Party have not only agitated party leaders but caused tensions inside the Sanders ranks – with some worried the latest effort to split from the establishment is a step too far.

“We are all part of the Democratic Party,” said Jessica Justice, a pledged delegate for Sanders. She told calls to leave the Democratic Party are a last-minute distraction that will only deepen the current divide.

“We are here to continue the work we were sent here to do. We have no intention of leaving,” she said, claiming some hardcore Sanders supporters and members of the Green Party are trying to capitalize on the drama.

She was reacting to efforts in Philadelphia at the close of the Democratic convention -- where Hillary Clinton is set to accept the nomination Thursday night -- by angry Sanders supporters to convince voters to “de-register” from the party.

One such event by City Hall Thursday afternoon attracted protesters but few could be seen putting themselves on the political equivalent of the Democrats' 'do not call' list.

Mother nature also had a hand in how some of the planned afternoon protests played out Thursday. Downpours and strong thunderstorms across the Philadelphia area put a pin in some people’s plans. Those connected with the so-called #DemExit effort were telling supporters to skip an afternoon protest because of the storms.

Antawan Davis of Maryland told he had made the trip on the last day but was driving back after dark clouds and heavy rain pushed protesters away.

“That was a day wasted,” he told

Other activists had scheduled a 6 p.m. flag burning but rain could extinguish those plans as well.

The scattered protests reflect the confusion and frustration of a movement with no apparent leader. Sanders has endorsed Clinton and urged his followers to do the same.

Picking up the voter frsutration has been Green Party presidential candidate Jill Sanders, who has told Sanders supporters that she can be the progressive candidate that will carry their cause.

Some Stein supporters are operating in part under the Twitter hashtag #DemExit -- something she has deftly been using to openly appeal to Sanders supporters outside the Philly convention arena.

“DNC wants your support for lying, undermining, and insulting you. They'll lock you out if you don't comply. #DemExit,” Stein tweeted.

The efforts hang over the final day of a raucous convention -- where Sanders supporters from the start have protested how their candidate was treated by the party brass, particularly after leaked DNC emails pointed to a pro-Clinton bias inside headquarters. Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in the wake of the leak, but that didn’t stop protests inside and outside the convention hall.

Stein, meanwhile, has maintained a presence on the sidelines of the Philadelphia chaos and she tries to keep the flame of the Sanders movement burning, even marching with protesters Tuesday after Clinton was nominated.

"Those who are in tears, whose hearts have been broken, I’m going [to rallies] to really reassure them that their work has not been in vain," Stein told on Wednesday.

For many in the Sanders crowd, Stein is a far more natural fit than Donald Trump, the Republican nominee also making a play for disaffected Sanders voters.

Amanda Sullivan of Weston, Fla., sweated it out on a blistering 97-degree day to hold her “Bern or Jill but never Hill!” sign as she joined the 1,000-deep group of demonstrators at City Hall earlier this week.

Sullivan told that she’s frustrated by the Democratic Party’s exclusion of some in the party and says she cannot vote for Clinton in a November matchup.

Leonardo Watson of Georgia told that while not every aspect of the Green Party syncs with his own views, it’s a better match than Clinton.

“Look, Clinton’s not an option. It’s not about party unity. It’s about standing up for yourself and what you believe in -- and right now, with Bernie out, that’s Jill Stein.”’s Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report.