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Washington Delegate Among The Sanders Supporters Who Will Need Convincing By Clinton

Parker Miles Blohm
Nhatrang Nguyen is one of Washington's delegates to the Democratic National Convention, and a Bernie Sanders supporter. We'll hear from her throughout the week as the DNC plays out in Philadelphia.

As Washington state delegates gather at the Democratic National Conventionthis week in Philadelphia, nearly two-thirds of them will be supporting Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He won the state’s caucuses in March. But Hillary Clinton is expected to be named the Democratic nominee.

That is emblematic of one of the central questions that will play out this week: Can Clinton attract Sanders supporters into her camp? One of the people she’ll hope to convince is Nahtrang Nguyen, a 25-year-old convention delegate from Seattle.

“We’re representing thousands of supporters who endorsed Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly,” Nguyen said. “We want Bernie Sanders as our president.”

And while she’s aware that the delegate math guarantees the nomination to Clinton, she says Clinton has some work to do to win over Sanders supporters.

“I feel personally that Secretary Clinton really needs to prove her intention through actions and not words,” she said.

As an example, Nguyen cites Clinton’s stands on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. Clinton was originally in favor, but then voiced opposition to it. Yet at meetings hashing out the party’s platform, Nguyen says Clinton supporters did not reflect their candidate’s change of position.

“I plan to be here for the long run and help build the Democratic Party to be more inclusive,” she said, “to hold it accountable for its long-held goals.”

Why A Democrat?

Nguyen’s parents fled Vietnam to come to the United States. Her liberal beliefs stem from the way she grew up and something her parents always taught her:

“You have two hands – one to help yourself up, one hand to help those who need that other hand, who need that support,” she said. “That’s something clicked with me.”

It’s why she got into teaching. And, she says, it’s why she’s pro-Sanders.

Outside Of Politics

Nguyen just finished her first year teaching fourth grade at a Title I school in Renton. (Title I is a federal program that provides extra financial assistance to schools serving low-income populations.)

She brought conversations about the election into the classroom, making up a voter pamphlet to give to her students, so they could talk about the election.

First, they discussed the qualities they want in a president. The students said they wanted a good communicator, one who could reach out to other nations. Then Nguyen asked her students what issues were important to them.

“The first thing that they said was climate change, and then college education and health care,” she said.

Sanders won the classroom handily, reflecting the larger choice of the state Democratic caucuses earlier this year. But Nguyen says the lesson was meant to be bigger than that.

“I wanted them to know you can be part of this conversation when you’re nine going on ten. You don’t have to wait until you’re my age to say ‘Hey, I want to get involved in my first presidential campaign.’”

Nhatrang Nguyen is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. We’re checking in with her throughout the convention as part of our series “From the Floor.”All last week, we talked with Jack Bell, an 18-year-old Republican delegate from Olympia, as he attended the GOP’s national convention in Cleveland.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.