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How Is The Democratic Convention Playing In Deep-Blue Massachusetts?


Thousands of people are at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for the final night of the Democratic convention. And tens of millions more will be watching or listening around the country. Democratic leaders hope the spectacle will rally voters behind Hillary Clinton. To find out whether that's going to happen, NPR's Tovia Smith talked to voters about their impressions of the convention so far.

TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: It was, to many in Massachusetts, just the jolt they needed.

MAGGIE STARK: It was very moving and very meaningful. The speakers were so amazing. It was like a pep rally.

SMITH: Maggie Stark, an artist from Boston, says she voted against Hillary Clinton and for Barack Obama eight years ago. This time, she started with Clinton, but the convention, she says, has inspired her to get more engaged. Her friend Phyllis Berman nods, adding it's a relief after last week's GOP convention where Republicans repeatedly called Clinton a criminal and chanted for her to be locked up.

PHYLLIS BERMAN: I like the idea that this convention is slowly moving people back towards understanding that Hillary Clinton has the skill set and the experience that is needed for the job.

SMITH: Another Democrat, 26-year-old Maria Zilberberg says she had been deeply devoted to Sanders.

MARIA ZILBERBERG: I, like, listen to him, and I was like, oh, you have changed me. And then I was very much for him, but then, you know, after Hillary made it, I was just like, OK. Let me just open up my mind again a bit more.

SMITH: What ultimately impressed her this week was the lineup of everyone from the president on down now standing with Clinton.

ZILBERBERG: It's all the support that she's getting that gives me comfort because the fact that I'm like there is hope with the support that she's getting.

SMITH: A Pew Research poll this week shows some 90 percent of Sanders backers have moved over to support Clinton, though in Massachusetts, it's not hard to find the die-hards still holding out.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Thank you, Myrna (ph).

O'BRIEN: Yeah.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: It's good to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: You as well.

SMITH: Members of Boston for Bernie shared supportive hugs at a gathering last night where they had planned to watch the convention.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: We're all kind of a little sick to turn it on.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: It's not worth watching, honestly. It's theater.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #5: I'm not wanting to watch theater, and I'm going to head out if that's what we're going to do.

SMITH: Several here say it was already too much to take watching Sanders calling for Clinton to get the nomination by acclamation.

O'BRIEN: We cry. We could have a leader that inspire and that was Bernie.

SMITH: Retired teacher Myrna O'Brien (ph) says she's now at a loss about how to vote in November.

O'BRIEN: My niece got me a shirt at Kohl's that says nobody for president. I'm sorry. I don't have a good answer.

SMITH: She's considering Green Party candidate Jill Stein, as are a few others here. And some say they want to write in Sanders as a protest vote, but, ultimately, most concede they will eventually come around for Clinton. As one put it, the choice is basically status quo or much worse. Tovia Smith, NPR News, Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tovia Smith is an award-winning NPR National Correspondent based in Boston, who's spent more than three decades covering news around New England and beyond.
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