Liberal Chaos Reigned At Strange Nevada Convention
Phillip Bump notes the Nevada caucus in late February gave out 23 of the 35 total bound delegates proportionally in the state’s four congressional districts. Hillary amassed a delegate lead of 13 to 10.
The results of the caucus suggested that after the state convention, which bound the state’s seven at-large delegates and five delegates who are elected officials or party leaders — Clinton would end up with a 20-to-15 lead over Bernie Sanders, with Clinton winning one more delegate from the at-large pool (4-to-3) and one more from the party-leader pool (3-to-2) than Sanders.
The people who attended the Democratic convention in Nevada where chaos broke out were chosen during voting in early April. At that point, Sanders out-organized Clinton, getting 2,124 people elected to the state convention (according to the tabulation at the always-essential delegate-tracking site the Green Papers) to Clinton’s 1,722. That suggested that voting at the state convention would flip: Sanders would win those 4-to-3 and 3-to-2 contests, giving him a 7-to-5 victory at the convention and making the state total 18-to-17 for Clinton instead of 20-to-15.
Megan Messerly documented how the chaos formed in the early morning, when a contingent of Sanders supporters opposed the adoption of the convention rules, and threatened to disrupt the day’s proceedings. One of those changes was a process for verifying voice votes; another took issue with the state party chairwoman, Roberta Lange, heading up the convention.
The first report from the credentials committee on Saturday morning indicated that Clinton had a slight edge in delegates. Sanders fans voted against that report, per Jon Ralston, and then demanded a recount — but this was simply a preliminary figure. As in the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1, the final total delegates went through a process of realignment as the day progressed.
That was when the vote to approve the rules as written was conducted by voice vote. The motion, seconded by a Sanders supporter, passed — which is when the room, in Ralston’s phrasing, “erupts.”
Some Sanders supporters had raised concerns over the temporary rules over the past couple of weeks and collected signatures of convention delegates in the last few days to put forward changes to the rules. However, amid the chaos at the front of the room, the supporters said they missed their chance to make a motion and introduce their petitions.
Several Sanders supporters put together what they called a “minority report” of 64 Sanders supporters they believe were wrongly denied delegate status. According to state party representatives, six of those were eventually allowed as delegates, and the rest were denied delegate or alternate status because either they or their records could not be located or they were not registered Democrats by the May 1 deadline.
Eight Clinton supporters were denied delegate or alternate status for similar reasons, according to the state party. National committeeman Andres Ramirez said he would pass along their report to the Democratic National Committee but said no further action will be taken at this time.
In total, 1,693 delegates and alternates showed up to support Clinton on Saturday, while 1,662 turned out for Sanders. All alternates were seated as delegates because not all of the delegates for each candidate showed up.
Spurred by the casino because the event was already well past its scheduled ending time, the caucus adjourned. Sanders supporters refused to concede, remaining in the casino’s ballroom after the event had ended. Eventually, casino security and law enforcement officials entered to force them out of the space, even turning off the lights to get them to depart.
Clinton’s lead over Sanders extends to 282, per delegate-counter Daniel Nichanian. Had Sanders’s supporters been successful, that margin would have been 278 — a number that still demands that the senator win two-thirds of the remaining pledged delegates to take the lead.
The Chaos In Nevada
The caucus process has given chaos a bad name. Most of it should have been avoided. But to be fair, listening to Bernie’s leaders complain they were “not told” things has become like listening to a crying child. Motions fell on deaf ears because of being overtime with the venue. The cops were in the wings to aid the Paris Convention Security to oust everyone.
The chaos started within the first 10 minutes of the convention to the point it required a thirty minute cool down time that every delegate was forced to endure. The “hijack the convention” tactic by claiming registration irregularities and other various unfair acts worked at Clark County’s convention, but in the end it is every delegate’s duty to read the rules and be responsible, not just combative and disruptive.
Unfortunately, nothing Roberta Lange did was illegal. No laws were broken. This use of inflammatory language claiming Lange broke some law is why Bernie’s movement is unwinding. I get that the message is designed to excite its fellow denizens, but it’s alienating people that are sympathetic to it.
The failing of the Chair was that it did not complete and close the Congressional District 3 specific business being conducted in the General Hall prior to conducting full convention business. They should have announced that the Congressional District 3 business was concluded and closed, then announced that the business of the convention was being reconvened, and then the full convention should have been called to order. Neither of these happened. Everything that occurred afterward was out of order.
It was a correct ruling by Chris Wicker that the last Congressional candidate to speak to CD3 was out of order by asking for a recount motion to the Convention proper. An in-session Senate subcommittee meeting cannot compel business to be conducted on the Senate floor for example.
Conspiracy theories aren’t exactly a great justification for voter suppression and stealing delegates. Actual wrongdoing is not the appropriate response to perceived wrongdoing. There is no justification for Bernie’s campaign response.
Again, it’s clear that Bernie’s just another politician and no amount of logic gymnastics can justify his supporters’ action here. For all the talk about a revolution, they are playing politics as usual. He’s behind roughly 700 delegates when including declared super delegates and his supporters were raising hell over a small handful of them.
The DNC and Hillary’s leadership contributed to this loss as well. In choosing pacifism, they demonstrated that they had neither the capacity nor willingness to address glaring procedural issues and help lead the party by finding a consensus on how to proceed according to the rules.
The real damage was to the Party Platform, where three Bernie supporters and three Hillary supporters were on the committee that drafted it. All three Bernie advocates supported the platform as drafted, making changes within the rules published by the party as platform members. They were part of the process and their input made the platform better. But having a consensus platform was not good enough for those who chose to be irresponsible. That’s the most glaring violation that occurred in all of this.
The so-called floor leaders of the Bernie camp simply are not in step with the solid and responsible and inclusion-committed Bernie supporters who, without resorting to disruption, have been thoughtfully and positively influencing the Democratic Party’s platform this election cycle. That’s what Democrats should be celebrating. But from all reports, we are not. Disruption/Chaos/Trump: 1; Nevada Democrats: 0.
I don’t want Hillary at all costs, I want voting to work. If we’re stuck with the antiquated caucus system (which Bernie supports, by the way), then we should all want the number of delegates to match the voting turnout, regardless of who we support. But that’s not the case with Bernie’s supporters. They tried and failed to override the will of the voters and, with desperation and profane outbursts, caused chaos at the convention.
Cries of “excluding people from voting” when those people fundamentally broke or didn’t follow the rules ring hollow. Unregistering yourself as a Democrat and then trying to attend the Democratic convention will get you denied. Refusing to follow the rules as set forth prior to the convention reeks of organizational ineptitude.
Can we just have the election look like the voting turnout please? Can we target voters who will actually show up at the caucus to vote for your candidate, rather than trying to steal delegates from the candidate who won?
As a Hillary supporter, I’m unsatisfied with Democratic Party officials. At the end, business was conducted in such a non-parliamentarian manner that it shames me as a Democrat to think how amateurishly run the caucus process in Nevada was conducted.