What happened in New York State may not be indicative of what’s happening in official Democratic Party proceedings across the United States, but some of us wouldn’t be surprised if this is representative of how Democrats are treating fellow Democrats elsewhere.
I stumbled upon a story from one of my district’s delegates who will be attending the Democratic National Convention in July. (This story is developing and will be updated with any new information that comes to light.) In fact, Josephine Moore and I will be carpooling to Philadelphia. I saw her and spoke with her at a local organizing meeting with a roomful of our fellow Democrats and members of the Working Families Party. So it disturbed me greatly when I read this story that she shared on Facebook today, emphasis mine:
[T]oday I attended the NYS Democratic Delegation meeting. It was about 58% Hillary and 42% Bernie. There were about 10 speakers, 2 of which were from the Bernie camp, and one of those was a last-minute addition, probably for “balance.”
One speaker for Hillary said there is only one presidential candidate who cares about the poor, as though Bernie Sanders has ceased to exist now that Clinton is the PRESUMPTIVE nominee. When some from the Bernie group voiced that, no, Bernie cares about the poor, we were yelled at, told to be quiet, and Hillary delegates chanted “UNITY! UNITY!”
When we disliked the majority’s nominee for delegation chair, Andrew Cuomo, and the man running the meeting asked if there were any other nominations, members of our delegation piped up, “YES!” But the man ignored us, closed the time for nominations, and summarily called for the vote for Cuomo, which, of course, the Hillary delegation voted for. When we were upset about not being respected enough to even nominate a chair (who wouldn’t even be elected because we didn’t have the votes), one Hillary delegate took [his] cane and hit one of our delegates—twice. [Update: here is a link to video from the time of the assault, though the assault is not visible on camera.]
We represent 42% of the state’s Democrats, but that might as well be 0% to them. We were essentially being ordered to shut up and fall in line because Trump. Clinton, who had the media and the money and the DNC behind her, still couldn’t win the needed number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination before the Convention, so it will be decided by superdelegates at the Convention, who are choosing her despite the fact that she polls much weaker than Sanders against Trump and that she is the subject of an FBI criminal investigation. Supposedly it is the job of the superdelegates to put up the strongest candidate, but in my view, they’re not.
It’s not the job of voters to shut up and fall in line. I will no longer vote against a candidate. I will only vote for the candidate I believe in the most. And I am not culpable if we end up with a terrible president because the DNC put up the weaker candidate and I had the audacity to vote according to my principles because, y’know, that’s what you’re supposed to do in a democracy.
It is my hope that my fellow Democrats, even those who support Hillary, would be disgusted by the treatment of our delegates at this official function.
Delegates for Bernie Sanders made up nearly half of the entire state delegation, but they were silenced at a meeting in which procedure should have allowed them a voice, even if their votes wouldn’t carry the day.
One of our delegates was physically assaulted with a blunt object when a delegate for Hillary hit them with his cane. My disability requires me to rely on a cane to walk from time to time, and it would never be appropriate for me to hit anyone with it. And yet one delegate hit another delegate with his cane twice.
This is bullying, at the very least. It’s undemocratic, too. Last time I checked, 58% isn’t 100%, and the Democratic Party with a Capital D seems less and less concerned with respecting democracy with a lowercase d. And I’m not sure how hard that one delegate was hit, but hell, that could be assault in the third degree, a criminal misdemeanor.
To my fellow New York State Democrats, we need to tell Governor Andrew Cuomo and our other elected officials that we deserve better than this. To my fellow Democrats in other states, tell your Democratic Party officials to respect the minority delegates and conduct business in a professional manner.
And I’m told by another fellow Democrat, Zackery Smith, that while no canings took place at the New Hampshire delegation meeting last Saturday, “some Clintonites couldn’t quite control themselves and started grabbed Bernie signs from our delegates and tearing them up,” which he describes sardonically as an “outstanding display of party unity.”
You cannot demand unity from fellow party members when you mistreat them in such a manner as the New York delegation did. Unity requires reaching out and earning trust and respect. No one owes a vote to anyone. Shouting down your fellow Democrats, not even allowing them to nominate a candidate for chair, and actually physically assaulting them is one surefire way to push party members away, perhaps losing them forever. Our party will die out in a war of attrition. You can’t bully voters into unity. Rethink the strategy.
[Update 9:02 pm EST]
After this post was originally published, more information became available on Twitter.
Here is the official statement from the New York for Bernie 2016 delegation:
— #BernieOrBust (@meanjean28) June 22, 2016
Additional tweets about the incident shows frustration from other supporters of Bernie Sanders. Inclusion of these quotes does not constitute endorsement by MOMocrats or the author of this post:
— Mats Liland (@MatsLiland) June 22, 2016
— Miss Hot (@MissHot) June 22, 2016
— ¡Viva Bernie! (@BilblyBob) June 21, 2016
— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) June 22, 2016
"Why do you beat your wife?" elderly man & Clinton supporter said when asked why he hit @MouBernie with his cane. Also said, "Go to hell"
— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) June 22, 2016