I will be the first to admit that I was as confused as everyone else when I went to reddit and found that BERNIE WINS NEVADA was on the front page last night. Bernie hadn’t won Nevada. I remembered that night. But then I saw all the explanations of how the caucus back in February didn’t actually select the delegates who would go to the national convention, but that’s not the case. The delegates voters selected back then had to show up today for their county conventions in order to select delegates for their state convention in order to select voters for the national convention…or something like that.
And the fact that Bernie was able to pull off an upset like this at the county convention is something I think President Sanders will point to, despite it playing out in his favor this time, as one reason why we need to reform the entire party nomination system. Perhaps the entire two-party system.
But this is exactly what Bernie supporters have been pointing out all along – how broken the system is. The rampant voter suppression and voter disenfranchisement put into action by everyone from Republican governors to Democratic Party officials finally got real for the establishment.
The Truth Is Out There?
Maybe it wasn’t really a conspiracy that Nevada Democrats tried to get Bernie delegates to stay home on convention day, but even the staunchest Hillary supporter should admit it certainly has the appearance of that very thing.
- Take a look at what they did to Christine Kramar at the last minute, trying to arrest her for performing her duties as arbiter.
- While Hillary delegates were sent clear information about showing up for the convention…
- …a rather confusing email (scroll down on this link; it’s under #5) sent to all convention delegates via Eventbrite started out with “If you check-in or register as a delegate on Friday April 1st it is not required for you to be present at the convention on Saturday April 2nd.”
Yep, the event instructions sent by the Clark County Democratic Party told people that registering as a delegate on Friday night meant you didn’t have to show up for the convention on Saturday.
It might appear that Hillary delegates were supposed to take the hint (wink wink nudge nudge) from the other letter from her campaign that they actually needed to show up, while Bernie supporters, had they not been instructed otherwise, would have been misled into thinking that showing up on Friday night was enough. It might appear that the reports of Bernie delegates being told they could leave, that pro-Bernie alternates were harassed and threatened with arrest if they didn’t switch their votes to Hillary, and how party officials tried to keep extending the convention longer and longer – literally all day! – so that people would get frustrated and leave…that this is exactly the kind of rigged game we’ve been up in arms about.
At the end of the day, despite the media screaming that Bernie’s naive-young-white-sexist supporters don’t show up to the polls, it was Hillary’s Clark County delegates who didn’t bother to show up to the convention. One would think that delegates were more avid supporters of their chosen candidates than your random voter on polling day. To be fair, not all of Bernie’s delegates showed up and were able to stay the whole time either…there should have been 9,000 total delegates, and only 5,344 people showed up. That number includes both alternates selected in February and alternates who just showed up that day as registered Democrats. This is what happens with the Democratic Party isn’t actively encouraging members of the party to vote. But those who cared enough about their candidates to attend the convention gave Bernie the win at county level.
The Broken System
This is not a comfortable win for most Bernie Sanders supporters, as it only goes to show how undemocratic the process is. But apparently Obama pulled off the same stunt in 2008, losing to HRC on caucus day but winning at county and state conventions – so this is a known flaw in the system that no one bothered to address.
But hey, voter suppression works. Tell people they can leave, or tell them they don’t have to bother to show up at all, and they’ll listen. And it’s perfectly legal to lie, misinform, or “accidentally” give out questionable information that prevents people from being able to exercise their right to vote. Even in states where certain electoral practices are illegal, prosecution (if it even happens) doesn’t change the results of the vote. The cheaters still win.
Except when their tactics backfire.