How Bernie Sanders Lost Nevada Four Times

Spread the love

First, Sanders lost Nevada because Hillary Clinton won the caucus.

Then, the Sanders campaign put their ground game into effect, in an effort to overtake Clinton during the nearly-unique-to-Nevada process that allows for changes in pledged delegates at later caucuses. But he didn’t get enough delegates to achieve that. The Sanders campaign does get credit for getting more delegates than they had before, of course.

Then, at the State Convention, Sanders had enough delegates in place to gain a couple of more delegates and possibly tie with Clinton in the end. But the organizers for the Sanders campaign failed to ensure that all the delegates to that convention were totally on board with what they needed to do in order to be credentialed at the event. Of the thousands of delegates at the convention, a handful of Clinton delegates failed to be credentialed (an expected number) but something over 60, initially, of the Sanders delegates were not legit, so they could not participate. A few of those managed to get credentialed by clarifying their information, but most did not. I’m not 100% certain of this, but I think that had they all been credentialed there would have been enough Sanders delegates to win one more delegate.

The fourth failure is complex, and mainly philosophical. First, Sanders supporters around the country are complaining a lot about how the Democratic Party process is an insiders game and ignored the will of the people. This is odd, considering that the will of the people leans strongly towards Clinton. In any event, the Sanders campaign playing the ground game in the middle of the Nevada process was inside politics. This sort of inside politics is perfectly normal, legal, expected, and what you have to do if you want to win. But by complaining loudly about the Clinton campaign doing this sort of thing, and then doing this, Sanders lost a moral high ground. The fact that this particular moral high ground does not exist to begin with means that this is merely an annoyance, but it is annoying.

Another part of the fourth failure is the cacophony of Sanders voices complaining about getting screwed in Las Vegas (I’m sure they weren’t the only ones that evening). This is a problem because it engenders bad feelings among democrats, but the accusation is based on nothing. What really happened is that the Sanders campaign tried to grab a couple of more delegates, but owing, I think, to too many people involved being ignorant of how the system works, failing to do as well as they might have. This same ignorance has led to unfounded complaints about what happened at the Nevada convention. This whole thing, this fourth way of losing, has given people whoa are getting tired of the Sanders followers more of a reason to call for Sanders to drop out of a race he has already lost. That loss may be more important than the small number of delegates that the Nevada Sanders campaign organizers failed to get.

A few points for those not fully aware. First, the numbers of delegates at the convention is very large, and the number of delegates who were not credentialed is very small, a fraction of a percent. Second, yes, this convention was chaotic, but guess what: they are all, always, chaotic. What happened at this convention was mostly pretty normal, though the Sanders antics did make the event run way more over time than usual. Another thing that was a bit unusual was that they were allowed to go over time by three hours. That is fairly remarkable. Usually, a extended event (caucus or campaign) shuts down much sooner.

Both campaigns had people involved in counting delegates, credentialing delegates, and running the meeting. This was not a case of Sanders people all on the floor and Clinton people running the show. Rather, both Clinton and Sanders people were involved in all aspects of this convention, and both Sanders and Clinton people, for the most part, acted properly during the event. I think it was just a small number of Sanders people who were causing all the extra raucous, and later complaining about it.

When considering the events in Nevada, remember that no two caucuse systems are alike, and the Nevada system is probably much less like the others than any. People are calling for a revision of the Nevada system, to not allow so much changing around of delegate pledges after the initial causus (though that has nothing to do with what happened Saturday), but actually, this system is better for the campaign process and for democracy. First, candidates have to demonstrate that they are willing to do more than just show up for a few days of stumping and buy a few ads. They have to be involved at the state and local level the whole time. Second, if there is a shift in the opinion of party mebmers as to who should get the state’s delegates, this allows for that adjustment. In this case, the adjustment mainly indicated a shift towards Clinton and away from Sanders. Thus, the Sanders people are a bit upset. Understandable, but just part of the process.

By and large, a lot of Democrats (both Sanders and Clinton supporters) are deciding to love or hate a the process, or a particular part of the process, based on whether their candidate won or lost. Please stop. In fact, estopp. You signed up for the game, this is the game, these are the rules. Feel free to suggest changes in the rules, but you can’t issue a complaint when the rules are followed but you didn’t get your way.


Spread the love

13 thoughts on “How Bernie Sanders Lost Nevada Four Times

  1. Yours is a different characterization of events than the summary here by Sanders people who were present at and videotaped the event: https://www.reddit.com/r/SandersForPresident/comments/4jid77/basic_stepbystep_of_what_went_down_yesterday_at/

    It sounds like the Clinton people pulled a fast one by changing the rules and holding an earlier-than-scheduled vote to help prevent the ~60 delegates from being credentialed and refusing to revisit the rule change. The delegates were not provided an opportunity to prove they had proper credentials even though there’s supposed to be procedures in place for that.

    Particularly egregious, and perhaps the most dramatic of all the moments captured on video, is Roberta Lange calling for a voice vote to close the proceedings and asserting that the “ayes” have it despite very obvious and loud “nay” votes which may well have been the majority.

    In addition to that summary, here’s a timeline from an attendee that suggests numerous motions from Sanders supporters were ignored, and that attempts to have a motion to recount were ignored (despite other motions being accepted): https://www.reddit.com/r/SandersForPresident/comments/4jdn3y/nevada_democratic_convention_mega_thread/d36591z

    I think it’s very unfortunate and unfair to just characterize this as rabble from an unruly crowd instead of elected delegates with genuine concerns being shut out of the process.

  2. Greg,

    This is a pseudonym so I guess it doesn’t really matter, but my *intended* handle is Josef Johann, taken from Wittgenstein’s two middle names.

    I would have hoped that if you are aware of these contentions, you would have treated them with more sympathy than you do in your blog post. I felt the most charitable interpretation of your post was that you maybe hadn’t seen other interpretations of the same event.

    In particular, refusing to hear motions for a recount and granting other motions, and denying delegates opportunity to prove their bona fides, and changing rules to pass resolutions by a voice vote instead of a count, and refusing to reconsider the rule changes, all seem pretty serious to me, and they seem much more like legitimate points of contention than mere rabble rousing.

    I respect that it’s difficult to sort through all of the details, particularly since I think sometimes that demand is made of others in bad faith in order to inundate them. So in some cases it makes sense to consider context and partisan intentions of people who want to keep throwing more and more details at the wall.

    But at the end of the day, for something as important as electing a nominee for president, I think this is a case where it’s fair to plead for closer attention.

  3. Particularly egregious, and perhaps the most dramatic of all the moments captured on video, is Roberta Lange calling for a voice vote to close the proceedings and asserting that the “ayes” have it despite very obvious and loud “nay” votes which may well have been the majority.

    In addition to that summary, here’s a timeline from an attendee that suggests numerous motions from Sanders supporters were ignored, and that attempts to have a motion to recount were ignored (despite other motions being accepted):

    Alternately the Bernie backers didn’t understand the rules well enough to know how to manage the agenda by doing things like seconding motions. Kinda sketchy though no less sketchy than them trying to take more delegates even though they lost the caucus.

    As for the Yay vs Nay controversy the videos are kind meaningless. They’re taken from inside a crowd of Bernie supporters. Of course the Nays sound louder!!

  4. josefjohann,

    “I think it’s very unfortunate and unfair to just characterize this as rabble from an unruly crowd instead of elected delegates with genuine concerns being shut out of the process.”

    The death threats will surely turn the tide of sympathy in your favor.

  5. Aaron,

    it wasn’t a matter of motions not being seconded, it was motions being ignored, which is different, and importantly so.

    Zebra,

    To my knowledge no death threats were made at the convention, which is where Roberta Lange wrongfully excluded delegates. And it wouldn’t make exclusion of delegates acceptable in any case.

    Greg,

    Here is the most human readable summary of events I have yet encountered. I challenge anyone to read this and conclude the elected Sanders delegates did not have legitimate cause for concern:

    How Democrats Manipulated Nevada State Party Convention Then Blamed Sanders For Chaos.

  6. Considering Clinton’s army of trolls, and Trump’s, it is by no means a certainty that death threats came from Sanders camp.
    Of course, now someone who claims they voted for Bernie will tell me this is just a Republican talking point.

  7. [T]he Sanders people should know better than to conclude what has been a brilliant and important campaign by turning it into an extended temper tantrum.

    I voted for Bernie Sanders … But if anybody thinks that, somehow, he is having the nomination “stolen” from him, they are idiots.
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/05/sanders-needs-to-talk-down-his-supporters.html

    Having lost the battle for votes and pledged delegates, the Sanders supporters are trying to Cruz their way to the nomination.

    (By the way, I don’t live in the U.S., and I’m not a U.S. citizen. I agree with Sanders’s goals, but America’s political realities being what they are, they are not achievable.)

  8. It has been astonishing since the beginning of the campaign how much the media establishment has belittled or shunned Sanders and crowned Hillary Clinton. Sanders had to count on popular support, and appreciation of his ideas, because he was not going to get any attention from the press, who seemed offended when Sanders was rude enough to win a caucus or primary.

    Clinton and the party establishment wrote the rules, including the inclusion of hundreds of bought and paid for old pols, the so called super delegates. Democracy my foot.

    The only way Hillary could pay for her ‘no we can’t’ campaign was to get those fat checks from the corporate big shots. Money for Sanders poured in from ordinary voters.

    The Dem party decided to manipulate Nevada into being one of Hillary’s multiple fire walls, and Sanders, being new to the game, never had a chance at inside trickery. Then Clinton topped it off by generating this idiotic effort to put Sanders on the defensive for his out of control supporters.

    If Clinton were really popular she would not need to orchestrate an effort to shame Sanders out of the race. No wonder Sanders supporters get mad. We know that the establishment types are trying every trick in the book to push us aside so they can carry on the Big Bill legacy of filling the White House and Oval Office with Wall Street crooks and CEOs. Maybe Hillary is already planning her library, and she worries about how to pay for it. We deserve better. But then, our party has sold us out.

    1. It has been astonishing since the beginning of the campaign how much the media establishment has belittled or shunned Sanders and crowned Hillary Clinton. Sanders had to count on popular support, and appreciation of his ideas, because he was not going to get any attention from the press, who seemed offended when Sanders was rude enough to win a caucus or primary.

      It’s not a conspiracy, the media covers candidates who are popular, Sanders had to build up his popularity to get coverage. If he wanted more coverage at the start he needed to start building up popular support earlier.

      Clinton and the party establishment wrote the rules, including the inclusion of hundreds of bought and paid for old pols, the so called super delegates. Democracy my foot.

      There’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t go to Sanders if he won more pledged delegates, they went over to Obama when he won the popular vote. Do you think they were “bought and paid for” eight years ago?

      Sanders is the only one explicitly saying the superdelegates should overturn the will of the voters, eliminate the superdelegates and Sanders chances are even more hopeless.

      The Dem party decided to manipulate Nevada into being one of Hillary’s multiple fire walls, and Sanders, being new to the game, never had a chance at inside trickery.

      The Sanders campaign was the one trying inside trickery to win more delegates even though they lost the vote. Whether or not the Clinton campaign used inside trickery they used it to uphold the popular vote.

      If Clinton were really popular she would not need to orchestrate an effort to shame Sanders out of the race. No wonder Sanders supporters get mad.

      They wants Sanders to quit because he’s already lost the race, he can’t come back at this point and attacking the legitimacy of the process risks dividing the party and hurting in the general election. Right now Trump is rallying the Republicans while Clinton is still being attacked by Sanders.

  9. @Aaron,

    It’s blockquote and /blockquote enclosed in .

    It’s interesting that in 2008 (there were all kinds of difficulties with rules in the primaries, but) by various counts the popular vote only differed by a few hundred thousand, rather than the current 3 million.

    But this year the outcome is “undemocratic”??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.