Last Saturday, attendees of the Nevada Democratic State Convention were likely questioning if they accidentally entered a Trump rally as fevered Bernie Sanders supporters collectively lost their shit when a motion for a recount for the state’s delegates was rejected.
The response rippled through social media. Claims of rigging, Clinton dictatorships and the death of the Democratic Party itself were mixed in among links to the latest Youtube cat videos and never-ending Minion memes.
The claims were also complete bullshit.
Nevada’s caucus to convention process breaks down into three separate events:
- Caucus night
- County Conventions
- State Convention
Nevada has 35 delegates and 8 superdelegates. On caucus night, 23 delegates are allocated to the candidates. On February 20, Clinton won 13 delegates compared to Sanders’ 10.
The remaining twelve are proportionally allocated during the state convention. Based on the caucus night results, Clinton was estimated to ultimately take 20 delegates in total, with Sanders ending up with the remaining 15.
Before the state convention, campaign delegates and unelected alternates attend the county conventions to determine how many go on to the state convention. The number of delegates who go on to the state convention then determine how the state’s remaining 12 delegates (7 At-Large Delegates and 5 Pledged Party Leaders and Elected Officials) are allocated to the candidates.
The 23 delegates from caucus night and the 12 from the State Convention give us Nevada’s 35 pledged delegate total.
Nevada’s process is so convoluted, it could be a sub-plot on an episode of 24.
Sanders’ supporters swarmed the county conventions (specifically, Clark County), outnumbering Clinton supporters. This led to even more confusion as sites like U.S. Uncut ran articles declaring Sanders won the “Nevada Caucus,” which is simply untrue.
Although the county convention results would send 2,124 delegate slots for Sanders to the state convention compared to Clinton’s 1,722, this would still result in a loss for Dr. Doolittle. Rather than a Clinton win of 20-15, it would narrow the gap to 18-17.
Then Saturday happened.
Only 1,662 of Sanders’ delegate slots were filled. Clinton filled 1,695.
Jesus, Sanders supporters. To quote Randy in Valley Girl: “What were you doing in there, kissing girls goodnight?”
From the Nevada Democratic State Party:
“Clinton only had 27 delegate positions vacant on Saturday. Sanders left 462 vacant. Clinton filled 98 present of her available delegate slots at the State Convention, and Sanders only filled 78 percent of his available delegate slots.”
58 of Sanders’ delegates were found to be ineligible by the NV Democratic State Party for two reasons:
- “They were not registered Democratic voters in Nevada by May 1, 2016.”
- “Their information – such as address, date of birth and name – could not be found or identified, and they did not respond to requests from the party and campaigns to correct it.”
Failure to register as Democrats to vote in the New York Democratic primary was a major issue for many Sanders supporters last month as well.
It is simply mind-blowing to me that the campaign did not better prepare its supporters for the state rules of each primary and caucus.
On Friday, Sanders released a statement prior to the state convention advocating for his supporters “working together respectfully and constructively” during the convention.
Since Saturday’s event, Nevada Democratic Chairwoman Roberta Lange has received numerous threats, a sample of which have been posted online by political commentator Jon Ralston.
“I think people like you should be hung in a public execution to show this world that we won’t stand for this sort of corruption,” one unidentified male leaves on a voice message.
Another unidentified class act yells at Lange: “You fucking stupid bitch! What the hell are you doing? You’re a fucking corrupt bitch!”
The Nevada state Democratic Party headquarters in Las Vegas and Carson City offices have both been vandalized.
As of this writing, Sanders has remained silent on these events. The right thing to do would be for the Vermont senator to denounce these acts… anytime, Bernie.
There is no conspiracy or rigged system. It’s simple math. Sanders did not have the numbers on February 20th and he didn’t have them on Saturday.
In a thinly veiled diss at Trump, President Obama recently said during a commencement speech at Rutgers University:
“It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about.”
A faction of Sanders supporters should take that to heart.
UPDATE: Hours after publishing this piece, Bernie Sanders released a defiant statement. Refusing to specifically condemn the unruly faction, Sanders focused on criticizing the Nevada state party leadership.
The Nevada Democratic State Party quickly responded to Sanders’ statement. The NDSP called out the campaign for repeating inaccuracies on the process itself, explaining: “the rules were passed in accordance with procedures the Sanders campaign had never objected to before today.”
Responding directly to Sanders’ claim that 58 delegates were not offered an opportunity to be heard, the party explains that 8 were not registered Democrats and the other 50 “never showed up at the convention to attempt to register.”