Sunday, May 15, 2016

Delegate dispute at Nevada Democratic Convention

Yesterday night, the Nevada Democratic Convention ended with 20 pledged delegates won by Hillary Clinton, and 15 by Bernie Sanders. A dispute over delegate rules led to a raucous evening that brought in law enforcement. Complaints from Sanders supporters were as follows:

  • The convention rules were unfavorable for Sanders
  • A large number of Sanders delegates (in the range of 50-70, enough to sway the majority) were disqualified and unable to appeal for various reasons, including not registering with the Democratic Party by the May 1 deadline and missing personal information
Sanders supporters called for recounts and appeals, both of which were declined due to the event being past its scheduled end time for the day. Due to Sanders supporters remaining in the venue after the end of the convention, law enforcement was called in to evict them.

Convention and election rules being unfavorable to Sanders is nothing new, so the news of the convention in Nevada is not particularly surprising. Exactly how much corruption is at work here is pretty questionable in my eyes, and Clinton's lead is still large enough that the few delegates that could have gone the other way here would not have made much of a difference. Sanders just isn't pulling the large majorities he needs to win the nomination at this point.

When is it OK for convention attendees to defy authority and raise a ruckus? Are election rules rigged to benefit establishment candidates? What should Sanders do with his campaign to best benefit the country?

Washington Post


Christopher Duan said...

From what I can piece together, no rules were actually "unjust". Correct me if I'm mistaken, but my takeaway is that Sanders' supporters seeked to change the rules, but failed to do so, and were not happy about the situation, and then were denied a recount. Following those events, protests started happening. Since this is on private property they have no rights to protest, and were rightfully removed. Though I lean towards Bernie over Hillary, this seems to be in Clinton's favor here: the rules are what they are, and no rules were changed for the Nevada election just to swing Clinton over. After all, the conventions are held to choose a candidate for the party, and the parties are not obligated to choose based on votes. This has also come about recently in protesting against Hillary, calling this process "un-democratic", but my take on it is simply that democracy never required primary elections in states to choose the candidates, so people need to calm down before acting on emotion.

Ryan Swan said...

Everything seemed just through my view. Yes, what happened to Mr. Sanders and his supporters did "suck," acting out as they did almost never seems suitable for a political environment. Especially when it is being covered by multiple news channels! "Raising a ruckus" may get the attention of the public, and I'll admit it sounds like a ball of a time, this is not the kind of attention you want. To sum everything up, a ruckus would only make the culprits seem belligerent. The delegates are suppose to represent the people. If they start preaching like Obama's pastor did when they are not given what they want, it only reinforces the idea that they do not deserve the victory in the first place. Now, are the election rules rigged? I wouldn't put it past them. And if Bernie Sanders should do something with his campaign to benefit the country, he better win that primary election because with Clinton or Trump as president, we are going to see a lot worse than a little dispute over 5 votes.

Jeffrey Song said...

I agree with both of the views articulated above. From what I know, the rules were not suddenly sprung on Bernie supporters in a malicious attempt to help Hillary win what is already looking to be her Democratic nomination. Just because those supporters are 'anti-establishment' and look to every opportunity to demonize those associated with the party structure doesn't mean that rules don't apply to them. There's a reason why Hillary is in the lead right now and it's because her supporters are coming out to vote in numbers larger than Bernies'. Unless Sanders wants to run an independent campaign after losing the nomination, he should probably just concede defeat and bide his time/try to enact change from within the future administration. I'm not a Clinton supporter, but some of the stuff that Bernie supporters pull under the justification of "we're a grass-roots movement against the establishment and we're fighting to save the country from the evil of politics" is kind of ridiculous. I think that his point has been made and that what initially seemed drastic about his ideals/policies has actually been as well-received by the nation as he could have hoped for in this election cycle. Time to either pack up the bags or ramp up the campaign and potentially split the Democratic party internally, making the prospect of a 2016 Trump seem more and more likely.

Huayu Ouyang said...

I agree with the previous commenters that although election rules in general do benefit the establishment candidate, they are nothing new and have been in place for a long time. It doesn't seem to me that they are designed specifically to get Clinton elected and defeat Sanders. I think a lot of Sanders supporters think that the nomination process favors the establishment candidate, which is probably true to some extent, but I don't think it's more corrupt than any previous years. Even without this incident at the Nevada Democratic Convention, Clinton still would have won the majority of delegates from Nevada, so it's not like this would have gotten Sanders that much closer to winning the nomination process. Although the DNC and the nomination process are probably more favorable to the establishment candidate, I don't think that's the sole reason Clinton is winning the majority of the delegates; I think Clinton just simply has more people voting for her.

Emma Mester said...

I agree with all of the comments so far. I don't think it is right when people complain about something being unjust or wrong simply because they aren't getting their way. Of course, I think that people always technically have the right to protest or "raise a ruckus", as you say. Also, I think it is interesting that you don't mention if Sanders himself (or his campaign) directly said anything or was upset. Since they would be the ones to better know the ins and outs of the delegate/election system, I'd be interested to hear what they say.

Langston Swiecki said...

Bernie's campaign is reaching a critical crossroads, at which a decision must be made of whether to carry out the primary cycle to its bitter end or concede defeat to Clinton for the benefit that time grants the nominee in the general election, for while their views still differ drastically, Sanders has successfully dragged Clinton to the left, and regardless of what more extreme supporters of Sanders may claim, Clinton's views are far closer to Bernie's than those of Trump, and thus would ultimately seem to be preferable to Trump in a match up of the two. From all of the complaints these protesters are making, there would seem to be a vocal minority who seems determined to make Bernie appear as a victim of the established political system, despite the apparent fact that the rules were laid out prior to the convention and thus the delegates themselves were to blame. Regardless, considering that Clinton holds a 274 delegate lead in pledged delegates, Bernie will have to work within the party establishment to procure super-delegates, most of which have at least verbally committed to Clinton. A few measly votes in Nevada does not free Bernie from ultimately needing to generate support from the party in order to win the nomination, something that seems less and less likely as his supporters grow more and more adversarial towards the Democratic party.

Andrew Wang said...

With a race this tight between Bernie and Clinton, every vote matters right now for both candidates. I think that the way that the Democratic party has been doing their best to deter Sanders from being able to nominated, there needs to be more regulation to protect candidates that might not be the favored candidate to be nominated. And in the end, even if Sanders loses, he will have shown that at least there is a way to get young people involved in politics, and that at least Sanders made Clinton fight for the nomination more than she would have liked to.