The Nevada Democratic Convention on
Saturday, May 15 encapsulated the party’s 2016 primary process—it was marred by
overly-complex delegate math and processes, allegations of deceit and
favoritism, and anger towards the status-quo.
All of that, however, isn’t new,
nor is it terribly important. What is
important is the alleged violence that took place, with most sources citing
Sanders supporters as aggressors; they’ve been unhappy about the party’s
processes the entire primary, and it all came to a head in Nevada. Also, how the two parties in question—the
Bernie Sanders campaign and supporters and the Democratic National Committee
(DNC)—responded after the bust-up is significant.
The DNC, both national and local,
was quick to hurl accusations that Sanders’ supporters were extremely unruly,
and committed acts of “actual violence.”
Roberta Lange, the chairwoman of the Nevada Democratic Party, called on
Sanders to publicly apologize for his supporters’ behavior, citing threats
against her and her family as having been made.
The Chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, publicly slammed Sanders
and his supporters.
The Sanders campaign, on the other
hand, released a press release, formally condemning violence and harassment of
all sorts with the caveat that the DNC acknowledge that Sanders supporters,
delegates, and surrogates were treated unilaterally unfairly. Additionally, a few of Sanders’ chief staff
members provided public comment, but they were notably much more toned down
than their DNC counterparts.
You’d think that all of this would
hurt Sanders’ campaign, right?
Wrong. Not in 2016. This is the year of the outsider—just look
across the aisle for confirmation of that.
The “Bernie or Bust” movement is a serious one, with about a third of
Sanders supporters definitively stating that they won’t vote for Clinton if she
were to be the Democratic nominee.
If the Democrats are to beat Donald
Trump and the Republicans in the general election they’re going to need the
support of Sanders’ supporters, whether he’s the nominee or not. Unfortunately for the party, the DNC just
threw fuel all over the fire. The DNC,
with their accusations and calls for action from the Senator, strengthened the
narrative of their favoritism and essentially un-democratic processes; their
lack of specifics in regards to the alleged violence didn’t help their claims,
Sanders’ supporters will likely
continue to raise tons of money, driving the primary all the way to the
convention. If she wins, Secretary
Clinton will limp over the threshold, right into a Republican onslaught. The only thing that can stop a late Sanders
surge, whether he steals the nomination or not, is his decision to drop out
early, which now, he certainly won’t be doing.
Sanders and the “Bernie or Bust”
movement has never looked stronger.
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Contributor: Jack Haandraadts, Account Coordinator at Marketing Maven