It's a little overused, so forgive me for exclaiming, "Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!"
Honestly, I didn't think I'd ever again write a column about the rapidly sunsetting Bernie v Hillary fracas, but then the Nevada convention melee occurred. On top of that, there's been an ongoing barrage of Facebook attacks by Bernie supporters against my friend and favorite radio talker, Stephanie Miller.
Consequently, I can't help but to step back into this mess.
First, the culprits don't deserve name-recognition, so I won't get into specifics about what's been said or who's said it. But I can say with reasonable confidence that there have been few characters in public view who've acted with more grace and fairness about the Democratic primaries than Stephanie Miller. Not unlike myself, Stephanie could've easily taken a solidly one-sided posture on the race and it probably would've augmented her already strong ratings. Instead, she's been extraordinarily deferential to Bernie Sanders, and remarkably nuanced in her analysis. (Nuance, while smarter, tends to be met with ho-hum responses, while screechy hardline postures are generally ratings-getters. Trust me, I kn0w.) Regardless, she's been targeted as a Hillary shill, even though I've never heard her brainlessly support anything or anyone, including Hillary.
So, seriously, cut the shit. Stephanie isn't the enemy here.
Next, let's talk Nevada. From what I've been able to ascertain from reliable sources such as NPR, Talking Points Memo and Politifact, I can say with relative certainty the following:
1) Claims of election fraud and disenfranchisement at the Nevada state convention are false and unsubstantiated, most of which are based on a misunderstanding of the rules.
2) Claims of physical violence at the convention perpetrated by angry Bernie supporters are, likewise, unproven.
Violence on the Floor
I've seen one video of an angry Bernie supporter holding up a chair, then putting it down. I've also seen a video of Bernie people chanting, "Bullshit!" Not shocking. And I've seen a video of a man laying on the ground near a barricade. I haven't seen any videos of Bernie supporters engaging in noteworthy "violence." So, I can't personally verify the existence of violence instigated by Bernie supporters.
Also, bear this in mind: we've heard numerous reports for months now that GOP operatives have been attempting to infiltrate gatherings of Bernie supporters in order to ratfuck the primaries. It's unknown whether GOP operatives attended the convention, posing as delegates, but my gut tells me it's unlikely since the operatives would've needed to pose as known delegates.
NPR, meanwhile, determined there's been no evidence of serious violence. It's also worth noting that NPR has been repeatedly accused of being anti-Bernie, so a ruling against the existence of violence is notable and unimpeachable.
Additionally, Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall wrote, "Only some of those incidents could be backed up by video evidence posted by those at Saturday's convention and other reports." Josh has also been targeted as a Hillary supporter, even though he, too, has been nuanced in his position all along.
Allegations of Election Fraud
About the convention process and accusations of malfeasance, Politifact made an extremely powerful case against any pro-Hillary vote jiggering on behalf of the party establishment and Roberta Lange, the state chairwoman.
1) Bernie delegates seeking to change the rules admittedly failed to propose those amendments during the allotted time.
2) Any amendments to the rules needed two-thirds support. The delegates for each side were more or less split 50/50, so even if Erin Bilbray, a Bernie superdelegate, had proposed actual amendments to the rules, they wouldn't have been ratified due to the delegate numbers in the room.
3) A voice vote on making the rules permanent appeared to indicate more Bernie supporters in attendance, but it was likely a fluke since there's no real way to accurately determine voice vote numbers with 3,000 people shouting at the same time.
4) Regardless, two separate head-counts showed a majority of Hillary delegates in attendance.
5) There was a so-called "minority report" which protested a decision by the credentials committee to eliminate 64 Bernie state delegates, per a list assembled by Team Hillary. It turns out, six of those delegates were seated by the committee, while the rest were rejected because they weren't registered Democats, or their identities couldn't be confirmed. Insanely enough, even with cries of disenfranchisement, only eight of the 64 disputed Bernie delegates even bothered to show up at the convention, therefore even if all of the 64 disputed delegates had been somehow accepted by the credentials committee, they wouldn't have flipped the outcome. Not even close. Once again, Bernie people failed to appear when needed -- a fatal flaw that's plagued the campaign from the beginning: Big crowds, big enthusiasm, not a big enough turnout.
6) Even if everything had gone Bernie's way, he would've likely only picked up two delegates to the national convention, making it statistically inconsequential for overall victory.
7) In summation, accusations of election shenanigans in Nevada were ruled by Politifact to be "FALSE."
Okay, so, enough of this argle-bargle about disenfranchisement and election fraud in Nevada. And by way of recapping the violence claims, there's no real evidence of serious infractions in that regard either.
Of course, this column will get me nowhere with either Bernie people or Hillary people. And guess what? I don't care. This horseshit has gone on long enough, and we've careened beyond the zero barrier -- it's time to focus on the general election and making sure Donald Trump doesn't inaugurate the early stages of Idiocracy. Part of that effort means putting down the shovels and becoming reacquainted with the bigger picture.