As an unwarranted fantasy, one of those fantasies that we do not pay much attention to, (because it would be so far out of our grasp); would be a fantasy of being a willing participant and witness of the American history. Something like; “You have no idea how proud I was to walk along Dr. Martin Luther King Junior in Selma;” or perhaps… “You have no idea the shiver running up my spine when I heard President Lincoln reading the Gettysburg Address;” or even; “I paid no attention to that cold January day in Washington, for when I heard the JFK inaugural address, I was in tears; it was a great day to be an American Citizen.” None of those events were available to me; instead, I participated in another terrible chapter of the American history; one of the episodes that make one ashamed of the system, which could certainly be upgraded with more checks and balances.
Before Senator Bernie Sanders gained political ground, I was never a politically engaged. In fact, in my point of view, most elections since the early 1990s has been have a voting choice between Goldman Sachs-Red or Goldman Sachs-Blue. Like millions I was mesmerized by Senator Sanders, I started exploring options on how I could help him help the American People move up to a more Progressive Agenda. So… I discovered that I could make my house available to out-of-towner volunteers who would be knocking door to door energizing voters to appear during the primaries. At one point, I lost count, but I reckon that I had at least 25 volunteers staying with me. Except for an unsolved murder mystery; everything went well; by the way, I was kidding about the murder mystery. I was just making sure you were following along.
About the same time, I discovered that I could become a Bernie Sanders Delegate; which means that after the caucus took place my vote would represent 5 to 10 of my neighbors. We need a sidebar here before I continue; a caucus is a terrible voting system, perhaps it worked during Ancient Greece; but today voters who are workers with kids or students with finals could not take part in a caucus because unlike a primary system, a caucus system may take several hours (and on the case of the Nevada State Convention—the whole day). When I became a Sanders Delegate, I discovered during the caucus that we needed to elect one of us a precinct captain, so I volunteered again. I gave a speech to my neighbors who lived in my precinct just before we apportioned the democratic delegates. After my speech a reporter said to me that my speech was very moving; so, I asked if I could have a copy; well… I’m still waiting for it—Lauren.
After the general caucus, the second phase would be county-caucus delegation; so instead of voters only delegates vote for their neighbors, if you are in Europe rolling your eyes, you are not alone. Most of us right here in the US, also agree that the system is ridiculous. Here is another sidebar—why some states in the United States hold an election system mimicking Ancient Greeks? Well, there are several reasons, mainly tradition; however, in Nevada, the logical reason is that the casino cartel lobbied politicians for the foot traffic that a caucus generates while they rented the hall for the delegations. Well, back to the second phase; during the second phase or the county-caucus the Bernie Delegation was able to reverse Nevada from Hillary to Bernie. I was terribly sadden that no major media outlet revealed all of our hard-work. How could the media not report the hard-work that we Bernie-volunteers did? It got much worse. During a Super-Tuesday, Bernie Sanders swept seven states crashing the Clinton’s campaign and the feat was never reported. Since that day, I never watched Lawrence O’Donnell nor Rachel Maddow; the media bias was terrible! Wait! Wait, it gets worse!
During the county-caucus convention (or second phase), once again we chose a smaller group to become State-Delegates; upon reading this, I believe that some of you may be rolling your eyes so hard, that you may see your own hypothalamus and even your own hippocampus. Well, once again I volunteered. In sum, my political rank started as a Bernie-Delegate, soon after as a Precinct-Captain; later a caucus-delegate and finally a State-Delegate for Bernie Sanders. I want to make something clear; I do not want by any measure been seen as a victim. I did not have to participate in the political process at all. Yet, for the first time I had a choice to vote against Goldman Sachs-Red and Goldman Sachs-Blue. Even if the US media is bias by taking advertising and loans from Goldman Sachs; we the Bernie-volunteers were hopeful of taking the Blue-candidate from Goldman Sachs.
While I was living all of these experiences at the personal level as a Bernie-volunteer; on the national stage Bernie-camp had already started a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee; the Chair of the DNC was making difficult for debates between Clinton and Sanders to take place, and DNC Communications Chairman Luis Miranda was coaching the media, including “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd on how to conduct interviews during the election. Before “that day” which shall live in infamy, I volunteered again.
This time, I was not only a Bernie volunteer, but a DNC volunteer; on May 13th and May 14 of 2016, I became a DNC volunteer handing delegate credentials for the state-delegates coming from all over Nevada. We, the DNC volunteers were provided computer-pads, the delegates would give us their names and we handed the credentials to them to be used next day—Saturday. However, before I left, I was asked to come early on Saturday and continue to hand credentials in the morning of the Nevada Democratic State Convention—May 14th, 2016. Because of this feat, when I entered the convention floor, the room was reasonably full. Right from the get-go one could notice that the event was more like a pageant than a convention; and here is why: On the right were the Clinton delegates and on the left were Bernie’s; there were very large banners with Clinton’s name on them, but on the left, there was nothing. Not even a single disposable yard-sign with Bernie’s name on it—nothing!
Before I continue, are you thinking I am going to say, sidebar again? Well kudos for you; here is another sidebar, perhaps the most important of this testimonial. An integral part of a congress, a parliament, and a convention is a headcount of the room where the convention is taking place (also known as rules of order). A convention without a headcount is not a convention but a pageantry. Right as the convention started the DNC of the State of Nevada mentioned that more credentials were handed to the Clinton’s delegates than given to Bernie’s Delegates. With that simple statement the DNC never allowed a headcount inside the hall, the DNC stole the convention by declaring that the handing of credentials on the Friday was going to stand for the headcount of the Saturday—simple.
By that simple declaration on May 14th, 2016 was how the Democratic Party stole the Nevada Delegates for Clinton; by stipulating that the handing of credentials was going to stand as the headcount. The DNC simply lied that more credentials were handed to one Clinton-delegates and by suppressing the headcount the lie would never be discovered. In no way, shape or form the Bernie Delegates have more lung capacity than Clinton delegates, yet every video available of the Nevada Convention shows that the Bernie delegates were louder than Hillary’s. There was a simple mathematical reason—the Bernie-delegates outnumbered the Clinton delegates.
For me, May 14th, 2016 was a 16 hour day, arriving much earlier to hand credentials and departing after our group was confronted and escorted by the Las Vegas Police Department. Since the morning of the Saturday until the end, “Headcount, headcount, headcount!” was chanted thousand of times—and ignored. At the end, the DNC’s pageantry decided to ignore the gains made by the Bernie Camp during the county convention and reinstate the general caucus decision. In sum, all the effort, all the screaming, all the rigging was because of two delegate-votes to travel to the National Convention. During the 2016 election I volunteered to all the steps available except to the national stage, simply because it required the purchase of airplane tickets and hotel stay (once again a very undemocratic process to those who cannot afford the trip). There were two other reasons why I did not volunteer to the national stage: around me a noticed more feverish and ardent Bernie volunteers than I ever was; secondly, after noticing that the rigging and pageantry that took place, I did not think to witness another installation of a Goldman-Sachs pawn was worth the time and cost.
At one point, the Convention was separated up in to different rooms to finally apportion delegates for Sanders and Clinton for the National Convention. When we returned to the main hall the Bernie delegates continued to demand a convention headcount, yet it continued to be ignored. At the back of the hall we started to see a line up of policemen, about two dozen of them. I approached the officers; they were cordial with me, and I asked why were they there and when where they summoned to appear in the convention since no fights or altercations ever took place.
One officer informed me that they were summoned about 40 minutes before their arrival and as far as reason, they do not need a reason and this particular officer had no idea whether he was requested by the casino or requested by the DNC, but one thing was clear to me, that the officers’ presence was requested while we were still electing the delegates in the other rooms to represent us in the national stage (by the way, casinos in Vegas has cameras everywhere, Paris casino may find me talking to a police officer at the end of the hall—well, if you have any doubt).
Roberta Lange, the person in charge of the Convention was droned out by the chants and shouts of “recount,” and “noooooo!” Even that was not enough to deter her private mission; she proclaimed the convention closed and left the stage. Most of us were dumbfounded and expected her to walk back onto the stage, instead the casino manager that took the stage, and at that point the police officers walked from the back of the room and flanked before the stage; if you look for videos of the event, you will notice that the DNC was gone by the time the cops arrived. The hotel manager simply stated, “You are in private property and you are welcome to leave; the convention is over and the principals have already left. Thanks for coming.”
As I and all the rest of us left the hall country-song line came to mind; “Did I shave my legs for this?” We had placed so much optimism, so much hope, so much knocking door to door, so much energy, but all that we were left with was our tails between our legs and the knowledge that the system has been rigged all along. Each state of the Union had its own flavor of rigging; for instances: terribly long lines in Arizona to suppress the primaries voters, in New York about 120,000 names disappeared from the voter rolls; in California, there were misrepresentation in cross-over ballets which were counted or not counted by the State Secretary General who openly campaigned for Senator Clinton. Going back home on May 14th, 2016 licking my wounds, I thought that it would be the end of the story, wrong was I.
Next day, the national media blanketed airwaves on how the Bernie delegation had disrupted the Nevada Democratic Convention by storming the stage and throwing chairs across the hall. All of those reports were false yet they continued to be broadcast for an entire week. A week of condescension against Bernie’s Camp in Nevada served two purposes; to add another bullet to the head to make sure that the body would come back to life and secondly as a derogatory campaign against Bernie voters in general. After the national media devoted hours and hours for a whole week of misinformation (such practice nowadays, thanks to Trumpism, is commonly referred as fake-news); suddenly each media outlet offered one minute retraction after a whole week of condescension. The whole story of how the Convention rules were forced in Nevada has not yet found the light of the day. Yet it was very simple, the Democratic Party claimed that more credentials were handed on the Friday and never bothered to recount the number of participants inside the convention hall on Saturday.
I am not certain, but I think it was Garrison Keillor who once said, “There’s never a bad day in the life of a writer, everything becomes material for a book;” therefore, even witnessing a terrible disregard for voting rights, has been a privilege, and also to have had the inside scope on the 2016 Democratic State Convention in Nevada. It has been a privilege to have had a first hand account to see how politicians put political preference before constitutional rights. It has been a privilege to witness Senator Barbara Boxer flipping a bird to me and my friends showing her true colors to the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party. Nevada has had a fame of being a corrupt state; but until May 14th, I could never find a first hand evidence to such claim, until I witnessed Roberta Lange in action. About 30 feet from me, in spite of hearing an overwhelming loud “nay” she slammed the gabble on the podium and claimed that the yeahs had it and she stormed out of stage.
It was not all a disaster, there has been several silver-linings to everything that led to the Nevada Convention. Firstly, understanding the political impracticality of the process of caucus. Understanding, the political corruption inside of the Democratic Party protecting the status-quo, by turning the constitutional process into a pageantry for political insiders. Understanding, that the media at times get it wrong—even for a whole week. Understanding that now corruption is being documented by hundred of cell-phones even when reporters do not show up. Finally understanding that the future of the American political system shall neither be in the hands of Senator Barbara Boxer nor in the hands of Roberta Lange; instead the future of the American Political system is being transferred to the thousand of Millennial arms and sore throats that screamed “recount” for the whole day during the infamous convention.
May 14th, 2016 it is another day that shall live in infamy in the American history, it really does not matter whether minorities were disenfranchised from their voting rights in for the last 200 years or if they were disenfranchised by Roberta Lange in 2016. Mrs. Lange was not representing her own will, but working as an ambassador for the Democratic Party in Nevada basically representing the illusion of choice to their voters yet implementing the will of their donors who can afford a $200,000.00 dollars a speech or $300,000.00 to eat next to their presidential candidate and George Clooney.
PS: In many instances in this essay I used the terminology Bernie-Bros; however, one progressive friend informed me that Bernie-Bros was a derogatory definition of Bernie supporters trying to label Bernie supporters as mostly male millennials–thus bros. I was not aware of such denotation and since then I’ve edited the text.