May 17, 2016

The Democratic Party Is Unraveling Before Our Eyes

During the Nevada Democratic Party convention last weekend, Bernie Sanders’ supporters were extremely upset by the double dealing they perceived to be rampant among the Democratic establishment. Subsequently, they protested until they were forcibly evicted by casino security.

That activity has brought upon Bernie Sanders the opprobrium of the DC Democratic establishment. This afternoon Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) condemned Bernie Sanders and his campaign for their actions this past weekend:

“Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sharply criticized Bernie Sanders’ supporters for turning the Nevada Democratic Convention into chaos over the weekend, saying the Vermont senator should not ‘accept’ how his backers behaved. ‘I’ve been dealing with Nevada state conventions for 50 years: To say I was disappointed was an understatement,’ Reid told CNN in the Capitol on Monday. ‘I hold his people accountable, and I’m sure if Bernie found out about it, he would not accept what happened there,’ Reid said.”

Reid joins Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has also denounced the actions of the Sanders campaign in Nevada:

“’We will be reaching out to the leadership of both of our campaigns to ask them to stand with the Democratic Party in denouncing and taking steps to prevent the type of behavior on display over the weekend in Las Vegas,’ Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the DNC chairwoman, said in a statement.”

Bernie Sanders has now responded, and he’s not backing down. Instead he’s doubling down on his campaign’s criticism of the Nevada process, and “blasted” the Democratic leadership’s prevention of “a fair and transparent process from taking place”:

“‘Within the last few days there have been a number of criticisms made against my campaign organization,” Sanders said in a statement. Party Leaders in Nevada, for example, claim that the Sanders campaign has a ‘penchant for violence.’ That is nonsense. Our campaign has held giant rallies all across this country, including in high-crime areas, and there have been zero reports of violence.’ Sanders said that at the Nevada Democratic convention on Saturday, “the Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.”

The perception that the Democratic establishment has stolen the primary from Sanders is a potent one among his supporters. Even though the Democratic primary is coming to a close, it’s clear that supporters of Senator Sanders are going to be extremely disinclined to line up behind Secretary Clinton, and the Democratic electorate remains badly fractured.