The Nevada State Democratic Convention
MamaJeanB
13345

In the interest of full disclosure, I was a Bernie delegate sitting in the 4th from the front row in the rural section near the middle.

I can’t speak to the Precinct or County conventions, because the ones I attended were very tame, and the only exceptions were with some odd party platforms (Why would we even want golf cart lanes on the highway?), but I can speak to the National Convention.

I do have an issue with the scheduling of the event, to begin with. It took place on the graduation day for several institutions, the most prominent of which being UNLV. I am not from Vegas, but I can clearly see how this can cause problems. It rules out quite a few of the young voters that everyone so desperately wants, and also possibly their relatives or close friends. There were some minor scheduling concerns I had with the event itself (detailed later on), but it was overall pretty good, and I don’t think the scheduling was a an attempt on behalf of either side to game the system, it was just poor planning.

On the night before the event and during the event itself, there was an informational flier passed out that detailed some information, but not very well. I personally did not like it, as it simply stated, beyond the simple “support Bernie by volunteering” and ad-space, to vote yes when a Bernie staffer says to, and vote no when a Bernie staffer says to. They used green and red wristbands for this purpose. (I still have the flier if you want a photo of it, just to know what we got). The flier also stated, and this is a direct quote, “Once the convention has been called to order at 9 am sharp, there will be a vote on the floor to pass the rules. It’s imperative that we vote NO and get the rules amended.” This bothered me because they did not explain why they were bad, or how we wanted to make them better, so I actually sought out a senior staffer to ask, and they explained it to me, stating that the rules allow Roberta to decide the outcome of a voice vote, and if it is close, only then to use a standing division. They also allowed her to appoint people with no election, when the Sanders side desired elections. She obviously exercised the power for voice votes, which I believe was misused at least once, and so I have no quarrel there

The Bernie supporters were out of line booing at all. I believe the booing got more common later on because the situation was not defused, but it truly should not have been permitted, either by Roberta OR the Sanders side. You are fully right on this account. I would also like to point out that there were Clinton supporters that got very irate as well. Not as many, but they still had a presence. In no way should this excuse the actions of the Bernie camp, but the Hillary camp was not saintly. There were also supporters on both sides that were very calm and collected, and in fact I had several nice discussions near the end with Hillary supporters up front (I was not up front to protest, I was asking a question of the parliamentarian we had hired, because nobody could get the floor and our mic was cut.)

Voice votes were a terrible idea for the convention. Neither side had a very clear advantage, so they were biased to the chairwoman, unless she called a vote of standing division. I was sitting fairly near the middle of the room, and the first voice vote was fairly close from my position, but I would guess that the math would make sense that the Hillary side would win the vote, although following the rules it should have been up to a standing division vote owing to how close it was. The preliminary report acceptance likely should have passed without a hitch, and voting it down was a poor idea. The report was, at least as far as I know, voted down by the Sanders side because we believed that we were reported at the minority, and thus would not have the power to pass the votes we wanted. I abstained from this vote on the basis that doing clearly divisive business should have been delayed until either camp was at full strength. We had all manner of speeches and candidates to listen to, and we could, and should have rearranged the schedule to have them first. Lange then claims her decision is final, fundamentally misunderstanding the Rules of Order. There are appeals for a reason.

Going up to the front and protesting was, again, absolutely unacceptable. Roberta should have had the hotel security escort them back to their seats, and the Bernie leaders should not have gone up and joined them. I agree with you on this.

The rules committee was evenly divided, which in and of itself spells trouble, because on any controversial issue there will be a 50/50 split and no clear resolution. I’m not sure how to resolve this beyond maybe using the same system for delegates, but make sure all slots are filled, but it should be resolved. We had been using Robert’s rules to begin with, and this means that a 2/3 majority aye is required to change the rules, or adopt new rules. There is absolutely no chance that this majority was reached, which is my issue with the parliamentarian and the chair here. The people both arguing for and against were not good articulators and neither understood the other side. We were voting to not adopt the rules as temporary rules, and instead continue using Robert’s Rules, which are the standard for just about every organization that has formal meetings. The Hillary people arguing that we needed “rules for a civil society” were either totally misunderstanding the situation, or using some major straw manning tactics. I don’t know why we got Aloha Smiles on the mic, but she didn’t understand procedure either, and could not motion for a recount. Robert’s rules do in fact allow for the removal of anyone from the convention at the will of the chair, so no change in that fact.

I think the booing was residual, which is still unacceptable, but I do not believe they were booing Catherine. I cannot remember if this occured before or after Cortez-Masto, but at one point Lange yelled that she would “not allow a minority to hold up the convention”, or something similar. This incited a reaction, and I totally understand why they were booing, and at this point even I was booing, because that is one of the most inflammatory things you could say, especially to a group that believes they are the majority. After her, Boxer came on. Boxer may be a champion, and she may be friends with Sanders and Clinton, but she is no friend of mine. She put up the biggest straw man of the night, and it was on purpose, claiming that booing her is equivalent to booing Bernie Sanders, and that we should just leave the election. This is where I personally started feeling like I was not accepted as a Democrat. She then went on to call the Sanders side bullies. She was probably the worst speaker of the night in terms of riling people up, and what she was up against was generally herself. Nina Turner calmed down the Sanders side, and is most probably the reason that there was not an even bigger reaction, and why business was continued.

I can’t speak to whether the minority report was true, or how many people went home, but the fact it that the minority report alleged fraud or incompetence. I don’t know if the 58 didn’t show up, but if they had not, it seems to me that stating so would have been in order.

Sander’s team followed the rules of the 3 tier system. The rules may not have been corrupt in and of themself, but they allowed corruption, and also were passed improperly, which I believe is the main issue with them.

We went to the county level first, which went fairly smoothly. Rural ended up waiting on Clark County most of the time, and it was rather uneventful. We then went to district level. I was in District 2, which had the other (female) alternate. I have an individual issue with either campaign on this one, but it’s not relevant to the grand scheme of things. My district ended up being uneventful. If your district had people so confused, maybe you should have pulled up the scheme and educated them, rather than complain about them tinfoiling it up. Voting results were announced for my District once we had counted them, so my guess here is your district had poor leadership, or you left too soon.

A committee had proposed the change to the platform, and that is how the plank was inserted, and they did explain this. Someone asked for clarification, and was told that “read it the way it is written, can’t have intent in laws, just go do whatever and stop asking questions.” For reference, the line was “We support future reforms to the Presidential Primary process, including super-delegates, while ensuring Nevada remains an early state and First in the West.”

The motions that Erin first made were out of order, but she then made a motion of the Previous Question, which I assume you are unfamiliar with, as you don’t know Robert’s Rules. This is a subsidiary motion, and is thus not out of order, but it is ignored, even though she still has the floor. Incidentally, nobody ever ceded the floor, so the first person speaking still theoretically had it throughout. We never went back to the pro side, because Roberta never demanded Erin surrender the floor, and instead just started speaking. Every Point of Order raised was, by the way, ignored. Rolle raised what is essentially a Question of Privilege, though he could have called it that. A Question of Privilege is a privileged motion, which means that it can only be superseded by a motion to recess, adjourn, fix a time to adjourn, adjourn, or anything incidental. It was not Out of Order.

The platform was not approved as a whole, and so we were required to go section by section. When we got to the Government and Elections section, we voted no to the entire section. This means it is tabled for future discussion. It just requires a vote to bring it back and go line by line. I also at this point went up to the front and motioned for Reading Papers for the section because our mic had been cut off, but I was ignored.

Even with the Hillary supporters leaving, we still had a Quorum, and thus could conduct business. I asked a security member what time we had the hall rented till, and I was informed it was 12:00. We were shut down right as Hillary was losing even their faint semblance of a majority. I find that suspicious at the least. We were informed that the chairwoman would appoint at-large and PLEOs, which we assume would be extremely biased against us, as evidenced by the rest of the convention.

Jesse was actually allowed to cede the floor to Erin, unless the chair removed his control of the floor. This would be another Point of Order. His motion for a recount was also in order, and never addressed.

The motion Lange made at first was to accept the slates, and I do not know if it was even seconded. It was not passed. As you yourself stated, Clinton supporters had left in a larger amount than Sanders supporters, and the difference was only by 31 delegates to begin with. This means that a vote to to accept the slates COULD NOT have passed. The further vote to adjourn was also not passed. Lange slammed her gavel and fled. This was probably the worst decision of the entire event. Going berserk was, in my opinion, perfectly acceptable at this point.

Sanders people are rightly complaining about the way that it ended. Even if they were not disenfranchised they were dissuaded from joining the Democratic party, with many of them being first time voters, or first time Democrats. The platform does actually have influence, believe it or not. It is the official statement of what the Democratic party, at least in Nevada at this stage, wants and believes in.

I do not see the misinformation on as grand a scale as you. I saw minor incidences of it, on both sides, but the Sanders side was not, as you painted it, composed of toddlers screaming. I was alright with most of this article, but you stooped pretty low at points. If you’re going to call people misinformed, be informed yourself, with an example being the use of Robert’s Rules. The Sanders delegation was upset with more than just the numeric result of delegates, and I believe they have every right to be. They may have been out of line at points, but so was the Clinton camp. It was a bad conference overall, not helped in the least by Roberta, Boxer, our hired parliamentarian, or anyone else stirring up the pot.