Thank you for taking the time to write. I sincerely appreciate a long, detailed and non-confrontational view from the other side of the aisle.
I’d like to go through the points you made because I think we will both benefit from it. As for the scheduling. It is unfortunate that it was on a graduation day however I’m not sure there’s ever a good time to ask for people to volunteer for a 14 hour slog. I took off work to come. I will say, once someone showed up to get their Credentials — whether it had been on Friday night or Saturday morning, their vote would have counted even if they had not participated in any of the ensuing action. That is something I realized as I have gone through this process for the first time.
And before I forget, I would love to see a photo of the flier. I think rumors of what the other side was up to was something that contributed to tension from the very beginning. On both sides. We were certainly made aware that there would be an attempt to vote down the rules and were consequently instructed to be on the floor at 9 am.
As for the whole Rules scandal. You are correct, I am only very nominally aware of Roberts Rules and it is mentioned in the Rules for the Convention as being the procedural guideline but I believe you are incorrect in stating that the Convention began only under Roberts Rules.
From the NV Dems website:
“Parliamentary Authority a. The 2016 Democratic State Convention shall be governed in the following order of authority: The Charter and The Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States, the Nevada Delegate Selection Plan for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the Charter and Bylaws of the Nevada State Democratic Party, the Rules of the 2016 Nevada State Democratic Convention, and the most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.”
So these Rules were in place at the start of the Convention as Temporary Rules. Also, it is clear that changes to these Rules would be hard to come by:
“Once approved by the Executive Board of the Nevada State Democratic Party prior to the convention, these rules shall serve as the temporary rules of the convention until convention rules are permanently adopted by a majority vote. d. Any motion to amend the Convention Agenda, the Temporary Convention Rules, or the Convention Rules shall require either a privileged resolution from the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Nevada State Democratic Party or a petition signed by twenty percent (20%) of all convention delegates. e. Motions to amend the Convention Agenda, the Temporary Convention Rules, or the Convention Rules shall only be adopted upon a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all delegates.”
I think we can agree that nothing in this convention would have passed if it needed a 2/3 majority.
Although we were told that the Sanders Delegation had problems with the Decorum section, it is becoming more clear that this section may have been the actual point of contention.
“Permanent Officers a. The Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party shall be the Convention Chair, the First Vice Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party shall be the Convention Co-Chair, and the Secretary of the Nevada State Democratic Party shall be the Convention Secretary. b. The Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party may appoint other permanent officers for the convention. Such officers shall be Honorary Chair(s), a Parliamentarian, and Sergeant(s) at Arms. The officers appointed by the Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party shall be ratified by the convention body as a whole. Additionally, the Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party may appoint additional officers to assist these permanent officers with their duties at her discretion. c. The Convention Chair, and the Convention Co-Chair when acting as the Convention Chair, shall be responsible for presiding over the state convention until adjournment and shall be the presiding officer. The Convention Chair shall have all powers included in this document. In particular, the Convention Chair may recognize speakers and motions as consistent with parliamentary authority at his/her discretion and may limit debate to a certain number of speakers on either side of an issue as well as the time for each speaker. d. The Secretary shall be responsible for recording the minutes of the State Convention and shall assist the Convention Chair as requested. e. The Parliamentarian shall be the arbiter of any parliamentary questions or interpretations. f. The Sergeant(s) at Arms shall ensure order and decorum on the convention floor.”
Since we were never asked to vote on any other Permanent Officers, I assume Roberta Lange did not use this power. If this is the point of contention, I’m still not sure why or how this was an issue or what the Sanders Delegation thought she would do with this power.
Clearly the voice vote aspect caused an issue as well although since it was used at the Clark County Convention, it simply seemed normal to be. I’m honestly not sure how else to effectively handle such a large crowd of people. Paper ballots are impossibly tedious. She could have asked people to stand for the Rules vote but given that the Clinton Delegates were more numerous, I don’t think it would have made a difference. I spoke to this in my piece but it seemed to me as if the Sanders Delegation, or at least a portion of them that contained influential leaders, were primed for a fight. But when they reacted so irrationally to these early minor votes, I think it caused everyone to be on their guard and it sincerely hurt their ability to bring forward motions that might have actually been beneficial.
Also the thing I keep coming back to is that these rules were crafted by a joint Committee that had equal numbers of Sanders and Clinton supporters. If they crafted these rules together, and stood up on stage and endorsed them together, why was it assumed that this was merely a power grab?
Cortez-Masto was most certainly booed when she mentioned that she supported Hillary Clinton. It did not continue through her speech but it did seem to rock her a bit. After she was done, I was quite shocked at the silence on the Sanders side. Again, it seemed like a lack of awareness of what her win would do for our party. We will have to agree to disagree with the treatment of Senator Boxer. They never gave her a chance and it seemed like bullying to me. I was proud of the way she stood up for herself after trying numerous ways to get the crowd to understand that we are, ultimately, on the same side.
The minority report. I have learned more about this after the fact and I think it might turn out to be the most shameful part. Particularly as it now seems as if leaders within the Sanders delegation willfully misled their fellow Delegates — perhaps to cause the sort of fury that intensified to the end. It seems that this was not a legitimate document that came from the sanctioned Credentials Committee and that it misrepresented the status of the 64 — which as we both know became a rallying cry. When 6 of those were seated and only 8 additional were legitimately turned away by the, leaving 50 that didn’t even show, it was disingenuous to tell the Sanders Delegates that 64 people went unseen — particularly since the margin was so small.
If I believed that the margin of victory had been sent away, I would cry fraud as well so it is absolutely shameful that the Sanders delegation was lied to in the manner. Although I do not condone their behavior (particularly the death threats and graffiti that have happened subsequent to the Convention) this lie makes me understand their anger.
As for the Platform. Thank you for getting that actual line. I was much disappointed that the whole section was scrapped but the crowd was getting so unruly at this point that I am not surprised that security reasons were the main reason for why it was shut down. And since we were in the middle of hearing the arguments on both sides of the Platform, it makes since to me that motions to abolish Super Delegates and Fire Lange were deemed Out of Order. Sbaih’s inflammatory actions seemed similarly out of line, particularly since he was given the floor to make a candidate pitch. They may have been acceptable if Roberts’ Rules were the only guideline (and your proficiency with these procedures are admirable and much greater than mine) but the Convention Rules to grant Lange and other Permanent Officers quite a bit of power to determine if something is getting out of hand.
The end was the most unfortunate thing. I wish that the platform had been put earlier in the day because it is important. I am not surprised however that people left. I made friends with several folks and many of them were older. Stamina was a definite advantage to the Sanders Delegation but at this point, it was unclear what they were even fighting for. What I saw was a group that was growing more belligerent and more incoherent. It seemed more and more that they were being disruptive for the sake of being disruptive. I’m not sure what Recount they were asking for. A Recount of the Delegates? As you said, it wasn’t done at the County Level because these Credentials were the count. There was nothing left to be gained.
Also, the slates were not to be determined by the Chair. That is another fallacy. We were told that the slates would be picked by the Presidential Campaigns, which gives me no qualms whatsoever.
Here is perhaps my biggest question. What was the Sanders Delegation actually fighting for? I’m still not sure. The final count was arguably the most important part of the day and that was handled outside of the Convention floor. There is nothing that they were trying to do that would have changed that count and they blatantly disregarded the work their own supporters had done on those committees. It’s a shame.
On a final note, it is unfair to equate the behavior of both sides. I personally never saw a Clinton Delegate do much more than grumble in frustration. I do believe there were individual Clinton Delegates that were more divisive, and I condemn that behavior on both sides, but nothing ever reached the level where it was heard, felt, seen, witnessed by the entire Convention — as was the case by the most abusive behavior of a significant segment of the Sanders Delegation. This group was a mob. A mob of very angry people. And it’s unacceptable in civil society.
I hope you had a safe trip home. Please don’t forget to send me a photo of that flier. And I would enjoy hearing a response to this.