by Judy Ferro
One of the lessons of the elections of 2016 is that U.S. parties have little control over who runs for office under their banner.
Not that the parties haven’t been struggling with this at the state level for years. Republican fear that RINOs (Republicans-in-Name-Only) might take over their party has led to Idaho reinstituting registration by party and a closed Republican primary.
Democrats have recently developed a problem with Candidates-by-FAX-Only. Shizandra Fox, a dietary counselor from Sonoma, CA, filed as a candidate for the U.S. House Seat. Perhaps she was inspired by the Brooklyn attorney who filed for an Idaho U.S. Senate seat in 2014.
We’re seeing something different on the national scene this year though—outsider candidates gaining massive support.
For a year now, America has waited to see how the Republican Party would deal with a Donald Trump candidacy. Would they actually nominate a man who has threatened Mexicans, Moslems, and the media? Who relates to women only as sexual objects? Who promises to violate the U.S. Constitution?
Well, yes, they must—or appear at war with their own voters. Leaders who’ve said that Trump is rotten to the core are now urging people to vote for him.
Some are assuring voters that Trump will fly right now he’s sure of nomination—as though it’s an accepted practice for Republican candidates to say one thing before the primary and another after. Trump’s speech on foreign policy, however, suggests he can’t do it—he managed to support both sides of three different issues, apparently without recognizing the incongruities.
And there is no doubt this solution is hurting Republicans. An AP poll indicates that 67 percent of Americans view the GOP negatively—that’s even higher than Trump’s negative ratings.
Democrats, in contrast, have been smugly proud that they have two great candidates—Clinton and Sanders–who can politely discuss the complicated trade agreements and global warming. Sure, Bernie fans have criticized media and party official bias, but the candidates themselves have been presidential, each recognizing that the nominee would need the support of the other’s base.
So what happened in Nevada?
It’s amazing to think that the Nevada Democratic Party planned to gather 3,500 political activists in one room for eight hours running—it actually extended to 12—and keep control by giving dictatorial powers to the party chair. (We know Rebecca Lange had dictatorial powers because she announced them prior to a number of biased decisions.)
Two of the major conflicts developed early. One, Lange moved to give Clinton three more delegate by changing the basis for allotment from the county conventions, which Sanders had dominated, to the precinct caucuses. Two, the credentials committee guaranteed her two additional delegates by barring 58 Bernie supporters from taking part without allowing them to defend their status. A move which the committee co-chair said violated “the spirit and values of our state and our nation.”
Then one reporter—who’d left the convention early—took seriously a fellow reporters claim that violence had erupted and chairs been thrown.
The media jumped all over his report. Video shows one man raised a chair, was stopped by friends, put it down and hugged one of those who stopped him.
National media choose to show only the frame with the chair in the air. They cannot, however, cite a police report or interview a victim, except for Lange who had indeed been “verbally abused.”
Five extra votes for Clinton.
And the Democrats job of uniting the party under one candidate just got harder.