Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

That incredible scene by Bernie delegates at the state convention in Vegas was basically a huge temper tantrum because there were more Hillary delegates present than Bernie delegates. If you remember back to February 20 when this campaign was still fresh and new, Hillary had won the initial caucuses (step one of the ridiculously complex Nevada process) which appointed delegates to the county conventions. The Bernie campaign made sure all their delegates showed up to the county conventions (step two of the process), while Hillary’s campaign did not, so Bernie wound up with more delegates present at the various county conventions, thus flipping the results of the February caucuses. So Bernie wound up with 2,124 delegates to this past weekend’s state Democratic convention, and Hillary 1,722. But this time it was the Bernie campaign who slipped up, and only 1,662 of Bernie’s 2,124 delegates showed up at the state convention (the third and final step of the states delegate selection process), while all but 27 of Hillary’s showed up. Basically, about 22% of Bernie’s delegates flaked out, and less than 1.5% of Hillary’s did. To make things worse for Bernie, a number of his delegates who did show up had forgotten to register as Democrats by the May 1 deadline, and so were denied entry. After a procedural tussle (with a lot of screaming and threats) about Bernie delegates supposedly not allowed in, an additional six more Bernie delegates were found that were officially registered. The final result–1,695 Hillary delegates to 1662 for Bernie meant that there were 33 more Hillary delegates than Bernie delegates at the convention. A razor thin 1% majority but a majority nonetheless. The Sanders delegation was not happy about the turn of events but rather than ask why one out of five of Bernie’s chosen delegates could not be bothered to attend, they began grumbling about conspiracies. Hillary’s 32 delegate margin gave her seven of the available 12 delegates seats to the national convention, and Bernie five, which was actually in line with the original caucus results back in February. What seems like a fairly even split, however, did not sit well with the Bernie Sanders contingent. Apparently they expected to sweep the slate with their huge majority of delegates they’d picked up at the county conventions. Which was impossible, of course, even had all of them attended. But Bernie’s campaign manager Jeff Weaver keeps telling them that the path to the nomination is possible if they win 60% or 70% or even 80% of all the remaining delegates. Nothing is impossible, he tells them, if we are united. Apparently 22% percent of the delegates didn’t get the message. The Bernie delegates who did show up responded to their embarrassing minority status with rage, screaming, booing, chanting, throwing chairs and finally, after the Casino management turned the lights off in the hall, holding the inevitable sit-in in the dark. Sheriffs finally got them to leave.

Bernie Sanders has lost all but nine of the primaries but won every non-primary state delegate selection contest since the original Nevada caucuses because he could pack them with supporters. Alas, in Nevada Hillary’s campaign at last did a much better job of getting their delegates to the state convention, something the Bernie delegates could not accept. Darn that democratic process anyway. So what is a revolutionary to do? Of course, occupy the darkened hall. Hey hey, ho ho, they chanted by the light of their iPhones, Hillary Clinton has got to go. Then they went. The Nevada Revolution was over.

Bernie Sanders supporters Las Vegas

Bernie Sanders delegates booing that notorious reactionary Barbara Boxer. (Photo by Chase Stevens, Las Vegas Sun)