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Feel the Bern: Nevada Democratic Party Staff Quits After Socialists Win Leadership Positions

Feel the Bern: Nevada Democratic Party Staff Quits After Socialists Win Leadership Positions

The Bernie Sanders wing gets their revenge after the old machine brought him down in 2016.

The Nevada Democratic Party’s entire staff quit after members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) won all leadership positions.

Judith Whitmer belongs to DSA’s chapter in Las Vegas and chaired the Clark County Democratic Party. She became the state party chair on Saturday but immediately received resignation emails from the staff.

Socialists took the other four positions. Howard Beckerman “initially lost his race by two votes on Saturday.” The party’s tellers committee overturned the decision when they ruled “non-state central committee members improperly” voted.

The Intercept reported on Monday:

NOT LONG AFTER Judith Whitmer won her election on Saturday to become chair of the Nevada Democratic Party, she got an email from the party’s executive director, Alana Mounce. The message from Mounce began with a note of congratulations, before getting to her main point.

She was quitting. So was every other employee. And so were all the consultants. And the staff would be taking severance checks with them, thank you very much.

On March 6, a coalition of progressive candidates backed by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America took over the leadership of the Nevada Democratic Party, sweeping all five party leadership positions in a contested election that evening. Whitmer, who had been chair of the Clark County Democratic Party, was elected chair. The establishment had prepared for the loss, having recently moved $450,000 out of the party’s coffers and into the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s account. The DSCC will put the money toward the 2022 reelection bid of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a vulnerable first-term Democrat.

Whitmer told The Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday she had access “to the state party’s office, website and social media accounts.” She does not know which day the former staffers consider their last day.

“We have no idea when the staff members’ last days were,” she said. “I think most left after the coordinated campaign, and most were working from home. I think there were only four or five left on the payroll, but I don’t know.”

Politico perfectly described the election: Pro-Sanders forces finally get their revenge. The far-left groups organized the takeover efforts in 2016 after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) lost the Nevada primary to failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:

Progressives who were active in pushing for new party leadership said the 2016 caucus was the catalyst that drove many of them to participate in Democratic state politics. Sanders lost narrowly to Hillary Clinton in the February caucuses, leaving some on the left ruminating that they could have won if they’d done more. At the bitterly contested state convention months later, where presidential delegates to the national convention were finalized, Sanders fans also left feeling that the Nevada Democratic Party had rigged the process.

“The leadership there in Nevada hijacked the process on the floor, created a tremendous amount of angst among people who were there attending the convention, who were supporters of Sen. Sanders, by ignoring the regular procedure and ramming through what they wanted to do,” said Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ then-campaign manager, at the time.

Sanders’ supporters caused an uproar at caucus sites. The state party complained to the Democrat National Committee.

Whitmer criticized the outgoing members because they preach unity but refuse to work with the new leadership team. But those on the other side said Whitmer did nothing before her victory on Saturday to build a bridge with them:

Whitmer’s predecessor, former Clark County Democratic Chair Donna West, said Whitmer did not try to bridge gaps within the party. She “does not listen to others’ opinions and really take those on board,” West said. “I found that working with her could be really difficult, that she doesn’t really collaborate well, and doesn’t work to build consensus.” West resigned last summer.

A former Nevada Democratic Party staffer, who requested anonymity to speak freely, told The Intercept they quit out of a belief that Whitmer hadn’t built relationships across the party as Clark County chair and was at times unfairly critical of the state Democratic Party. “I knew I couldn’t work with her and watch her destroy the years of hard work so many operatives put into making our state party the best state party in the country.”

The first test will come during the 2022 midterms. Will the infighting allow the Republicans to snatch victories in Congress? The old guard led by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not go quietly into the night:

The Reid machine is skeptical that the new leadership can win general elections, and it intends to stay as involved as it has always been — through independent expenditures and other outside groups. The old guard prided itself on being one of the most successful state Democratic parties in the nation, if not the best overall, with a record that includes electing both U.S. senators in recent years, cinching the last four presidential elections and taking control of the state legislature.

“What we have done is focused on winning and delivering Democratic victories up and down the ballot for the better part of 20 years and to see that demonized is hurtful on a personal level,” said Megan Jones, a former Reid aide. “But on a professional level, it’s short-sighted because I don’t think they know what they’re doing. And honestly I don’t know if they want to know what they’re doing, because these folks have been plotting against the state party and what they perceive as this power structure for the better part of four years.”

The socialists believe the change in leadership will bring in “left-wing leaders and don’t around the country.” They also know failure in 2022 will damage any chance of success in 2024.


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The Friendly Grizzly | March 10, 2021 at 1:39 pm

Now, at least, there is some truth being told about who and what they are.


To all those Dem friends of mine who dismissed DSA as a fringe and told me that concerns about DSA taking power were “just a right wing talking point.” When will you finally see that the party you knew as the Dem Party no longer exists. It has moved so far left that a person who was in a coma and woke up now would not recognize it. DSA is a national security threat. It is a façade for socialism. Ask anyone from Venezuela and Cuba. This is how it begins. Happy talk about everybody getting everything for free – very appealing to young people who are just starting out and don’t have much. Socialism’s Big Lie that everyone can have what they need. By the time people realize its false – it’s too late.

Whitmer’s predecessor, former Clark County Democratic Chair Donna West, said Whitmer did not try to bridge gaps within the party. She “does not listen to others’ opinions and really take those on board,” West said. “I found that working with her could be really difficult, that she doesn’t really collaborate well, and doesn’t work to build consensus.”

Welcome to the club, Ms. West – the club of your own creation.

Ms. West now understands what it’s like trying to deal with Progressives, not that she’ll actually recognize the difficulties in those terms. She will probably convince herself that these are just difficult people, and not realize that their religious devotion to socialism bakes intransigence and intolerance into them.

Corrupt Marxists steal control from corrupt party machine. Sounds like a turf war that I hope both will lose.

    henrybowman in reply to TX-rifraph. | March 10, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    Yes, isn’t it delicious?

    The Bros are outraged that the state establishment cheated them out of a nomination. The state establishment is outraged that the Bros cheated themselves into all the party seats.

    It’s like watching a degenerate game of basketball where both teams drill intensively on creative fouling, instead of training to sink actual baskets.

    On the other hand, maybe I’m a hypocrite, because if the radical patriots took over all our state party seats from the establishment RINOS, I’d be ecstatic. Of course, the RINOs wouldn’t be principled enough to resign, they’d just stick around and be sand in the gears.

Based on the “Unity” we see from Democratic Socialists so far – I’d say they are more committed to the Socialism part than to the Democratic part.

Something, something, something…you reap what you sow….

How much of this is attributable to Californians fleeing their failing state – only to do the same to Nevada?

Dezis. Hopefully, they will not adopt the Pro-Choice religion, pursue leftism without principles, and temper their ambitions to consolidate capital and control under minority auspices.

stevewhitemd | March 10, 2021 at 5:14 pm

One must ask: is there any chance that the Pubs in Nevada could take advantage of this? Not the brain-dead GOPe, but the conservatives who might have the pulse of what Nevadans want?

    The problem is that the “brain-dead GOPe” were the ones who were competent, ran successful political operations, and were popular enough with the moderates and swing voters to easily win statewide, while the “conservatives” actively cared more about purging the “GOPe” to achieve party purity; the later won intraparty resulting in the GOP losing statewide.

    It isn’t about ideology or purity, but about competence. Back in the ‘2000s, the GOP was dominant with control of most of the statewide offices, most of the Congressional delegation, and a firm control of the state Senate. That took a hit after the Great Recession, but the GOP was still competitive and could deny the Democrats the unitary control they caved. The best political operations on the GOP side were from Dean Heller and Joe Heck, as well as still hyper-popular Brian Sandoval.

    In ’12, the Ron Paul fanatics showed up and started the endless tug-of-war between them and everyone else (both squishes and real conservatives). Those Ron Paul fanatics even openly said that if they don’t get their way, they’ll support the Democrats! When Trump came along, they latched on to him like leaches and used some people hatred of “the establishment” to take control and then spend their time being corrupt and keeping control… basically with a “rather rule in hell than serve in heaven” attitude.

    The divide, then, isn’t between “squishy establishment” and “the conservative base”, no matter how hard people try to frame it that way. The divide is with fanatics who shield themselves by invoking Trump and revel in using their intraparty power to crush those who aren’t part of their clique, and the people who crave competence and victory in general elections who include everyone from strong Trump supporters to Trump agnostics. Or, to put it another way, it isn’t really a divide over Trump, but between those who want to keep power and do nothing regardless of if its Paul or Trump or whoever, and those who want competence regardless of if the party is under Trump or someone else.

I live in Nevada and am active in politics here. There are many ramifications with this.

The Democrats gained near total control of the state this past decade due to two things: 1) The Harry Reid machine, and 2). the implosion of the Nevada GOP due to the influx of Ron Paul fanatics and grifters who cared more about controlling the party apparatus (and $$$) than winning the state, and are now trying to protect themselves from criticism by wrapping themselves in a Trump cloak.

The Harry Reid machine isn’t going away. They are just going to act outside of the state party, meaning that they will hopefully defeat the real lunatics in primaries. The machine will continue to hold together it’s monopoly on the coalition interests, so the de jure party’s self destruction won’t actually allow any openings for the GOP.

Not that the state GOP could take advantage of it. The state party is lead by a former Las Vegas councilman who resigned due to accusations of corruption. Considering that the current and former Mayor of Las Vegas, the former the wife of the later who himself was a literal mob lawyer who played himself in the movie “Casino”, that’s pretty slimy. The Clark County GOP (home to nearly 3/4 of the state population, IIRC) keeps on fliping control between the former Paul fanatics who just want intraparty power and those who at least understand that a party central committee has to take politics seriously.

Considering that this DSA endorsed new state party chair for the Democrats was already chair of the Clark County Dems, all this will do is shift power from a state party machine or a far more private machine of interests who will get what they want by only needing to surrender on social issues and taxes on everyone else.

tl;dr This is a bad sign, not a good one.

    Eddie Coyle in reply to The Political Hat. | March 11, 2021 at 8:30 am

    Thanks for the insight

    The Michigan GOP has the same problem and a Whitmer that operates the same way. All of the state-wide elections go to Democrats – Guv, Sec of State, Senators, AG – while 95% of the counties are solidly red. The reason has everything to do with a GOP Party that puts forward candidates that are party machine favorites but terrible politicians. The exception was John James, but his fate was decided overnight at Cobo Hall when all those mystery ballots came in. Yes, he was up over 5% and two hours later the election was called for Peters.

      The Nevada GOP has the opposite problem. All the candidates who were successful and popular enough to win were the “GOPe” types. Those were the ones with actual successful political operations. But because they weren’t sufficiently pro-Trump, the hardcore Trump supporters sat on their hands and gave long term control of various seats (U.S. Senate, NV03, &c.) over to Democrats.

      The thing is that most of Nevada’s population is around Las Vegas in Clark County, and despite all the tall casinos on the Strip and Downtown, Vegas area is almost entirely sprawling suburbs, and the suburbs have shown the strongest shift away from the Trump-era GOP.

      In other words, the GOP in Nevada has purged itself of non-Trump moderates who had winning political operations and embraced rank amateurs who care more about Trump purity than reaching out to the majority of Nevadans that they actively seem to try to alienate.

Biden’s pledge for bipartisanship is the Socialist arm of the Dem party cooperating with the Liberals. Apparently, they can’t even get that done.

Historically, the Democrats in Nevada are controlled by the culinary union in Las Vegas. This is probably still the case.

    The Culinary Union are definitely heavy hitters and a major force, but certainly not the only force. The casinos and the mining companies are also big, as are the “clean energy” companies (desert = solar).

    Thankfully, Nevada is a Right to Work state and has been for some time now.

    The thing is that the Reid machine knew who buttered their bread while the DSA don’t.