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.DONATE
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