While the mainstream media focus almost exclusively on the chaos within the Republican Party, civil war lurks just under the surface of the Democratic Party. Last week, violence broke out at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel during the Nevada Democratic Party State Convention, with Bernie Sanders supporters tossing chairs and sending violent texts and voicemails to the Nevada chairwoman, Roberta Lange. Lange took a fake voice vote on an issue of importance – whether to select alternative delegates from the Sanders slate – and then unilaterally adjourned the convention.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who is unusually sensitive to criticism, complained that there were 100 Sanders supporters who “were very vocal and I can’t describe it.” CNN reported “Loud cursing, shouting, obscene gestures and vile insults, including crude comments about the female anatomy.” Sanders supporters threaten similar activity at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Boxer said, “He should get things under control…We have to be united. He knows that.” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said that Sanders should drop out if he lost California to Hillary Clinton: “I think it would be most regretful if there becomes a schism….It’s the responsibility particularly of Senator Sanders to see that doesn’t happen.”
Audio from the event shows high level Sanders organizers telling supporters not to leave the convention even if it was adjourned. “You should not leave,” said Joan Kato, national delegates director. “I’m going to repeat that, unless you are told by someone from the campaign…that you can leave, you should not leave.”
When asked about the violence, Sanders simply walked away from a reporter. He then issued a statement, explaining that the Democratic Party “has a choice: it can open its doors and welcome into the party [Sanders supporters or] maintain its status quo.” Sanders continued, “At [the Nevada] convention, the Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.” Sanders even said that the Democratic Party had to start treating his campaign supporters “with fairness and the respect that they have earned. Unfortunately, that was not the case at the Nevada convention.” The Sanders campaign specifically blames DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for “working against Bernie Sanders.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said he was disappointed that Sanders didn’t condemn the activity: “Bernie should say something – not have some silly statement. Bernie is better than that. I’m surprised by his statement. I thought he was going to do something different.” Wasserman Schultz called the Nevada events “unacceptable” and said Sanders “added fuel to the fire.” The Sacramento Bee editorial board wrote, “Democrats don’t want to admit it, but Donald Trump isn’t the only presidential candidate playing with fire and recklessly courting an angry mob.” Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo.com explained, “the ‘burn it down’ attitude, the upping the ante, everything we saw in that statement released today by the campaign seems to be coming from Sanders himself. Right from the top….Sanders narrative today has essentially been that he is political legitimacy. The Democratic party needs to realize that.”
Hillary Clinton’s response: “What happened?”
What happened is that the Democratic Party is on the verge of collapse thanks to the indifference and high-handedness of the Clinton machine and its allies. The Obama administration has not unified a New Democratic Alliance – instead, they’ve focused on the Glory of Obama, devastating Democrats at the state level across the country. They’re completely absent in the Sanders/Clinton battle, which is truly a battle between open socialists and incrementalists like Clinton.
The Clintonistas have become Kevin Bacon in Animal House: “All is well!”
The Bernie Bros have become John Belushi in Animal House: “Christ. Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the f***ing Peace Corps….Nothing’s over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”
The Republican Party establishment has been rightly taken to task for ignoring the anger of the base. But the Democratic Party isn’t just doing the same – they’re mocking that anger, dismissing it as childish. That anger will break loose, and soon, whether at the convention this year, or in four years when another Democratic establishment figure consolidates support once again.