Democrats’ unity fragmented in Nevada over the weekend as establishment party officials decertified just enough of Bernie Sanders’ elected delegates to deliver Hillary Clinton’s first victory in 10 states.
The Nevada Democrat Party had set up rules for a three tier structure of precinct, county and states caucuses that they thought would give control to the party establishment.
The first “precinct stage” was held on February 20, and Hillary Clinton narrowly won the vote by 6,316 to Sanders’ 5,678, or 52.6 percent to 47.3 percent.
But the second “county convention stage” was held on Saturday, April 2, and it was won by Sanders. He got 2,124 delegates, or 55 percent of the delegates who were certified to vote at the state convention. Clinton only got 1,722 delegates, or 45 percent of the delegates certified for the state convention.
The shocking upset happened because many of the delegates elected in the first February votes did not show up for the county events in April. In Clark County, less than half of the nearly 9,000 delegates elected at caucuses turned up, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Bernie Sanders won the second tier because he was better organized and his supporters were more inclined to show up at the county conventions.
The third tier was the Nevada State Democrat convention. It was held on May 14, and it was bare-knuckles politics.
Early in the morning, the Rules Committee decertified 64 of Bernie Sanders’ delegates and denied them entry into the convention caucus room. As a result, Hillary Clinton gained a 31 delegate advantage.
At around 9:30 am, while many delegates were still in line to get in, the Nevada Convention Democrat Chairman Roberta Lange decided to hold a quick “voice vote” about whether to change the rules of the entire process. The vote was to essentially disregard the results of the second-tier county conventions — where Sanders’ had won —and only to only accept the results of the first-tier caucus that Clinton had won.
The room, as is made fairly clear in this video, broke out into a screaming match that seemed evenly matched between the two sides. But Chairman Lange simply declared that the “voice vote” was enough to pass the rule change and to invalidate the second-tier county convention results.
Then the two candidates’ first-tier delegates were counted by the Chairman, Hillary Clinton got the majority and she was officially granted 20 delegates to the Democrat National Convention in Philadelphia, and Bernie Sanders picked up just 15 delegates to the national convention.
With dozens of Sheriffs called into the convention to surround the stage, Chairman Lange denied a floor motion for a recount. As screaming and pushing broke out on the floor, Chairman Lange closed the convention on her own discretion, in apparent violation of the rules, then bolted off stage, flanked by a heavy contingent of Sheriffs.
A podcast by Dan Rolle, Democrat Congressional candidate for the 4th District of Nevada, provides a more complete discussion of the Nevada Democrat Convention.