Information filtered through social media on Saturday, April 2 that something was amiss at the Clark County Democratic delegate convention held in Nevada. Several days later, that something was still not entirely clear.
The puzzlement comes in part from the way a caucus system works as opposed to a primary. In primaries, voters cast their votes and a winner is determined. Delegates are then apportioned to the candidates.
The Nevada caucus is a multi-part system that began with precinct level caucusing in February. Hillary Clinton won that with a 53-47% advantage. Stage two came on April 2 when delegates met at the county level.
“ethically…county convention delegates should have remained true to the candidate they said that they were supporting in February, otherwise they would disenfranchise the people who voted for them as a delegate. However, these are non-binding affiliations.”
The activity at the Clark county convention will take on different meanings depending on whether you are a supporter of Independent Senator Bernie Sanders or his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It looks as though the chaos of April 2 can be divided into three main areas:
- Sanders’ supporters prepared and coordinated a strategy for acquiring more delegates through a Reddit group.
- Some members of the Clark County Democratic Party, apparent supporters of Sanders, were involved in this pre-planning.
- A memo and email were sent to delegates which provided misinformation, and resulted in fewer Clinton delegates in attendance.
There was scant media coverage of the events other than an announcement that Sanders had “won” additional delegates. A newspaper also reported that Clinton’s legal team had filed a complaint regarding the something, though that is still not a fully developed news item.
Here then, are fragments of the chaos at the Clark County convention, as pieced together from social media.
The Daily News Bin was the first source with detailed information, posting an obviously biased headline and story on 2 April: Serial cheater Bernie Sanders tried to retroactively steal Nevada from Hillary Clinton today
By 10PM, the delegate count was completed and sporadic tweets began appearing. The video below shows the packed hall, the final count announcement, the impatience of Sanders’ supporters, as overheard in the videographer, and then cheering as the numbers are announced.
Tweets surfaced late Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday, as people tried to knit together the facts and exclude the rumors.
Number of irregularities in NV today that were very troubling but we dont expect outcome to alter fact that Clinton has more NV delegates
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) April 3, 2016
Among grave issues affecting County convention results in NV: notice went out to delegates wrongly saying they didn’t need to show up today
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) April 3, 2016
Another YouTube video, posted on a Sanders support channel, shows the Clark County Democratic Executive Committee attempting to hold an “emergency” meeting. There is protest by Christine Kramer, the credentials chair, who is responsible for selecting delegates for the Nevada state convention (stage 3 of the caucus process).
In the raw video, Kramer tells the videographer that she is being removed, complains about not being invited to the meeting, about it being unscheduled and at one point, protests about being touched as she is asked to leave. Kramer sits on the floor in protest, and calls for singing “We Shall Overcome.”
The entire scene lasts less than ten minutes. The committee breaks up. The videographer follows Executive Committee members, asking repeatedly if they are “trespassing,” even after being told the committee is locking up the building.
If you’re familiar with tactics of Sovereign Citizens when confronted by authorities, you’ll notice similarities in response. The “offended” or challenged individual tries to invoke legalities in an accusatory manner against the authority. The challenged person states his/her case, often videotaping the entire episode. The challenged person then resorts to some kind of action when all else fails.
Watch the video.
Here’s the description of the video published on the Bernie Sanders channel:
“Published on Apr 2, 2016
Christine Kramar has been removed as Clark County’s chair of credentials committee after an Emergency meeting by Hillary Clinton supporters on the executive board.
At the convention, she was removed from the convention center and is currently being arrested.” [emphasis added]
There is no confirmation that Kramer was arrested. However, Ralston Reports wrote that the Clinton campaign demanded her removal in a letter just prior to the Saturday convention (see below). Kramer was accused of “releasing confidential Clinton information to the Bernie Sanders campaign.”
Kramer admitted to sending out email but presented her activity as the tireless work of a volunteer who was “not part of the establishment,” a description associated with Bernie Sanders.
— Peg (@IowaPeg) April 3, 2016
As the series of tweets indicate, delegates for Clinton accused Kramer and others of “rigging” the convention, blocking Clinton delegates from entering and refusing to recognize them for an official objection on the floor of the convention.
Other tweets showed the Bernie Sanders website and its detailed call to action, along with correct information regarding delegate attendance. A digital “invite” sent by Kramer stated that delegates did not need to show up. It is this crucial piece of misinformation that led to a higher attendance of Bernie supporters and the change in delegate count, which favored Sanders.
The juxtaposition between Kramer’s email and the call to action on the Sanders’ website support Clinton’s case:
- The Sanders’ campaign had the correct instructions regarding attendance of delegates.
- The Sanders’ campaign was planning to mass individuals to take the place of any no-show Clinton delegates.
Lastly, a tweet from a Sanders supporter praises the overwhelming show of “new” Bernie delegates, per the website instructions. Kudos is given to the Reditt group, which links its involvement in the Clark County action.
— +Molly (@Plantflowes) April 3, 2016
— Men4Hillary (@HillarysMen) April 3, 2016
— Lee in Iowa (@Lee_in_Iowa) April 3, 2016
— Dorothy Schomburg (@sadieark) April 3, 2016
Letter Demanding Removal of Christine Kramer:
Clark County Democratic Party Executive Board
Chris Miller, Chair
6233 Dean Martin Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89118
Re: Removal of Christine Kramer as Credentials Chair
Dear Chair Miller:
I write as general counsel to Hillary for America to request the immediate removal of Christine Kramar as Credentials Chair of the Clark County Democratic Convention to take place this Saturday, April 2. Throughout Hillary for America’s attempts to engage with Ms. Kramar regarding the credentialing of convention delegates and other matters, Ms. Kramar has publicly engaged in a series of egregious, disruptive and biased behavior that irreparably undermines her credibility to administer a fair and successful convention on Saturday.
First, in an email sent today, March 30, Ms. Kramar exposed confidential Hillary for America (“HFA”) campaign information and data by unilaterally adding a representative of Senator Sanders’ campaign into a chain of email correspondence between HFA, the Clark County Democratic Party and the Nevada State Democratic Party. As you know, the confidentiality and propriety of data is paramount to any campaign. Ms. Kramar’s carelessness – or worse – in exposing HFA’s data is plainly unacceptable and must not be tolerated.
Second, in another email sent today to both campaigns, Ms. Kramar engaged in a series of unwarranted and inexcusable personal attacks against HFA representatives, and frivolously accused HFA of engaging in unethical practices in its preparation for Saturday’s convention. Indeed, it is apparent from Ms. Kramar’s email that she is advocating for positions in her role as credentials chair based on candidate-specific grounds, rather than making impartial decisions that are in the best interest of the tens of thousands of Clark County Democrats who turned out to caucus last month and who wish to participate as delegates to the Clark County Democratic Convention. Ms. Kramer’s behavior is at odds with the values of Nevada Democrats and the spirit of the primary campaign between Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders.
In her latest email to both HFA and the Sanders campaign regarding the credentialing of delegates, Ms. Kramar issued HFA an ultimatum: either the county convention proceed on Saturday under the terms agreed upon by both campaigns or the convention be delayed for further discussion and resolution of various credentialing rules. To be clear: it is and always has been HFA’s position that the Clark County Democratic Convention proceed as scheduled and under the agreed-upon rules and procures. However, it is my strong belief that Ms. Kramar’s behavior demonstrate that she is not suited to administer the convention in an impartial way according to those rules and procedures. As a result, I respectfully request that this board immediately relieve Ms. Kramer from playing any role related to the credentialing of delegates or any other party procedures to take place at this Saturday’s county convention.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if it would be helpful to discuss this matter further.
Very truly yours,
Marc E. Elias
General Counsel to Hillary for America