At the Nevada State Convention, no violence was ever documented, yet the mass media spent over a week demanding that Bernie Sanders apologize for violence that never actually happened. On June 21, 2016, I was present at the New York State Democratic Party Delegation Meeting to prepare for Philadelphia. Disorder broke out when the chair failed to follow Roberts Rules of Order. There’s a reason why they are called rules of order!
Democracy Ignored by Hillary Supporters as We Are Asked to Unite
If Bernie supporters are being asked to hold their nose and pull the lever for Hillary in November, one would expect an attempt by the Democratic PArty leadership in New York to at least offer the pretense of democratic process by following Roberts Rules of Order and allowing Delegates to make a motion at a meeting.
There was a clear decision to avoid following Roberts Rules of Order by the State Democratic Party leadership. Meeting chair, Michael Reich, clearly heard the dozens of delegates motioning to nominate another chair of the NY delegation to the Philadelphia National Convention. But he ignored the motions and pushed the agenda forward electing Gov. Cuomo. In case he – by chance – didn’t hear us motion, Nomiki Konst walked to the microphone to call for the motion. He continued to object and they cut Nomiki’s mic. Then, to make matters worse, a male Hillary supporter hit a female, At-Large, Bernie delegate, Moumita Ahmed, with a CANE – TWICE- as she walked up to second the motion.
Hillary and Bernie Delegates met to plan for the Democratic Party National Convention in Philadelphia on July 25 – 28. Gov. Cuomo recently created a 1950’s McCarthy era type of blacklist for New York State to not do business with anyone giving support to the BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) Israel movement.
We began the political revolution around Bernie Sanders asking for Democratic Socialism. Now we are wondering: Could we at least start with a little democracy at our meetings?
Sanders Delegation Deems Nomination of Gov. Cuomo Invalid, Following Negligence in Procedural Conduct During NYS Delegation Meeting
The Democratic Party, whether they’ll admit it or not is in crisis. Since 2008, the party has lost over 1,000 elected seats from the local to national levels. The DNC is hemorrhaging membership every year. (Yet they’ve hit record fundraising levels over the same time period.)
As we enter a contested convention, there is a clear divide within the New York State delegation. It’s not just a fight between upstate vs. downstate, young vs. old, reformers vs. the Democratic machine – it’s a battle between half of the party clinging to an unsustainable model vs. a big tent of activated new and seasoned Democrats. And following the NY State Delegation meeting on June 21st, one half of the NY State delegates refuse to support Gov. Cuomo as their state chair after committee rules were not followed.
On Tuesday, Democratic delegates from around the state convened in New York City to choose a chair of the NY state delegation. Prior to the meeting, representatives from both the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns discussed and agreed upon procedure. Our Sanders delegation met earlier in the day to “train” in Roberts Rules of Order and how to motion from the floor. We also agreed to contest the nomination of Governor Cuomo as the Chair of the NY State Delegation. From the outset of the NY State Delegate meeting there were fissures in the crowded room —friction in response to the machine-run agenda.
Despite having 42% of the NYS primary vote (in a closed primary with an October registration deadline, nonetheless), the dais was stacked 100% with Clinton supporters and surrogates. Now we understand as a delegation that Clinton won the primary in New York – but as a state delegation we are moving to a contested convention and we must abide by rules. That means all delegates’ votes and motions count.
As the meeting commenced, grandiose talks of unity were thrown around by speakers. When the voting began and the Democratic State Committee’s Secretary Michael Reich asked for any motions – dozens of delegates raised motions and objections. Yet, despite continuous motions for nominations and delegates moving to the microphone to make their objections clearly heard and seen in front of the dais, the microphone was subsequently shut off and Reich moved through his agenda. He yelled “point of order” and stated the vote for Governor Cuomo was decided without objection.
There was documented condescension and even assault during the meeting. When a member of the Sanders delegation – a young woman of color – moved to the dais to second the motion, an elder white male Hillary supporter hit her with his hand and his cane.
How can NY State Democratic leadership call for party unity while they are simultaneously not recognizing and silencing half of the NY state delegation? The rhetoric of the leadership is all about unity, but their actions reflect the opposite.
Despite continuous motions from the Sanders delegates to Executive Director Basil Smikle, the meeting adjourned without consideration of the dozens of motions by delegates.
How can the New York State Democratic Party Leadership so blatantly disrespect half of its delegates? Entertaining a vote only strengthens a party already divided. The NYS Democratic Party had two choices: to be respectful and inclusive or to ignore and disempower half of its delegation.
If this party wants to sustain itself and embrace the new members it gained after this election, the leadership needs to apologize for its actions.
We are active members of the Democratic Party in good standing. We organize, donate, endorse, canvass, petition, phone-bank and hold office. The Democratic party leaders on that dais and in the room have a responsibility to be fair, accountable and observe the rules and procedures of the body.
The meeting’s objections by members of the body were not recognized and were in violation of the NY State Democratic Committee rules. Furthermore, there were no dais members that represented by the Sanders delegation. Therefore, we deem the nomination of Governor Andrew Cuomo null and void and he will not be recognized by the Bernie Sanders delegation.
For further comment, please contact Kat Brezler, 914-625-8275
Press Committee, NY for Bernie Sanders Delegation