Monday, May 16, 2016

We don' need no steenkin badges!

My Procedure prof opened the class by telling us that he would spot you the law, and he would retain the rules of procedure; and he'd beat you in court every time.


Nevada's process for sending delegates to the national convention in Philadelphia is among the most complex. When the state caucused in late February, the fourth state on the calendar for the Democratic Party, the results of that process favored Hillary Clinton. Twenty-three of the 35 total bound delegates were given out proportionally in the state's four congressional districts, giving Clinton a delegate lead of 13 to 10. The results of the caucus suggested that after the state convention — which bound the state's seven at-large delegates and five delegates who are elected officials or party leaders — Clinton would end up with a 20-to-15 lead over Bernie Sanders, with Clinton winning one more delegate from the at-large pool (4-to-3) and one more from the party-leader pool (3-to-2) than Sanders.

I agree with Charlie Pierce:  "This sounds like something Kim Jong-Il would have thought up on the golf course between his 11th and 12th holes-in-one."  But I also agree with Jimmy Durante:  "Dese are de conditions dat prevail!"  And, it turns out, it's also not so one sided as that:

Prior to the state convention, some Sanders supporters began an effort to shift the convention rules in a way that they viewed as more favorable to their candidate. One of those changes, the Las Vegas Sun reported, was a process for verifying voice votes; another took issue with the state party chairwoman, Roberta Lange, heading up the convention. Supporters at the event circulated petitions to the same end. The scene was set.

The first report from the credentials committee on Saturday morning indicated that Clinton had a slight edge in delegates. Sanders fans voted against that report, per Jon Ralston, and then demanded a recount — but this was simply a preliminary figure. As in the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1, the final total delegates went through a process of realignment as the day progressed.
This, in other words, is how these things are done; and also why you don't want to watch sausage or legislation being made.  Cutting out the drama which is not directly related to the outcome (shouting down speakers, etc.; you can get better information on that here, if you're interested), we return to the saga of the credentials committee:

The ultimate total reported by KOLO-TV was 1,695 Clinton delegates to 1,662 for Sanders, giving Clinton that one-delegate total in the at-large and party-leader pools. But the drama was far from over. Fifty-six Sanders delegates — enough to swing the majority — were denied delegate status, mostly because they weren't registered as Democrats by the May 1 deadline, according to the state party. (The Sun reports that eight potential Clinton delegates suffered a similar fate.) 
Now this is not the point where the rules changed.  Apparently that happened with the change to how voice votes were verified.  It actually isn't clear whether that change was implemented or not, but I'm guessing it wasn't because the Sanders delegates weren't seated and without them, Sanders didn't have the majority.  The point is, the rules changes started with the Sanders supporters, who decided they had the votes, they got to send out the part invitations.  Turned out it wasn't that simple, and they also didn't have the votes.  Credentials, ya know; you aren't a delegate until the right people say you are.*

See what I mean about having the rules v. having "the law"?

And then the casino where this event was taking place decided everybody had stayed up past their bedtime, and threw them all out.  No, seriously.

Now, predictably, this is blowing up in some circles, though again, I agree with Charlie Pierce:  time to pull the plug on this nonsense.  This argument is over 'four freaking delegates," and rules so arcane they would make a Procedures professor call for a stiff drink.  When we're down to screaming about that kind of arcana, we're done.

*The devil is in the details there:

Concerns remained. A Sanders supporter complained on the stage that 64 people weren’t allowed to participate.

A state Democratic party representative said that figure is misleading. Six of those were allowed in. Some had incomplete or unidentifiable information, including names and addresses, and hadn’t responded to requests to correct it. Others hadn’t registered as Democrats by the deadline.
Wading through this again, it boils down to this:  Clinton won more delegates than Sanders in the Nevada caucuses, but then fewer Clinton delegates than Sanders delegates showed up for the state convention.  Except too many of the Sanders delegates couldn't get credentialed, so the balance tipped back in favor of Clinton's delegates.

And that, per the Sanders supporters at Salon (at least), is grossly undemocratic.  Somehow.  All I know is, Charlie Pierce is right.


  1. The whole process is silly, but you know, you fucking dance with the rules that brung ya. I take hope that the ignorance of how it works shows more new people are getting engaged and will eventually understand shit.

  2. I agree. 100%.

    And arcane rules, especially surrounding caucuses and delegates to various levels of conventions, could really stand to be simplified and streamlined, rather than made more obtuse.

  3. While the Nevada caucus process seems more bizarre than most, caucuses are far less democratic than primaries for choosing party candidates, and they should be put out of their misery. Of course, I'm not the decider for all states with caucuses, so this is just my opinion.

    1. But caucuses should count twice! ;-)