Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dispatches From Nevada, Part 2

(This concludes the chronicle of the nurse-practitioner from Northern California who volunteered as a precinct captain in Saturday's Nevada Democratic caucus.)

By E. O'Meara

Saturday morning, I drove to the Washoe County Democratic Headquarters for a 7 a.m. meeting in which I was to get instructions on what kinds of suspicious activity to look out for at the caucus. But when I arrived, the building appeared empty and the door was locked. I stood around outside for 45 minutes until a young woman arrived (with a key). She knew nothing about my meeting, explaining that she was there as an HRC volunteer. I thought at first that those initials stood for a human rights group, until it dawned on me that they stood for Hillary Rodham Clinton.But as it turned out, the woman was also member of a human rights group that had endorsed Hillary!

Everybody in my training session was from California. When I'd gone to my initial caucus meeting on Presidents Day, I was told they only had about 60% of the precinct captains they needed from Nevada, and so had to seek out-of-state volunteers.

We all got a 35-page "NVDEMS Temporary Precinct Chair Caucus Day Guide." Our instructor had only one hour to get through two or three hours' worth of material as she outlined, with the aid of Power Point, all the steps and procedures we were to take.

At the end of this crash course, one HRC volunteer was visibly upset. "I have a degree and have had a successful career," she complained. "But this is too much to learn! What are the consequences if we don't do it right?"

"Focus on the math," the instructor soothed. "The math is the most important thing to get right."

The HRC people were assigned to Hug High School, and left by bus. Ten of us out-of-staters remained behind, including one self-described lawyer-engineer, who proceeded to perseverate for at least five minutes on repetitive math questions. (The math was in the guide and also on an enlarged worksheet for easy reference.)

The office Dems were waiting to get calls from precincts that needed help. Seven of the remainders were assigned as temporary chairs to three different locations. I joined two others on a trip to Shaw Middle School in Sparks, where 30 precincts would be caucusing. While we were waiting to get on the bus, the large screen TV in Dem HQ was tuned in to the Scalia funeral on MSNBC. So it was a relief to finally get out of there around 10:15 a.m.

We'd had been advised at our training session that it was OK to wear candidate buttons but "in your face" apparel such as shirts were forbidden. Stickers and signs also were not allowed. Still, there were multiple Clinton lawn signs right near the entrance of the school. People inside were wearing printed "Precinct Captain" T-shirts: purple for Sanders and blue for Clinton. Most shirts had buttons and stickers on them as well. I had on my black "Bernie for President" shirt underneath a vest and jacket -- and I kept it under wraps like a good student.

We met the site coordinator, who gave each of us a packet for temporary precinct captains.

Two of us went to a Spanish classroom, in which five precincts would be represented. I thought it was appropriate to get a classroom with a "Dreamers" poster on the wall outside.

Around 11:30, we got things started by selecting a permanent chair for each precinct. I went to check the entrance and noted that volunteers were using laptops and personal smartphones to sign people in. The line of caucus-goers was out the door, and the parking lot was overflowing. 

It was nearly noon when three other temporary precinct captains arrived in our room, probably having done double duty signing voters in. Two more were last-minute volunteers who needed an immediate crash course about various procedures. In our room, eleven caucus-goers showed up for five precincts in order to claim one delegate per precinct, broken down as follows: 4:3; 3:1; 1:0. These groups did not have to calculate viability (majority rules when there is one delegate up for grabs.)

One of the caucus-goers said she felt uncomfortable about being forced to make her choice in public, because her precinct consisted of her small street in an isolated area. She was fearful about potential harassment from her neighbors.

In two of the caucus groups, nobody wanted to be a delegate. My own assigned precinct had zero turnout! So who knows how that delegate will be assigned, if at all?

Meanwhile, at a Reno elementary school with three-precinct coverage, my girlfriend Karli was in a group that was 4-4 with a ninth delegate up for grabs. They almost broke out the deck of cards (no coin toss in Nevada!) but a recount gave the last delegate to Sanders.

Our precincts were done before 1 p.m. and we submitted our results by either calling them in or texting them.


Jay–Ottawa said...

Thanks to E. O'Meara for a telling dispatch from the front lines. I had a notion caucuses were clunky but had no idea they were run this loosely.

It certainly does appear, doesn't it though, that caucuses are inherently vulnerable to manipulation and outright fraud. Hence the need for so many experienced hands to superintend the procedures from beginning to end.

Now then, why on earth would bosses of the two major parties set up such a Rube Goldberg system in the first place?

Maybe this link will answer that question.

Pearl said...

I suggest you send that report about Harry Reid to Bernie's headquarters. Although they may know the basics this article tells the details. Now they are throwing sleazy neocon liberals at Bernie.

I had a happy thought/dream the other day, that Hillary will come to the Democratic convention with a slight lead over Bernie and await the delegates' decision. However, the polls will indicate without doubt that Hillary will be unable to beat Donald Trump who is the nominee for the Republicans and the only possibility left is that Bernie can easily trounce him. AHA! I'll dream on.

annenigma said...

Good news!

'A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that State Department officials and top aides to Hillary Clinton should be questioned under oath about whether they intentionally thwarted federal open records laws by using or allowing the use of a private email server throughout Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.'

Ding dong...


Meredith NYC said...

Meanwhile, if interested, Krugman and NYC Mayor DeBlasio had a televised conversation "Inequality in NY and Beyond". It's on NYC CUNY TV repeated today twice, plus on youtube, Cuny Graduate Center.

Krugman is saying that no one dares say they're not for equality of opportunity.
Including Krugman. But what will they do about it?
And Hillary makes sure she sounds good, but will she actually do?

Pearl said...

Emails show Hillary Clinton aide celebrating F-15 sales to Saudi Arabia as "good news" http://interc.pt/1Qu2o94 by @lhfang

From Fang in Intercept includes information made public from Hillary's e-mails.

Pearl said...

I was wondering what Bernie Sanders thought of the Republican results and then tis came in. It is all very shocking and god knows what will be happening in the next months. Wonder whether Hillary will have a similar comment.

From Bernie Sanders website:
Given the state of the Republican presidential race, it’s time to acknowledge a very uncomfortable truth: Donald Trump is probably going to be the Republican nominee.

The question for Democrats is simple. Who has the best chance to defeat Trump? And by any objective measure, the answer is Bernie Sanders. In almost every recent head-to-head poll against Trump, Bernie leads by a wide margin while Hillary Clinton either trails or is within the margin of error. Take a look at these recent polling averages:

Huffington Post Average of Recent Polls
Sanders: 51% to Trump: 41%
Clinton: 48% to Trump: 44%

We have momentum, we have one less pledged delegate than Hillary Clinton, and we're closing the gap in the national polls. But with 26 primaries and caucuses in the next three weeks, Bernie needs you now:

Contribute $3 to our campaign today. It could mean the difference between victory and defeat — between taking back our country from the billionaire class, or President Donald Trump.

The truth is, it’s going to take more than establishment politics and establishment thinking to beat Donald Trump.

But together, we are building something unprecedented. That is why we’re doing so well in the polls, and why we’ve seen grassroots enthusiasm unmatched by any candidate on either side of this primary. Only Trump comes close. And that is why what we are building is what will be required to defeat him.

In solidarity,

Jeff Weaver
Campaign Manager
Bernie 2016


Pearl said...

With Trump looming, should Dems take a huge electability gamble by nominating Hillary Clinton? http://interc.pt/1LcMZxV by @ggreenwald

From Intercept by Glen Greenwald

annenigma said...

Hillary Clinton has been looking into releasing her transcripts for paid speeches to Wall St. and other special interests for

20 days 11 minutes 19 seconds (and counting)


Pearl said...

Inside Chelsea Clinton's $10m 'luxury fortress' that stretches over an entire New York City block - ... http://bit.ly/15FXCmg via @Femail

Kat said...

Not convinced that Sanders supporters will not dutifully vote for Clinton. I had a sinking feeling this weekend noting all the Sanders signs in my neighborhood. I can tell you what some of the core beliefs here are: voluntarism, swapping out "America first" with "my community first" (the only thing more sacred than locavorism is rising property values), what poor people need is social services, social services, and more social services (convenient that many have jobs in the public sector or nonprofits providing social services), and education is the key to well... just about everything. In short you just can't shake the neoliberalism out of liberals.
Sanders might be wise to focus on jobs and strengthening social security.

Kat said...

I looked at the Guardian and saw that Ted Cruz was saying something that I thought "Who knows what Trump will do as president". Well, I guess that may be the first time I shared a thought with this ***hole.
In the NYT times today I read there is some worrying in the GOP that Trump won't work with Paul Ryan. Good! you know who would... The NYT Republican pick Kasich. Why his budget plan is virtually indistinguishable from Ryan's. But he's the moderate, you know. The adult in the room.
Much has been said about a turn to Fascism under Trump, but let's remember that austerity in Germany lay the foundation for Fascism's rise. I've been reading a Marxist analysis of the Nazi phenomenon and it was interesting to read the groups that really outperformed their percentage of the population in Nazi party membership-- who were they. Well, of course there were merchants and small business owners. But also were university faculty, students and civil servants (especially higher civil servants.)

annenigma said...

My comment (which will never be printed!) to New York Times 'Mrs. Clinton, Show Voters Those Transcripts':

Hillary Clinton has engaged in political, if not financial, racketeering.

Just as Secretary Clinton deliberately thwarted the public's FOIA access to State Dept business by colluding with others to:

-set up a private email server
-co-mingle State Dept, Clinton Foundation, and personal emails to claim personal rather than public ownership
-keep official business secret
-delete select emails of her choosing
-obscure/hide the interactions between the Clinton Foundation and State

She also thwarted campaign finance laws by colluding with banksters by:
-claiming she was 'not certain' she was running for President so she could
-hold lucrative campaign fundraising events masqueraded as 'paid speeches'
-be paid personally rather than to an official campaign fund
-avoid campaign donation reporting requirements
-avoid limits on campaign contributions
-receive larger sums because they were corporate and not personal
-thwart campaign finance laws by receiving prohibited corporate funds
-keep the substance of her 'speeches' to banksters secret

These 'speeches' are secret because they were FUNDRAISING EVENTS/APPEALS. Typical Clinton.

Hillary's skirting/thwarting laws goes way back. Her Rose Law Firm business records were subpoenaed but went missing for a couple of years until they mysteriously reappeared on a table in the White House. This is a long pattern.

Secrecy Clinton has a serious character flaw - at the VERY LEAST - and should never be President.


Pearl said...

Anti-Hillary Clinton Hashtag Breaks the Internet 2 Days Before South Carolina Primary @HuffPostBlog http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-hanley/anti-hillary-clinton-hash_b_9322034.html via @HuffPostPol

In case you missed this.

Will said...

Matt Taibbi's "How America Made Trump Unstoppable" article (2-24-16) is required reading for Sardonickists everywhere. Enjoy!


P.S. I hate myself for how hard I laughed at his bizarre-but-true description of Ted Cruz's "odd face." (Just kidding. I still love myself. Don't be silly!)