Progressive Democratic leader Lucy Flores issued a statement Monday during the aftermath of the Nevada Democratic Convention denouncing the behavior of a small number of self-proclaimed Bernie Sanders’ supporters. Michael Briggs, communications director for Bernie Sanders, told the Associated Press that the campaign had absolutely no connection to any violence or the threats to Barbara Boxer, Roberta Lange, or anyone else. Briggs said that Senator Sanders does not condone such violence or threats.
This weekend demonstrated that tempers are boiling on the political front. Clinton supporter and actor Wendell Pierce was arrested for allegedly pushing a woman’s boyfriend out of the way when she said she was supporting Sanders. Reportedly, Pierce then grabbed the woman’s hair and hit her in the head. A separate report was reportedly made to police after an upscale, catered party on Long Island this weekend ended up with an NYU college student assaulted and injured, allegedly simply because he was avidly discussing Sanders’ strengths.
However, the big story in the news from this weekend is that dozens of threats of violence have been left in text messages or voice mails to Democratic leaders in Nevada by reported Sanders’ supporters. Someone also put graffiti on the DNC headquarters in Nevada with either paint, chalk, or some other substance. Overall, it was a fiery weekend of politics.
Flores, herself, is an avid Bernie Sanders’ supporter. She called for all progressives to speak out against the small but disturbing number of people who have contacted party leaders with threats against their lives, defaced property, and resorted to “misogynistic vulgarities” during or after the convention in Nevada.
— Lucy Flores (@LucyFlores) May 14, 2016
Lucy Flores’ statement has been praised by many Sanders’ supporters and other Democrats, including an opinion writer with Daily Kos who called some of the actions following the upset at the Nevada Democratic Convention “an embarrassment.” A video surfaced from the convention of what appeared to be a mild altercation. A woman on the ground that led to a medical emergency was initially blamed on violence from the Sanders’ delegates but reportedly turned out to be someone who fainted due to a medical condition.
The most significant harassment began after the convention by anonymous callers and texters after someone leaked the chairwoman’s cell phone number online. The authorities have been notified of all threats of violence left as voice mail messages or texts.
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) May 17, 2016
“I understand and share the frustration that many progressives in Nevada feel,” Flores stated while making the distinction that “[r]egardless of whether you agree with the leadership of our Chairwoman Roberta Lange, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do her actions warrant being harassed, insulted with misogynistic vulgarities and or threatened in any way. It is my hope and desire that all Democrats keep the bigger goal in mind achieving a progressive agenda that puts working families first.”
Flores said that it is important to hold leaders accountable to the progressive platform but called for progressives, like Bernie Sanders’ supporters, to stay committed and focused.
Ahead of the state-level convention, Bernie Sanders had issued a press release asking for Clinton and Sanders’ supporters to work together “respectfully and constructively on Saturday.” Mainstream media and social media reports both indicate that the convention didn’t play out that way, with disrespect and obstruction exhibited from both party officials and delegates.
DNC Nevada National Committeewoman Erin Bilbray said that the party officials actually did not follow the rules and that Roberta Lange did a “very poor job” at the convention. Bilbray also said that her father, former Nevada Congressman James Bilbray who was a Hillary Clinton supporter, was so upset about the way Sanders’ delegates were silenced by the officials at the convention that he tore up his ballot and walked out.
— Erin Bilbray (@erinbilbray) May 15, 2016
Bilbray also condemned any threats of violence towards political opposition from reported Sanders’ supporters, though.
— LV Progressive (@LVProgressive) May 17, 2016
Sanders’ spokesman also said that the campaign is still deciding whether to challenge the results of the Nevada State Convention, possibly due to the video taped evidence of what many are calling voter suppression and even election fraud.
I was there. This happened before I took the stage, which was after Sen. Boxer. It was intense. https://t.co/b08kbjbxr3
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) May 16, 2016
Nevertheless, the DNC allegedly remains convinced that Democrats will become united.
“We’re confident that Democrats will be united and energized at our convention and throughout the general election,” said Mark Paustenbach, a Democratic National Committee spokesman told the New York Times after the fallout from the Nevada Convention.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]