This past weekend, popular Bernie Sanders surrogate, former Ohio State Senator and Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Executive Committee member Nina Turner attended the annual Cuyahoga County Democratic Party dinner in Cleveland, Ohio.
Turner was receiving the “courage” award in honor of former Congressman Louis Stokes, the first black congressman elected from the state of Ohio in 1968. Stokes and his brother Carl played important roles in integrating the Democratic Party, but the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party leadership failed to acknowledge the role the Stokes played in helping Democrats win elected offices in the 1980’s and beyond, and the Democratic Party’s abrasiveness toward Turner was evident at this dinner, resulting in Turner resigning as a member of the organization, though she remains a Democrat.
“Nina didn’t support a Republican when she backed Bernie Sanders. She supported another Democrat,” Former East Cleveland Mayor Eric Jonathan Brewer added in a Facebook post about the event. “But in the Ohio and Cuyahoga County Democratic Party organizations, the DOS’s(descendants of slaves) are still seen by the once pro-slavery party as property without an independent thought. We can’t support the Democrats of our own choices. We have to support only the Democrats that “they” support. So for Nina to support Sanders was wrong. Supporting Hillary Clinton was right. That’s the type of mindless control drama you’re dealing with inside the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party and it’s not the only thing bothering you.”
Among anecdotal stories of Nina Turner being harassed, scolded, and shamed by Democrats for her strong advocacy of Bernie Sanders’ campaign, the DNC and Clinton Campaign infamously forbid her from formally introducing Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention, and a leaked email revealed Clinton operatives researched the social media profiles of Bernie Sanders delegates, including Turner, to assess a “unity check” on how easily they would switch to supporting Hillary Clinton.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) also continues to catch flack and criticism for resigning as DNC Vice Chair to formally endorse and campaign for Bernie Sanders. “PRIMARY HER I want to see @TheDemocrats rid themselves of this disgusting woman @TulsiGabbard #ActiveMeasures #TrumpRussia #Assad #Putin,” tweeted conservative Russian conspiracy theorist/war hawk Louise Mensch on March 23 in response to another tweet about Gabbard, who is an Iraq War veteran and active duty member of the National Guard, and her peace efforts in Syria. Mensch also called Gabbard an anti-Semite without any evidence, a common political tactic she uses when she’s not aligning everything with Putin and Russia. Mensch has emerged as a favorite among former DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile and other Clinton partisans for her non-stop propagating of Putin and Russia links with current events. Daily Kos Political Director David Nir, Democratic Party fundraiser Scott Dworkin, ShareBlue’s Matthew Chapman, former DNC Chair Howard Dean and other establishment Democrats have all recently criticized Gabbard, elevated calls for her to be primaried, and ignored her potential as a presidential candidate in 2020, yet these are the same Democratic Party partisans who scoff and condescendingly shame calls from Bernie Sanders supporters to primary moderate and establishment Democrats for favoring donors over voters. In response to news that Hawaii Republican Beth Fukomoto resigned recently and switched to the Democratic Party, Clinton partisans have cited the idea that Fukomoto primary Gabbard, as they would rather have a conservative Democrat in their party than a progressive.
While Democratic Party leaders preach unity, and continue touting DNC Chair Tom Perez with Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), despite the great lengths the establishment took to ensure Sanders-backed Ellison didn’t win the DNC Chair race, the Democratic Party establishment continues to carry an abrasive attitude toward Bernie Sanders and progressives. Though resistance to Trump is a unifying force, any push for reform and changes within the Democratic Party have been obstructed at every turn since Hillary Clinton’s election loss. The Democratic Party has learned nothing, and while Nina Turner and Tulsi Gabbard remain favorites among Bernie Sanders supporters and likely have bright futures as progressive leaders, the Democratic Party leadership sees them as political opponents, and will continue to attack them when convenient, and insist on their support and loyalty when it suits them, as they have done with Bernie Sanders and his supporters since the Democratic Primaries.