Bernie Would Have Won California

Nearing the end of May 2016 Andrew and I took a plane to Los Angales to knock doors for the Bernie Sanders campaign. We were to stay there for two weeks, up until the June 7 primary. The cat is now out of the bag. The primary was rigged. California was the Democrat’s most dirty deed. See Greg Palast’s reporting on this here.

Democrats allow independents to vote in the California primary. But there are hoops to jump through. Special ballots, envelopes and registration is required. If you are voting in person and you bring the wrong ballot or envelope there need be no fear. The LA Times assures its readers that their votes will be counted if they do the necessary steps:

“The worst-case scenario: A voter will be asked to cast what’s known as a provisional ballot. These are instances in which a person’s registration can’t be verified on election day, or an absentee voter who shows up at a polling place but didn’t bring the ballot that arrived in the mail.”

Californians also vote by mail. Sometimes the independents are sent the wrong ballot. There is less confusion if the voter is just a Democrat. This is because the independents need to register under a special No Party Preference label. So you can ask for a new ballot. If this works out you send your new ballot in. But it is sent later than the other ballots. If it is sent by June 7, the date of the primary, it will be counted. So once again, independents need not worry.

These two factors clues in the Democratic party to which voters are independent: the provisional ballots and the ballots arriving in the mail later. They also know that independents are voting for Sanders, not Clinton. The polls tell them this.

As for the polls in California, they were very close between the big H arrow and the Berning Man. The score was projected to be Clinton 46 Sanders 44 by the LA times.

So, if I may quote someone who is #NotMyPresident, what happened? Palast says that almost 2 million votes weren’t counted. 2 million! This is a lot of votes. And these uncounted ballots came almost exclusively from the provisional ballots and the later mail in ballots. In other words, Bernie voters. Why didn’t this get any attention? I think it’s because at this point it was all written. Hillary would have won anyways. So let’s get out of her way. Anything we question will only help Trump now.

Yet we can’t just blame this all on Hillary and the Democrats. Where was Bernie in all of this mess? I suppose I’ll give him credit for not dropping out right then and there. But he said nothing about the uncounted votes.

This is a failure not only because neither candidate held democracy to any sort of standard but also because winning California was the pretext for Clinton getting the nomination. When Bernie stayed in the race it was to influence the platform, not change the candidate.

The other criminal part of this operation was that the AP announced that Clinton won the Democratic nomination on voting night! People were still casting their votes when the press declared it was all over for Sanders. We will never know how many Sanders voters went home when the press announced this. Jeff Weaver was rightly infuriated on a conference call to the campaign staff about this. But the Sanders campaign publicly bowed to the nominee.

Andrew and I spent most of our time knocking doors in the affluent Westwood neighborhood, which is right next to the UCLA campus. It was a rather tough area to crack. Above anything we found Democrats for Hillary. Nearly every door was uniform in their political stance. They say one of these things almost every time: I like Bernie but he’s not realistic. Bernie is crazy. Hillary already won, what are you doing knocking doors? Hillary is qualified. Hillary is a lifelong champion of bla bla bla. Young people are so idealistic. It’s so good of you to be politically involved, how will you help Hillary in the general election? Its nice you had your little socialist fantasy, but the most important thing is beating those darn Republicans. Trump isn’t he horrible? I’m so glad we have two good candidates on our side. I can’t wait to work with you, my fellow Democrat.

There was never anything specific or concrete. Some houses were really vicious in regards to Bernie’s relatively sane stance on Israel, which is still quite inadequate. About the only well to do person that liked Bernie was basketball player Metta World Peace. But I suppose if your name is World Peace, Hillary could never be your candidate. It’s like a guy named Real Hair voting for Trump. Overall the houses that went for Hillary were old rich Democratic Party enthusiasts.

We did get the chance to venture outside of this neighborhood. We worked with a primarily Latino organization called the Bernie Sanders Brigade. The young staff  had done a lot of work for Bernie in Arizona. The election fraud there was highly troubling for them. Bernie supporters were mostly young people. In some neighborhoods that were younger and poorer, Bernie was a near consensus. They had issues they cared about. Specific things that would change because of Bernie. Young people of all stripes just loved Bernie. The fact that there was sexism against Hillary across class and political spectrum is undeniable. But young people of all genders were for the more left Sanders.

Sanders supporters also were independents. People who had given up on politics before Bernie came along. They did not believe in either corporate party but they believed in Bernie. Many of them had questions or complaints about their ballots. Something was mailed wrong. They were not told how to vote. Bernie and the state of California could have done a much better job at helping people figure out the rules, even if they weren’t going to be followed.

He would soon make a fool of all of us at the Democratic National Convention. The Bernie Sanders Brigade was there. And they walked out. Bernie should have followed them. But by this time, Bernie was with Her, not with us.

Bernie should have been more focused on the millions he inspired, many of them outside of the Democratic Party. Winning the nomination in that party relies on only Democrats voting in many states. If California is any evidence, Bernie is bigger than that. And so is the left. Yet we are bigger than Bernie too. How many tears can we shed for one champion of Empire being cheated by another? California is sad not because Bernie lost or Hillary won but because 2 million votes were not counted.

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Nick Pemberton writes and works from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves to receive feedback at pemberton.nick@gmail.com 

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