The Nevada caucuses

This coming Saturday, the voters of Nevada will vote for their choice of Democratic presidential nominee. This is going to be another caucus though one hopes that the Iowa debacle will not be repeated. The Nevada Democratic party decided to ditch the infamous app that caused such confusion in Iowa and one hopes that they have put in place measures to guarantee a fair vote. It is really quite extraordinary that the US has elections so frequently but has not been able to create a smooth and streamlined process and instead seems to do things at the last minute and on the fly.

Given that Bernie Sanders won the most votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, the party establishment, the oligarchy, various special interests, the media, and self-described ‘centrists’ and ‘moderates’ (that should be more accurately labeled as center-rightists) have decided to pull out the stops to try and prevent him gaining his third consecutive victory.

Something that I had not been aware of before is that apparently the Culinary Workers Union is a powerful force representing 60,000 hospitality workers in that state, mostly in the large cities of Las Vegas and Reno, and has the ability to mobilize a lot of its members to canvass and get out the vote. Hence its endorsement is highly coveted. The union has strongly criticized Sanders’ Medicare For All proposal because it has apparently fought very hard to get the health benefits it now has and is fearful that they may get something worse.

A powerful hospitality workers union in Nevada accused supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday of “viciously” attacking the group, after it circulated a flier criticizing Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal.

The clash between Sanders, who heads into the state’s caucuses next week as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and Culinary Union 226, which represents hospitality workers in Nevada, began earlier this week when the group circulated a flier that compared presidential candidates’ stances on health care, jobs and immigration.

The flier, obtained by The Nevada Independent, conveys approval for the health care plans of four candidates — former Vice President Joe Biden, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and the billionaire businessman Tom Steyer — who it says would “protect Culinary Healthcare.”

But in the end, the union declined to endorse anyone, doubtless disappointing those candidates, especially Joe Biden, who have also criticized the Medicare For All plan and had hoped to be the beneficiary of the union’s antipathy towards it.

Why it declined to endorse is not clear but may be due to fears of angering those within its rank and file who support other candidates, as has happened in the past

In 2008, the group threw its backing behind Barack Obama, becoming the first major union in the country to endorse his bid for the Democratic nomination. But the endorsement angered many in the union’s rank and file, a number of whom ultimately supported Hillary Clinton — who won many of the caucus sites along the Las Vegas Strip, where casino workers turn out.

In 2016, the union was neutral in the race, but members overwhelmingly turned out for Clinton to help her clinch a narrow victory against Sanders, fueling rumors that the union had whipped up its support at the last minute, a claim it has denied. “There was no endorsement,” a Culinary Union official said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely.

One Democratic official close to the union said the decision not to endorse probably revealed that the membership is as fractured about which candidate is best positioned to beat Trump as other Democrats around the nation.

The Sanders campaign has made a serious effort at outreach to the Latino community in the state, where they make up about a third of the population.

As part of its Latino outreach efforts, which began earlier than many of its rivals, the Sanders campaign connected with voters through Spanish-language literature, mailers, and “Unidos Con Bernie” events across early states. Similar efforts worked in Iowa, where the Vermont senator won 52 percent of the vote across high-density Latino caucus locations, a recent analysis by UCLA’s Latino Policy & Politics Institute found. Biden came in a distant second at 15 percent. Sanders also swept the four Spanish-language satellite caucuses, winning votes from 430 of the 483 people who attended them.

Meanwhile it appears that a pro-Israel SuperPAC that is allied with AIPAC is pouring money into anti-Sanders ads in the state.

THE AMERICAN ISRAEL Public Affairs Committee is helping to fund a Super PAC launching attack ads against Sen. Bernie Sanders in Nevada on Saturday, according to two sources with knowledge of the arrangement. The ads are being run by a group called Democratic Majority for Israel, founded by longtime AIPAC strategist Mark Mellman.

The Nevada attack ads, which will air in media markets in Reno and Las Vegas, follow a similar spending blitz by DMFI ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Like the ads that aired in Iowa, the Nevada ads will attack Sanders on the idea that he’s not electable, Mediaite reported.
DMFI spent $800,000 on the Iowa ads, while the spending on the Nevada ads remains private. AIPAC is helping bankroll the anti-Sanders project by allowing donations to DMFI to count as contributions to AIPAC, the sources said.

In the past, AIPAC enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Congress. But as it’s cozied up to the GOP in recent years and taken a harder right-wing stance on Israel policy, reflecting a rightward drift in Israel, more Democrats are cutting ties with the group and tacking further left.

[T]he revelation that AIPAC has been encouraging donors to fund DMFI suggests how seriously the lobby is taking Sanders’s candidacy and that it is willing to intervene in the Democratic primary. On Thursday night, news leaked that a Super PAC connected to the Democratic group EMILY’s List had been contemplating an attack ad against Sanders. In a statement, the group said the ad had not been approved and that it would support whichever candidate won the Democratic nomination.

At least 11 of DMFI’s 14 board members have links to AIPAC as well, having either worked at, spoken to, volunteered for, or donated to the group, The Nation reported in December.

Emily’s List’s decision to not run the anti-Sanders ad may have been due to the realization that, like the Culinary Workers Union, many members of their rank and file may be supporters of Sanders and would not take kindly to the leadership running ads against the candidate that they favor.

The big money being poured into ads in the state will undoubtedly have some effect but how much is unclear. The more Sanders does well, the greater will be the resources thrown to try and derail his candidacy. The amount of ad buys will be a clear signal of the level of concern with which the Democratic party establishment and other anti-Sanders forces view the Sanders candidacy, and we can expect a crescendo as Saturday approaches, especially if polls this week suggest that he might win.


  1. says

    This is going to be another caucus though one hopes that the Iowa debacle will not be repeated.

    Now that all of the right/wrong people are looking at the software driving it, there’s a good chance it will be worse.

    I need to do a posting on the topic but it appears that the method used for posting the votes up is absurdly shitty -- i.e.: they’re using Google Docs and basically the way you authenticate that you have access to that field in the spreadsheet is that you’ve got the URL. Which has probably been emailed to everyfuckingbody and their dog and the republicans are way to stupid to have an insider in the Nevada democrats, right? I’ve mentioned several times that the American political assholes self-importance extends to the idea that they can design security critical systems without knowing anything about them. That’s why every election cycle they get hacked to bits. It’s really sad; they just can’t seem to learn.

  2. Jenora Feuer says

    I saw an article recently (I think on which pointed out that Iowa had a similar app being used in the 2016 election… which nobody heard about because it worked. That one was written by professionals with close to a year’s lead time; the one this year was written by a company which had political connections and was given only a couple of months to do it in, and it didn’t even get uploaded to the Apple or Google stores so it had to be manually side-loaded.

    Ah, here we are:

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    brucegee1962 @ # 2: … that statement from Emily’s List is an amazing specimen of mealy-mouthed doublespeak.

    It sounds like a clarion call when compared to their selective silence concerning (multi-M$ EL donor) Mike Bloomberg’s raw sexism.

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