What happened when progressives won Democratic party elections in Nevada

Akela Lacy and Ryan Grim write about how the Democratic party establishment in Nevada reacted after a slate of progressives won every post in the state party leadership races. The outgoing party establishment, rather than conceding gracefully, reacted in a very Trumpian manner.

NOT LONG AFTER Judith Whitmer won her election on Saturday to become chair of the Nevada Democratic Party, she got an email from the party’s executive director, Alana Mounce. The message from Mounce began with a note of congratulations, before getting to her main point.

She was quitting. So was every other employee. And so were all the consultants. And the staff would be taking severance checks with them, thank you very much.

On March 6, a coalition of progressive candidates backed by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America took over the leadership of the Nevada Democratic Party, sweeping all five party leadership positions in a contested election that evening. Whitmer, who had been chair of the Clark County Democratic Party, was elected chair. The establishment had prepared for the loss, having recently moved $450,000 out of the party’s coffers and into the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s account. The DSCC will put the money toward the 2022 reelection bid of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a vulnerable first-term Democrat.

THE BATTLE BETWEEN the insurgent progressive wing of the party and what’s known in Nevada as the Reid machine — a tightly run operation still guided by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — began five years ago, when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders organized support for his 2016 presidential primary run, while Reid was working behind the scenes to help his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Over the next four years, outside organizations like DSA exploded in size and strength. The Sanders campaign focused on organizing tens of thousands of young Latino voters in the state, with the goal of activating people whom the party hadn’t bothered with before. And it worked: In the 2020 cycle, after investing heavily in Nevada, Sanders won a commanding victory in the Nevada caucuses.

The Democratic party establishment has been in power so long, they do not take kindly to progressive groups out-organizing them.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    And the staff would be taking severance checks with them, thank you very much.

    That bit is odd, severance checks are usually something you get when you get laid off by your employer, not when you quit. I hope the monetary movements are investigated carefully.

  2. billseymour says

    She was quitting. So was every other employee.

    That’s downright Republican in its spitefullness.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    It’s almost as though they’re not in it too help people, but to enjoy power and enrich themselves.

  4. Who Cares says

    Not strange coming from a party that would permanently blacklist anyone daring to work for Democratic challengers that they didn’t agree with. Granted they only made something that they already did policy in 2018/2019. They it claimed to be to fight Trump but it would have directed at anyone not supported by the DNC, as AOC attested to when she told the NY Times that the DNC told her at the time she got sworn in they were banning everyone, who dared to help her kick out Maloney, for working for/with the Democrats. They ended that policy only this month but it remains to be seen if the unofficial shunning will stop as well.

    The Democrats are just as on board the gravy train as the Republicans are and people that might derail that are not welcome. The main difference at this point seems to be that the Republicans are trying to kill the goose with the golden eggs (read: the middle class) for short term gain where the Democrats realize that you need to keep it healthy and fed to keep letting it lay eggs so they can stay in power in the long term.

  5. bmiller says

    We are assuming there are TWO parties in this country. i see ONE party, a Party of War and Wall Street. Of course, the weak sauce flavored wing of said party is not as batshit crazy as the Raving-mad Hezbollah Billionaire (RHB)wing, but both largely accept the same basic ideas (although the RHB wing seems to be going more and more off the deep end, so by no means am I devolving totally into bothsiderism!)

  6. mnb0 says

    On the positive side those employees, consultants and staff members won’t be able to sabotage eventual reform initiated by Whitner and co. They now have the chance to turn the Democratic Party in Nevada into a genuinely progressive one. So in a way I think this the best news coming from the USA since a long time.

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