The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book My Bernie Journey – A Behind the Scenes Look at the 2016 Democratic Primary
The book will be released on August 28.
I have been working on it for over a year and I really believe that it is an accurate portrayal of the disenfranchisement that Sanders and his supporters faced at the hands of the Democratic Party.
It’s a good read, full of the anger, sadness and euphoria that we all experienced as part of Sanders’ historic campaign.
After you finish reading the chapter, scroll down and there will be instructions on how you can obtain a copy of the book at no charge.
There is also an opportunity to be part of the team that gets the book to press.
I sincerely promise to do everything in my power to promote this book to anyone and everyone who may help further the truth about the travesty that occurred against our movement during the 2016 “Democratic” Primary.
Please feel free to share this post with anyone whom you think may be interested in this project.
Without further ado, here’s the chapter.
No One Wanted to Talk About It
I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist.
This is not to say that there aren’t true conspiracy theories. As time passes and information becomes declassified we can look back through our country’s history and see that there are countless examples of our government lying to us. But I’ve always been a wait and see kind of guy. Credibility is incredibly important to me. I try to be careful what I say. If people don’t hold me as a credible source then they have no reason to trust my words and without that I’ve got nothing.
Having said all of that, there were definitely some serious shenanigans pulled by the Democratic Party in the 2016 primaries and ALL of it was carefully designed to ensure that Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee.
I have many good friends who became angry with Senator Sanders for not calling out the DNC for their blatant disregard of the Democratic process, but I disagree strongly with that assessment. Sanders would have sounded like a sore loser had he spoken out. The party’s corporate media arms would have crushed him.
It’s important to understand that Sanders was not welcome in the Democratic Party and the party had elaborate plans to invalidate him and his movement. In fact, some of the chicanery used against Sanders was actually designed to provoke him into speaking out, so that the Democratic Party could try to make him look like a paranoid old man. They would literally do underhanded things to Sanders and his supporters in hopes that our reaction could be used against us.
The Democratic Party was gaslighting the Sanders campaign and the media was waiting to pounce at every opportunity. Bernie was simply in a position where he could not speak out. Had Sanders taken the bait, the media would have torn him apart and Clinton would have said something like
“I find it sad that Senator Sanders doesn’t trust the American electoral process and that he clearly has some kind of disdain for the American voter.”
Bernie has been in government most of his life so he knows how the game works. He was, and still is, the uninvited guest at the dinner party. They are waiting for him to say or do something offensive, so that they can ask him to leave. But Bernie keeps smiling and complimenting the food while he tries to get us to run to the kitchen and change the recipe.
So when people say that Sanders should have called out the party for their obvious manipulation of the democratic process, what they are actually suggesting is that Bernie give up his seat at the table. There is technically nothing wrong with the table. It’s the other guests that are the problem.
We need better people at the table. And these guests are hard to move. They’ve grown fat gorging themselves at the corporate trough. To move them will take millions of people, standing together, pushing them from their thrones and into the gutter to be washed away like the corporate refuse that they are.
It’s not Bernie’s job to call them out on their malfeasance. It’s ours. If he loses his seat at the table, we all starve.
But make no mistake, there was a tremendous amount of electoral finagling on behalf of the Democratic Party during the 2016 Presidential primary.
Whether it was Bill Clinton showing up at polling places, walking through the crowd, shaking hands with people while they waited in line, in an attempt to sway their votes or the blatant rigging of the Democratic Election in Nevada by Roberta Gustave Lange, the Democratic Party was clearly working overtime to insure that Sanders and his supporters did not get a fair shake in the Democratic process.
In Nevada the convention was scheduled concurrently with the state college’s graduation day, meaning that many Sanders supporters, being of college age, had to choose between attending the convention or participating in their graduation ceremonies.
I am willing to concede that it is possible that this was just shoddy planning on the part of the Democrats in Nevada, but there were other things that occurred that make it nearly impossible for me to believe that this scheduling was an accident.
For example, knowing that Sanders supporters would be struggling to be inside the convention at the scheduled 10:00 am start time, due to graduation ceremonies, Gustave Lange made several changes to the rules at 9:30 AM, when she undoubtedly hoped the convention would be predominantly made up of Clinton supporters.
Lange was wrong.
Even thirty minutes before the convention actually began, Sanders delegates outnumbered Clinton delegates and voted down the rule changes. Lange changed the rules anyway and then proceeded to tally the number of total delegates for each candidate. When it was discovered that Sanders had won the convention by having over 1700 delegates present (so much for scheduling the convention on graduation day) then the DNC began to systematically eliminate Sanders delegates with no explanation given.
Once 64 Sanders delegates were disqualified, there was a recount and Clinton was declared the winner. The Nevada Democratic Convention was overwhelmingly in favor of Bernie Sanders, but when those disenfranchised by corruption tried to speak out, a wall of police came forth and the Sanders’ supporters were threatened with arrest if they did not disperse.
From behind the wall of police, Hillary Clinton’s friend and relative, Senator Barbara Boxer, attempted to provoke a violent response from the disenfranchised Sanders delegates by verbally taunting them and making an obscene gesture.
There was an internet rumor that Boxer flipped her middle finger at the Sanders delegates, but in actuality Boxer, a native of Brooklyn, raised her index finger in an “up yours” fashion. Which finger Boxer raised is wholly beside the point. The intention is absolutely the same. An elected official has no business rubbing salt in the wounds of the disenfranchised. No image more clearly defines the shattered relationship that the Democratic Party has with The People than the image of Boxer blatantly mocking the Sanders delegates from behind a wall of police. This single action wholeheartedly symbolizes the party’s entire “let them eat cake” attitude towards the American people.
As Boxer screamed from the stage for the Sanders delegates to shut up and accept that their voice was being stolen from them, one justifiably angry man raised a chair above his head for a moment and THIS was all the corporate media needed in order to spin their distraction story.
Finally the Sanders media blackout was at an end. Finally the media acknowledged the existence of millions of people who were fed up and were demanding that their government represent them.
But the corporate media was not talking about the impropriety of the Democrats. Instead they were talking about the man who raised the chair and then immediately set it back down. Roberta Lange and Barbara Boxer took to the airwaves saying that they feared for their lives. Sanders supporters were portrayed as being violent and deranged. Sanders himself was called upon to “speak to his followers” and once again the corporate media exposed themselves as being in bed with Hillary Clinton and the DNC.
Never mind that a “Democratic” convention was blatantly rigged and we had the video to prove it.
Never mind that hardworking delegates were stripped of their credentials without just cause.
Someone had raised a chair for half a second.
This was what Clinton’s corporate media backers had been waiting for.
Sadly, Nevada was not the only place where blatant electoral fraud was taking place. Close races in Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky showed large discrepancies between normally accurate exit polling and final vote counts.
Clinton barely squeezed out victories in all three states.
While I was in Iowa, I watched as Clinton paid staff showed up to caucus centers dressed in identical red uniforms to match that of the Nurses for Bernie volunteers with the sole intention of deceiving the Sanders’ voters, many of whom had never caucused before.
At one Iowa precinct, two Clinton volunteers told the Sanders’ caucusers that the building was over the fire safety limit and that they would have to go outside to have their votes counted. The rules of the caucus clearly stated that once caucus counts begin that you are not allowed to leave or your vote will be invalidated.
Across the country in New York, tens of thousands of Sanders’ supporters were literally pleading for their right to vote. These New Yorkers were denied this inalienable right, because they did not register as Democrats six months in advance of the primary and while this is not technically election fraud, it does point to the attitude that the Democratic Party has towards voters.
The message is and was loud and clear.
If you are not a member of our club, then you do not have a voice.
But there was actual election fraud in New York as well.
In Sanders’ childhood home of Brooklyn, New York, 122,454 registered voters had their voter eligibility stripped from them just days before the primary. The reason given for this unexpected purge was voter inactivity. These were voters who were registered, but had not voted since 2008 or earlier. As Sanders’ success was primarily based on a combination of first time voters and disenchanted voters returning to vote for a candidate after a latency period, it seems obvious that purging these voters hurt Sanders more than it hurt Clinton. Clinton was simply not the type of candidate that inspired voters to end their apathy and return to the fold. Sanders was.
When these Brooklynites showed up to vote for Senator Sanders a few days later, they found that they were no longer registered. When they attempted to register, they were informed that they were not allowed to participate in the primary, because they had not been registered as Democrats six months prior.
I can tell you, as a traveling volunteer, that I personally had access to canvassing and phone-banking information that informed me of whom each person I spoke with was planning to vote for. Obviously the Democratic Party had access to this same information. The systematic purging of over 100,000 voters days before a primary is a ridiculous assault on the intelligence and basic human rights of the American voter. It is a blatant and systematic assault on democracy itself.
Democrats are a very exclusive club. They can’t have just anyone walking in off the street and voting. These people might actually vote for someone that will change the system.
There are well manipulated controls instituted throughout our so-called Democracy that gently (and not so gently) herd the voters towards the desired corporate candidates. It is not to say that there is not some shred of Democracy left in America. To imply this would be too extreme. It is simply to say that there are controls in place at every level to insure that the candidates that have corporate backing also have the Democratic Party’s backing and any attempts to permeate this membrane will have to be extreme and consistent.
For those of you who read this and believe that there is no hope and therefore no reason to vote or take other civic actions, you are missing the point. The mere fact that we forced the man behind the curtain to show his face, ever so briefly, is progress. It wakes people up from the matrix and causes discontent. This discontent is our weapon against the oligarchical forces that control our government. Put simply, we have the numbers.
The solution isn’t apathy.
The solution is increased activity.
The solution is political revolution.
If you don’t know about the massive election fraud that took place in order to help Hillary Clinton and her campaign, then I just sound like a bitter and crazy Bernie-Bro, which is of course, the exact narrative that the corporate media continues to espouse to this very day.
It is easy to dismiss these claims of electoral manipulation as the rantings of a madman. But there is the simple fact that we literally have proof of nearly every single transgression. A cell phone video here, a leaked email there. It’s all out there for those who want to invest the time to learn the disgusting truth.
I hear myself.
I know what I sound like.
And in effect, I am actually being a conspiracy theorist, because I’m telling you that there was definitely and undeniably a MASSIVE conspiracy to insure that Hillary Clinton received the Democratic nomination.
The problem I have in retelling this sick, sad story isn’t in providing proof. It is in limiting myself in deciding which stories to tell, because there was simply so much electoral manipulation in the 2016 Democratic primary that in order to cover all of it would require several in depth tomes.
Absent from this chapter will be the closed polling stations in Arizona, that mysteriously corresponded with a sudden surge in voter registration, as a result of Sanders’ rapidly growing popularity.
I will not be able to give the time deserved to exit polling discrepancies that began in Massachusetts and then repeated in nearly every close race across the country where Clinton mysteriously prevailed.
Nor will I attempt to explain why the corporate media arms of the Democratic Party suddenly stopped conducting exit polling for the first time in thirty years when Sanders’ supporters began calling attention to said discrepancies.
I will not be able to adequately explain the crippling effect that corporate news outlets had on the Sanders campaign, by running super-delegate totals on their tickers, around the clock, months before the super-delegates even pledged, creating the illusion and narrative that Sanders was losing by a wide margin in their attempts to discourage people from going to the polls and making Sanders political revolution a reality.
I cannot elucidate the depths of corporate depravity required by the media monopoly that told voters that the California primary had already been won by Hillary Clinton the night before voting was to begin, in an attempt to insure that Sanders did not win the state by a landslide that would have secured him the number of delegates needed to insure the nomination. If this had occurred then Sanders would be the President of the United States right now and there was no way those in power were going to allow this to happen.
What I can do is fulfill the promise I made on page one of this book and share my personal story. For I was also a Bernie Sanders county and state delegate and I attended my state’s convention in Indiana.
Upon arrival Friday evening, I smiled and nodded my way into the opening night dinner. It was really my only option as I could not afford the ticket price.
Once inside I did my best to blend in among several hundred people dressed much nicer than myself. As women in flowing evening gowns took their seats next to men dressed in expensive suits, the lights began to dim and in quick succession prominent members of Indiana’s Democratic Party came to the microphone and talked about how wonderful it was to be a Democrat and what an amazing time it was to be alive to see the election of the “first woman President.”
I am not joking when I tell you that literally every person who came to the podium used the term “first woman President.”
There was only one problem with that;
Senator Bernie Sanders won the great state of Indiana.
We, The People, had worked hard and knocked on doors. We had stood in the rain and trudged through the snow. We had gone without things we needed to make our donations. And even though Indiana is one of the last states to hold its convention and even though we knew, by this point, that winning was a long-shot, this was still OUR convention.
We had won.
We were told a week before our primary that Nate Silver had gauged Hillary Clinton as a 99% lock to win our state and our response was to pack our meals so we could eat while canvassing. We stopped going back to the campaign center for new routes. During crunch time we would finish one route and text back for a new one. We called in friends from other states and they crashed on our floors so we could come from behind and win this. On voting day we drove around to polling stations to film the Clinton people who were stationed at the door trying to influence voters. We spoke with hostile Republicans who called us communists and got some of them to vote for Bernie Sanders. We were harassed by police and threatened by men with confederate flags. We did everything and then we did more and we won our state and I personally tweeted Nate Silver that evening and told him to “stick to sports predicting because if you haven’t noticed after Michigan and Indiana, there is a revolution happening in this country!”
We had won.
But none of the speakers mentioned that.
And then the speakers stopped and three giant movie screens, that I had failed to notice before, lit up with the face of Hillary Clinton and all three Hillary’s told me how grateful she was that her supporters came out to celebrate our pending victory against Donald Trump and the Republicans.
We had won.
Hillary forgot to mention that.
We had won.
But we were treated like losers.
The next morning, I arrived early to the convention, in hopes of encouraging my voters to support other national delegate contenders, that I felt were more deserving of the honor.
I showed up with my best attitude. I reminded myself repeatedly that I was not just representing myself, but that I was also representing Bernie Sanders. I tried to think how Bernie would act. I smiled and tried to shake hands with the Hillary delegates, but none of them seemed particularly interested in speaking with me, so I went inside to listen to the speakers from the Democratic Party.
Clinton super-delegate and my district’s Congressman, Andre Carson, took the podium and spoke for 20 minutes about the importance of being a Democrat and what an honor it was to see the “first woman President” make such a historic run.
He never mentioned Bernie.
Then Indiana Democratic governor candidate, John Gregg, took the microphone and spoke about how Democrats create jobs and how important it was to vote for Hillary Clinton so she could be come the “first woman President.”
John Gregg never mentioned Bernard Sanders or his delegates.
We were invisible.
The speakers were bumming me out so I decided to walk out to the hallway and recharge. As I did I noticed a lady with a tray full of gum. People were taking a piece and smiling at her and she was smiling back. That looked nice so I walked over, smiled and took a piece of gum.
“THIS gum is for HILLARY DELEGATES!!” she snarled at me.
I stood there thinking about how much I hated politics and wondered why I was wearing a damned tie and wondering why I had finally spent the money to get an actual adult haircut. I wondered why it mattered who chewed the gum or who didn’t. All they kept talking about inside was unity, but then when I tried to shake someone’s hand or eat a piece of gum then the unity was gone. Perhaps “unity” was just a code-word that meant Bernie Sanders delegates were supposed to sit down, shut up and fall in line.
I’m just some dude who spent his life screaming in punk bands. I am not accustomed to morose old slags glaring at me and telling me I don’t rank highly enough for free gum.
So I snapped.
“I’d rather my breath smell like DOGSHIT(!!!) than to chew Hillary Clinton gum!!!” I said tossing the gum back on the tray and walking away.
I took a seat in the Bernie delegate section next to a blind man, a dominatrix and my new friend who had kickass tattoos all over her face and neck.
Just me, my funky breath and my misfit friends trying to infect the not so Democratic Party.
THAT’S THE CHAPTER – I REALLY HOPED YOU ENJOYED IT!! THERE ARE MANY MORE EXCITING CHAPTERS IN THE FULL VERSION OF THE BOOK.
HERE ARE ALL THE DETAILS YOU NEED IN ONE EASY TO UNDERSTAND VIDEO
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this chapter and I really look forward to getting the book to you.
I’ve spent so much time trying to make it amazing.
I sincerely believe that it is a book that needed to be written and I’m honored to be able to be part of such an incredible movement.
Your friend in Revolution,
Michael E Sparks