(IF YOU ALREADY KNOW THE TWISTED BACK-STORY REGARDING THE FALSE QUOTE OF JANE SANDERS AND HOW JANE PUBLICLY CAME OUT AND TOLD US THAT IT WAS OKAY TO WRITE BERNIE IN, THEN YOU CAN SCROLL DOWN TO THE SCREENSHOTS OF THE CONVERSATION WITH THE PERSON WHO INFILTRATED AND DECEIVED OUR GROUP AND SKIP THE SET-UP)
My name is Michael E Sparks and I have spent the last year of my life trying to do everything I could to promote Bernie Sanders and the ideals he champions for our country.
I was a state and county delegate for Bernie Sanders and I have spent most of the past year traveling around to primary states canvassing on behalf of Sanders.
About a month ago I wrote THIS article, which asked people to volunteer and follow my crazy family to Vermont to convince the citizens there of what I referred to as a “Hail-Mary chance for Bernie Sanders to win the Presidency” by taking Vermont’s three electoral votes away from Hillary Clinton and forcing the Presidential race to be decided by the House of Representatives.
I stated from the beginning that it was a long shot, but for those of us who are desperate to break out of this awful Trump/Clinton conundrum, a long shot seemed infinitely better than what we felt would be certain war and hardship, if either of these two took office.
As soon as the article hit, my life became pretty chaotic.
My family and I started rearranging our work and school schedules to get to Vermont, which was pretty hectic.
Also we were contacted by an amazing group called #OpDeny270, which had the goal of organizing a Sanders write-in for the other states where a write-in victory would actually be counted.
Vermont, New Jersey, Alabama, New Hampshire, California, Oregon, Wyoming, Delaware and Iowa do not require the candidate to register in order to win a write-in campaign.
I expressed to our group that I wanted to keep our campaign separate from #OpDeny270, because time was limited and flipping a single state was already a monumental undertaking and also because most of the members of our group were Jill Stein supporters and we did not want to do anything to hurt Jill’s chances of attaining 5% of the national vote, which would qualify The Green Party for federal funding in the 2020 Presidential election and would go a long way towards our Progressive goal of busting up the corporate duopoly.
From the beginning we were very careful to be respectful of Jill Stein’s campaign.
Part of the reason why we were focusing on Vermont is that our numbers indicated that there was a very small Green Party presence there and most people were reluctantly voting for Hillary and had overwhelmingly voted for Sanders in the primary.
We crunched all the numbers beforehand, so we knew exactly what we needed to do in order to flip the state and we were absolutely positive that doing so would, in no way, hurt Jill’s chances at federal funding.
We checked the Vermont write-in laws extensively and found out that we could actually achieve our goal.
Terje Oseberg wrote a fantastic phone-banking program and imported every phone-number in Vermont into it.
People started phone-banking and Vermont residents were responding positively.
We needed to convert 25% of the state’s voters in order to achieve our goal and we were initially flipping 40%.
Terje was constantly telling us how many bankers we needed from day-to-day and really motivating people.
While waiting for my vacation time, I continued to work in my off hours canvassing for Jill Stein locally, so you can imagine my confusion when we started receiving angry responses from people claiming that they were Jill Stein supporters and that they knew that our movement was actually a plot to help Hillary Clinton.
There was no logic to the argument.
For one, I am a very public figure and everyone knows that I am a radical Sanders devotee.
I literally met thousands of Sanders and Stein supporters at the DNC protest in Philadelphia and have been interviewed by everyone from Fox News to Vox to The Washington Post regarding my passion for Bernie Sanders and the values he stands for.
The argument against our movement being for Hillary Clinton made zero sense, because getting Clinton voters to write-in Bernie Sanders was clearly intended to take Vermont away from Clinton, where she currently has a huge lead.
The entire genesis of our movement was an attempt to deprive Clinton of the Presidency and give it to Bernie Sanders, where it rightfully belonged after a rigged “Democratic” Primary.
As we began assigning volunteers and getting organized, we were hyper-conscious of being infiltrated by people who may want to sabotage our operation to insure that Clinton won Vermont.
We were not expecting to be infiltrated by anyone representing Jill Stein, because our group is full of Stein supporters and prior to the event that I am about to explain, we thought of these people as allies.
In fact, I still do feel that Stein supporters and Sanders supporters are allies.
At least I hope we are.
The events I am about to explain leave me saddened and wondering about the intentions of some of those who I thought were on our side.
It was going to be two weeks before our family could arrive in Vermont, so we needed a canvassing coordinator on the ground in Burlington.
Let me be clear, we were absolutely DESPERATE for an experienced canvasser who was already on the ground in Vermont, who could house and train our traveling canvassers.
Enter Nicole Guerin…
In the following conversation Nicole is the gray bubbles and I am the blue bubbles.
Nicole was the key to the entire operation.
She was exactly what we were looking for.
Nicole was an experienced canvasser who supported Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders.
It was a perfect match!!
As it was my job to interview the canvassing coordinator, I was extremely happy that we had found someone who was actually in Burlington, Vermont.
I immediately liked Nicole and went to the group with my recommendation that we train Nicole remotely and give her canvassing literature and allow her to train our traveling volunteers.
Then she informed us that she actually was friends with Bernie and Jane Sanders.
Nicole and I seemed to be on the same page. I was incredibly excited to recommend her to the group.
Nicole expressed concerns that the people of Vermont did not want any part of a campaign that could possibly result in a Trump Presidency.
I informed Nicole that we had changed our group mission statement, in light of Clinton taking a huge lead in the electoral college polls, after the Trump misogyny tape was released.
I told Nicole that we had reframed our mission and that we had accepted that Vermont’s three electoral votes were not going to be enough to stop Clinton, but that we really just wanted to honor Bernie Sanders for a lifetime of commitment to the people of Vermont.
Nicole agreed that this approach would work much better and I had received permission from our group to offer her the position as our canvassing coordinator (not before the higher-ups in our group asked me if I was sure that she was the “real deal” about ten times and every time I assured them that she was.)
Nicole was ecstatic.
Nicole accepted our offer and even said that she could lodge some of our traveling canvassers.
Our group celebrated.
We now had our foot in the door.
The following day, Nicole sent me this message.
It was a video from Claudia Stauber, someone who I have been a big fan of for a while now.
It was Claudia telling people that our movement was actually working for Hillary Clinton.
As you can imagine, we were all hurt and disappointed to hear that Claudia had been misinformed and was unknowingly spreading false information regarding our movement.
I told Nicole that our movement was not related to #OpDeny270 and that I didn’t think such a huge initiative could work and that I felt like it could interfere with Jill’s 5%.
(To my friends at #OpDeny270, I have since changed my opinion in light of the amazing work you guys are doing. I now feel that it is absolutely feasible for you guys to flip Wyoming. But I have to present the truth and the truth is that I did say that it wouldn’t work when I first head about your movement.)
At this point, things began to get interesting.
Nicole was having a crisis of conscience or at least this is what I was lead to believe.
She said that she felt bad about running a secret operation in Bernie and Jane’s backyard and wanted to talk to them about it before she went any further.
She also complimented our canvassing materials.
Nicole reminded me again, how important the Sanders’ approval was regarding our initiative.
I didn’t say anything to her, because I believed at the time that she was laboring under an intense dilemma, but I really feared that talking to Bernie would kill our initiative, because I know that he is bound by his agreement to support Hillary Clinton.
I wanted to ask her not to talk to them, but how could I?
Asking her not to talk to her “friends” would be overstepping a serious boundary.
Then things became strange.
As Nicole had offered her home for canvassers, I told her the days that we would be arriving and told her that we would accept her offer to use her guest room.
At this point Nicole informed me that the room was full and reiterated that she was uncomfortable running a campaign that may be against Bernie’s wishes.
I knew that Bernie would be forced by his position with the DNC to denounce the campaign, but I also knew that we were packed and on our way to Vermont in two days and we needed Nicole to feel strongly about what we were doing, so I suggested…
Nicole agreed to speak to Jane, but not to Bernie.
I supported Nicole’s choice and went to bed that night feeling scared, afraid that all of our work would be ended by a single conversation with Jane Sanders.
Nicole messaged me Sunday morning and told me that the Sanders family was not at home.
Then later that day, Nicole messaged me again and told me that she had spoken with Jane.
I nearly vomited when I saw the message.
I was so scared that we might offend Bernie and Jane in some way, when we had all worked so hard to honor them.
I sat on pins and needles for several hours until the infamous messages came in regarding Jane’s message for us to cease our movement and support the candidates who are “on the ballot”.
I was deeply saddened.
I wrote THIS article (since amended) telling everyone that our movement was over, because Jane Sanders did not approve of it.
Our volunteer group had a range of emotions.
Many were angry with me.
Many were crying and inconsolable.
I have been through some tough events in my life, including the recent death of my mother and the death of one of my children, but I was not at all prepared for the intense grief that overtook me that day.
I told my family..
“Everything aches from my stomach all the way up to my throat. I’ve never felt anything like this.”
Carrie and my daughter were also deeply saddened.
We had worked very hard to juggle our schedules to go to Vermont and thought we were doing something compassionate and decent.
Now, after receiving Nicole’s message and hearing what we believed was Jane’s request to stop the movement, I felt foolish and embarrassed.
So many had worked so hard so hard and for what?
I asked Nicole if I could “use her words” to explain to everyone why we needed to stop the movement and she said that it was okay.
Dave Weigel, at the Washington Post, had been speaking to me on the phone every couple of days and had flown into Vermont to interview me regarding our movement.
I told Nicole to go ahead and do the interview on my behalf.
Nicole told Dave Weigel that there was “no story” and that the movement was over.
This is the part where Nicole said that it was okay to use her words to let people know that our movement was over.
I thanked Nicole for speaking with Jane Sanders and told our group that the movement was over.
Our group unanimously said that they would continue on the movement with or without me.
I told them that I admired their spirit, but that I had already canceled my trip to Vermont and that we had all contacted work and school and told them that we would be in as originally planned.
It was an incredibly chaotic turn of events for our family and for our volunteers.
Nicole informed me that she was grieving too.
I thanked Nicole again for her efforts.
Nicole read my article and told me that she was not comfortable with me going public with her words.
She then told me that she went back to talk to Jane Sanders and that Jane had told her that I shouldn’t use her words.
At the time, I thought this was kind of odd, but as I was grieving, I told myself that I was just reading too much into it.
I reminded Nicole that she had given me permission to use her words.
I told Nicole that I did not feel that it was right to summarize, especially when she had given me permission to “use her words”.
Nicole told me that she visited Jane a third time.
I told Nicole that I was upset about all the misinformation coming from Stein supporters on our efforts and she agreed that it had been ugly.
I told her that the whole thing had soured me on The Green Party, but I still planned to vote for Jill.
And those was the last words that Nicole and I spoke to each other.
Jane Sanders tweeted and said that the conversations were fabricated.
The people in our movement were incredibly angry.
Nicole immediately left our volunteer group.
I told the group members that we had to give Nicole 24 hours to tell her side of the story and we would not make any public statement until that time.
We asked Nicole publicly to make a statement and she did not respond.
Then someone sent us this.
Notice the date, October 13, around the time that Nicole said that she needed to talk to the Sanders family about our movement.
And then of course, Jane Sanders graciously came out and let the world know that Nicole had been lying to our group all along.
Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jane for letting us know that our movement was accepted and for giving us permission to follow our hearts and write in Bernie Sanders on our ballots.
Sadly it appears as if Nicole infiltrated our efforts and fed us lies.
I take full responsibility for this, as I am the one who trusted her and told others to trust her.
I find it deeply troubling that people who we felt were on our same team, went to such great efforts to undermine weeks of work from people who wanted nothing more than to honor Bernie Sanders and his lifetime of fighting for our collective rights.
Has the left become so fractured that Jill Stein supporters are going to great efforts to undermine Bernie Sanders supporters?
And if so, who wins?
The establishment wins! That’s who!!
We all know what it has been like dealing with Hillary Clinton’s deceptive Super-PAC, Correct the Record and now it seems that the victims of these tactics have began using them on others who are on the same team.
And for what?
We made no effort to change the minds of Stein voters in Vermont.
We only tried to flip the Hillary voters to write-in Bernie.
Why would anyone attack such a pure and honest movement?
Apparently we are not alone.
Our friends at #OpDeny270 sent us this (you will have to click it, as every time I enlarged it, the script became too blurry to read).
They say that this is a phone-banking script that some Stein supporters were using to undermine our efforts in Vermont.
I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this script and I am not interested in pursuing some sick war with other people who share the same Progressive values as we do.
I do not think that a war between Stein supporters and Sanders supporters is advantageous to our collective cause, so I would like to take this opportunity to ask that we all take a breath and rejoin forces against the establishment.
When elephants fight, the grass suffers.
I am quick to forgive, but in light of this new information, I will be focusing exclusively on Bernie Sanders Write-in and down-ballot candidates.
I know that Jill Stein did not put anyone up to this.
I know that all candidates attract all kinds of people.
But this event has left lots of people deeply injured.
I would expect something like this from those who support Hillary Clinton.
I never expected anything like this from those who support Jill Stein.
Addendum: After our story was released last night, Nicole released a statement admitting guilt and apologizing.
I have empathy for Nicole and it was very difficult for me to go forward with this story, but our group was implicated in something that we were innocent in and the people deserved to know the truth.
We all wish Nicole all the best going forward and we are grateful for her for being an adult and owning up to her actions.
We encourage ALL people who are not happy with their ballot choices to write-in Bernie Sanders as a protest to a rigged election.
Regardless of who you vote for in the Presidential race, please vote in Progressives in all down-ballot races.