California Democrats closed out their state convention this weekend by giving Donald Trump the finger, but now their own constituents claim that they got the bird flipped at them by the Powers That Be. The convention elected an establishment party operative as its new chair in a close election over a candidate favored by Bernie Sanders activists. The backers of Kimberly Ellis say they will launch an audit of the election that may include taking depositions from every one of the 3,000 delegates at the convention to support a charge of massive electoral and voter fraud by the California Democratic Party.
And guess what they claim as the main issue for that voter fraud? Hmmmmm:
Longtime party operative Eric Bauman won the chairmanship of the California Democratic Party over the weekend — but his victory was marred by complaints of ballot-stuffing and floor protests. Backers of the Kimberly Ellis, a favorite of the “Berniecrat,” activist wing of the party — say efforts to scrutinize the votes will begin immediately.
The unprecedented effort to examine the documentation of the disputed state party’s election results was announced by outgoing California Democratic Party chair John Burton at the close of a raucous state Democratic convention this weekend.
Ellis, the former director of Emerge America, a women’s political organization, lost the election by a narrow margin of 62 votes out of 3,000 cast. Her loss immediately set off protests from hundreds of her backers, many of whom charged that there were irregularities that included allowing voters to cast proxy ballots without proper ID.
Why not just do a recount? Apparently, the party rules don’t provide for a recount, although that’s not to say Ellis backers didn’t demand one. And what was the response? They did literally get the bird:
Those feelings erupted Sunday in a chaotic scene on the floor at the Sacramento Convention Center, the final day of the three-day party convention, as Bauman was introduced as the new chairman. Ellis’ supporters, waving signs that read “Validate the votes!” and “Resist corporate Democrats,” demanded a recount.
But outgoing party chairman and longtime San Francisco politician John Burton told the delegates the party’s bylaws don’t provide for a recount. He explained that the rival camps agreed the ballots, which are signed by each voter, would be counted and inspected soon and that Ellis had not asked for a recount or to “delay the proceedings.”
As Ellis supporters continued to press him by citing parliamentary procedures, the famously profane Burton grew frustrated, extending a middle finger to the audience.
That may turn out to be a mistake. Rather than deal with the process within the context of the convention, Ellis backers now want to turn the dispute into a court proceeding, or something very close to it. They claim they have the funds to pursue a legal case, including depositions from every delegate, which would amount to a recount anyway.
In the future, the California Democratic Party might want to add a recount procedure for these predictable exigencies. At the same time, they can take a little advice from California Republican Party chair Jim Brulte, who sees the complains about the lack of voter ID for Democrats’ elections as “complete hypocrisy”:
“Democrats think voter identification laws are important for their party elections, but don’t think they are good enough for the California voters,” Brulte said in a statement. “It should be clear to the people of California that the Democrats are willing to put the elections of our state officials at risk while protecting their own Party elections.”
Well, yeah, especially given the nature of a convention. The attendees are already screened for entry, largely by ID, and the delegates chosen and identified by their constituents in their districts. If grassroots Democrats believe that another layer of voter-ID is necessary at a state convention to secure the vote — and it might well be — what does that say about elections among the populace as a whole, who aren’t screened and identified before showing up to cast a vote? Perhaps that’s why voter-ID laws draw broad support from Americans across the political spectrum in poll after poll.
This protest probably won’t last too long, as the stakes in California are rather small. What’s the difference between a California “establishment” Democrat these days and a Sanders socialist, other than just how quickly the government should seize all means of production?