Below is a copy of a letter I sent on behalf of Nicole Reid (MI-10), detailing how the Sanders campaign purged at least one activist for her creed – her set of fundamental beliefs or guiding principles – and asking for their response. There has been no response. Removing a candidate from consideration based on their creed is as explicitly prohibited by the DNC 2020 Delegate Selection Rules as it’s possible to be.
In brief summary, both the DNC and MDP have many rules that forbid discrimination based on creed. For example, 2020 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention Rule 4.B1 defines “status” as “race, sex, age, color, creed, national origin, religion, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, economic status or disability” (emphasis added). Rule 5.B says explicitly:
“Discrimination on the basis of “status” in the conduct of Democratic Party affairs is prohibited.”
Creed is included under “status.” The delegate selection process is a critical part of “Democratic Party affairs,” and one that is explicitly governed by the 2020 Delegate Selection Rules. How much clearer could it be? There is a long list of other rules the Sanders campaign violated with this action, details in my letter below.
They struck Ms. Reid from the list of candidates because she was anti-establishment, and wasn’t “blue no matter who.” Ms. Reid won’t vote for someone she believes committed sexual assault – she believes Tara Reade. Ms. Reid won’t vote for the “lesser of two evils”. These are both pieces of her creed. The Sanders campaign says that makes her ineligible to be a delegate to the National Convention. They believe this so strongly, they broke another rule to exclude her – MDP Delegate Selection Plan Section III.A6b requires presidential candidates approve “at least” three times the number of candidates for delegate as there are delegate positions. If the district gets 1 delegate, the presidential campaign must approve at least three candidates for delegates. The campaign left a candidate spot blank, breaking DSP rule III.A6b, rather than give the people the option to vote for Ms. Reid. Democracy is supposed to be about voters choosing their representatives – not political campaigns.
How many other anti-establishment folks, or people who aren’t “blue no matter who”, has the Sanders campaign purged on the same basis? How many other candidate spots were left blank? I personally know several actively anti-establishment Democrats who applied to be Sanders delegates, but were also stricken. Sanders encouraged us to challenge the establishment, and many of us did. If his campaign is purging anti-establishment activists for being anti-establishment, that is a monumental betrayal of his base, particularly the most vocal and active section of his base.
Senator Sanders, would you please come forward and explain what’s going on?
If you believe you may have been targeted by an exclusion process like this, please get in touch by email – Liano at michiganprogressive.com. I’d like to compile a list of any people who may have been purged from the National Convention against the rules. If more people have been purged, we should be in contact with each other and discuss further action.
To: Matt Berg
Director of Ballot Access and Delegates, Bernie Sanders 2020
cc: Lavora Barnes
Chair, Michigan Democratic Party
St Clair County for Bernie, Founder and Group Leader
From: Liano Sharon
Member, Michigan Democratic Party Rules Committee
Re: Nicole Reid’s Denied Application to Serve as a Sander’s Delegate to the Convention
May 12th, 2020
At the request of Nicole Reid, I am writing regarding the denial of her application to serve as a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention. In your email on 8 May 2020 to Chair Barnes, you wrote that Ms. Reid “is ineligible to run as a district-level delegate under Rule 13.H in the 2020 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention.” Rule 13.H reads,
“For purposes of these rules, all delegates and alternates at any level of the delegate selection process must be bona fide Democrats (which shall include being registered as a Democrat in states that permit Democratic Party registration) who have the interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party of the United States at heart, who subscribe to the substance, intent and principles of the Charter and the Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States, and who will participate in the Convention in good faith.”
Ms. Reid is the founder of St. Claire County for Bernie, and a Bernie 2020 victory captain. She has been a member of the Michigan Democratic Party for four years and served on the State Central Committee from 2017 – 2019. She ran as a Democrat for State Representative in 2016. She is very active in the Michigan Democratic Party Progressive Caucus. She has been a Bernie supporter since 2016 and is gravely concerned about the way the Democratic Party has conducted the primary elections in both 2016 and 2020.
To support your claim that Ms. Reid is ineligible, you provided links to two [1, 2] of Reid’s social media posts. The first was a meme expressing the opinion that the Democratic Party rigged the primaries in 2020. Reid’s belief that the Democratic Party is currently run by corrupt actors who rig elections is a perfectly reasonable conclusion to reach given the facts in evidence. The Party, under the present leadership, argued in open court that Party leadership has no obligation to follow Party rules and that leadership could, if they chose, select the nominee in the proverbial smoke-filled back room. There have been many well-documented irregularities in the 2020 primaries, from numerous basic math errors, known but uncorrected, to exit poll discrepancies with official tallies. Additionally, it is well-documented that Party leadership encouraged Democratic voters to vote, multiple times in multiple states, in person during a pandemic against medical advice. Requiring In-person voting during a pandemic is the very definition of voter suppression – no fair and democratic process requires people to risk their lives or give up their right to vote. Voter suppression – especially on such a mass scale – is election rigging. Under these circumstances, the conclusion that the primaries have been rigged to one extent or another is not only perfectly reasonable, it is inescapable. As a Democrat in good standing, it is Reid’s duty to call out the malfeasance of Party leaders and to act within the rules of the Party to remove leaders she has reason to distrust and work to elect leaders she trusts to – at the very least – follow Party rules. The present leaders of the Democratic Party, by their public arguments, have unequivocally demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to follow Party rules.
Despite the vitriol regularly hurled at Ms. Reid and others of similar beliefs, she has chosen to stay and fight for the rule of law in the Democratic Party. That courage and determination in the face of adversity demonstrates that Ms. Reid has “the interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party of the United States at heart” and holds the “intent and principles of the Charter and the Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States” dear. Ms. Reid holds these principles dearer than current Party leaders who assert they don’t have to follow these very bylaws, nor the principles the bylaws were intended to realize. Ms. Reid’s determination and commitment to her duty as a member of the Democratic Party demonstrate conclusively that she will “participate in the Convention in good faith.”
The second social media post you linked to is Ms. Reid’s assertion that “I will not accept the lesser of two evils. I am all in for a 3rd party.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “creed” as “a set of fundamental beliefs” or “a guiding principle.” Rule 4.B1 of the Delegate Selection Rules defines “status” as “race, sex, age, color, creed, national origin, religion, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, economic status or disability” (emphasis added). Rule 5.B says explicitly:
“Discrimination on the basis of “status” in the conduct of Democratic Party affairs is prohibited.”
Creed is included under “status.” The delegate selection process is a critical part of “Democratic Party affairs.”
Additionally, Rule 4, titled “An Open Party,” is a reaffirmation of the Party’s commitment to the Six Basic Elements of Equal Rights created by the 1966 Special Equal Rights Committee of the Democratic Party. Rule 4.B2 reads:
“No test for membership in, nor any oaths of loyalty to, the Democratic Party in any state should be required or used which has the effect of requiring prospective or current members of the Democratic Party to acquiesce in, condone or support discrimination based on “status.”
Speaking truth to power, as Ms. Reid did when she called out leadership for rigging the primaries, is part of the most basic creed of democracy. If people cannot speak truth to power, we do not have rule by the people, we do not have democracy. Not accepting the lesser of two evils is also a creed, “a guiding principle,” that people should vote their conscience. From Ms. Reid’s social media posts it is clear that in her judgment, people credibly accused of sexual harassment or assault should not be elevated to positions of power since they already stand credibly accused of abusing power. Speaking truth to power and voting your conscience are two fundamental principles that Ms. Reid holds dear as key parts of her creed. Disqualifying her on the basis of her creed is expressly forbidden under Rule 5.B and 4.B2.
Moreover, it violates 4.B6.
“The Democratic Party in each state should publicize fully and in such a manner as to assure notice to all interested parties a complete description of the legal and practical qualifications of all positions as officers and representatives of the state Democratic Party. Such publication should be done in timely fashion so that all prospective candidates or applicants for any elected or appointed position within each State Democratic Party will have full and adequate opportunity to compete for office.”
Neither the Democratic National Committee, nor the Michigan Democratic Party, announced that support for the current leadership of the Democratic Party (rigged primary meme), or for Joe Biden (lesser of two evils comment), was a requirement for election as a National Delegate. Delegates to the National Convention are representatives of the state party. Your use of Rule 13.H to disqualify Ms. Reid due to her social media posts is exactly such a “practical qualification” for “representatives of the state Democratic Party.” Not an explicit or formal requirement, but a requirement in practice.
If you have applied these same criteria consistently across the country, it is also a violation of Rule 5.C.
“In order to continue the Democratic Party’s ongoing efforts to include groups historically under-represented in the Democratic Party’s affairs, by virtue of race, sex, age, color, creed, national origin, religion, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, economic status or disability, each State Party shall develop and submit Party outreach programs, including recruitment, education and training, in order to achieve full participation by such groups and diversity in the delegate selection process and at all levels of Party affairs.” (emphasis added)
You cannot credibly claim to be attempting to “achieve full participation by such groups [including groups defined by creed] and diversity in the delegate selection process and at all levels of Party affairs” when you are discriminating against Ms. Reid and groups of people with similar views across the country at this “level of Party affairs.”
There are reports from many states that the most visibly anti-establishment Sanders supporters were stricken from the lists of candidates for National Convention Delegate. Have these criteria been used across the country to strike Sanders supporters who have criticized the current leadership or aren’t supporting Joe Biden or aren’t voting “blue no matter who”? Many believe in the promises made by the rules and bylaw of the Democratic Party – among those promises, to welcome those of diverse creeds and work to achieve full participation by people and groups of their creed at all levels of Democratic Party affairs. They are seeking to be National Delegates so that they can fight for those principles, rules, and bylaws that are intended to protect their right to believe as seems best to each of them, without discrimination. If these criteria have been used to strike the names of people who dissent from the direction of the current Party leadership, they are being applied in direct violation of the rules and bylaws.
It is particularly troubling that Ms. Reid’s stance against “blue no matter who” is being used to disqualify her. I have no doubt “blue no matter who” is the majority position in the Party. Using 13.H in the way you propose is enforcing the unit rule on the National Convention. In practical effect, the whole Party has voted, and “blue no matter who” has the majority. Using 13.H to exclude anyone in the minority, anyone against “blue no matter who,” from voting at the convention is using the unit rule to completely silencing the minority. There are prohibitions against the unit rule throughout the rules and bylaws of every Democratic Party organization, so I’ll just quote the Charter and Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States – Article 2 Section 4 Paragraph c explicitly requires the delegates to the National Convention be chosen using a process that “excludes the use of the unit rule at every level.” Additionally, Paragraph b requires delegates to be selected by a process that “fairly reflects the division of preferences expressed by those who participate in the Presidential nominating process.” There are very many people, members of the party in good standing, who “participate[d] in the Presidential nominating process” and do not prefer “blue no matter who.” Under the Charter of the Democratic Party (2.4b and 2.4c), under the Delegate Selection Rules (1.B12, 18.A), and under the Rules of the Michigan Democratic Party (2.18), people expressing that preference have the right to be fully and fairly represented among delegates to the National Convention. They cannot be excluded under the principles, rules, and bylaws of the Democratic Party.
The present leadership of the Party has no right to use the machinery of the Party to shield themselves from criticism or protest. They are not the Party, they do not own the Party. The Party belongs to the members – not those they elected to serve them. Given that Bernie’s campaign has stated its goal of increasing its delegate count in order to pressure the party into adopting reforms, it is very troubling that they are denying Ms. Reid using the same types of misleading and anti-democratic arguments we have seen in the past from party leadership. There are three female delegate candidate positions in Ms. Reid’s district and only three applicants for those positions. Would the Bernie campaign really prefer that a candidate position go unfilled rather than have Ms. Reid, the local leader of St. Clair for Bernie, represent Bernie at the National Convention?
We would appreciate your immediate response, including reinstating Ms. Reid, and others who may have been stricken from the ballot for similar reasons. We are prepared to go through the necessary appeals channels at the State and National Party levels and seek full remedy, including new elections for delegates that have been denied their rights as party members.
Member, Michigan Democratic Party State Central Committee
Member, Michigan Democratic Party State Central Rules Committee
Member, Washtenaw County Democratic Party Executive Board
Co-Chair, Washtenaw County Democratic Party Rules Committee
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