With Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters protesting outside, the 2016 Democratic National Convention illuminated the divide within the Democratic Party. The recently released book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes reveals that Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver struck a deal with the Clinton campaign to keep Sanders delegates away from television cameras in order to hide the divisions in the party from audiences across the country.
By not providing context for Sanders’ supporters’ anger, Allen and Parnes advance the denigrating portrayal of his base as unruly. In truth, his supporters had every right to be angry. Apart from the DNC and Democratic Party overtly favoring Hillary Clinton, top Democratic officials spread highly divisive narratives in order to suppress Sanders’ candidacy. Their tactics included calling Sanders supporters “Bernie Bros,” whitewashing his campaign, and using the Nevada Democratic Party Convention to reprimand Sanders supporters. Democrats in office who endorsed Clinton like Sen. Chris Murphy and Gov. Dannel Malloy attacked Sanders in tandem with the Clinton campaign and tried to tie him to the Sandy Hook shooting in a New York Daily News front page story leading up to the pivotal New York Democratic primary. The Democratic Party did everything in their power to destroy Sanders’ candidacy and ensure Clinton was their nominee. This continued up through the Democratic National Convention.
“When Bernie delivered a speech to his delegates in a ballroom at the nearby Philadelphia Convention Center, they booed lustily when he spoke of his rival. Mook lost his temper. He picked up his phone and dialed Weaver. ‘What the fuck are you doing?'” wrote Allen and Parnes in Shattered. Mook and Weaver were both afraid the convention would turn into a Clinton protest, so they had a contingency plan. “About a week before the convention, they had put together a joint command operation behind the arena’s main stage. The boiler room, a big open space filled with long tables, folding chairs, and telephones, functioned as a nerve center from which the two camps could exert control over their delegates during the four-day program.” The room, which was filled with Clinton and Sanders aides, had a text communication list to alert all staff of potential problems during the convention. A leaked email revealed that the Clinton campaign completed a “unity check” on Sanders delegates to research the likelihood of them supporting Clinton. “No more war” chants from Sanders delegates were met with an orchestrated response of “USA” chants from Clinton delegates. Sanders signs were taken from Sanders delegates and their lights were shut off if they spoke out. The Clinton campaign forbade Sanders surrogate Nina Turner from introducing Sanders at the convention.
“The flash-speed communications network would turn out to be a major factor in transforming what was a tumultuous convention inside the hall into a unified one on television. That is, it looked a lot different to folks watching at home than it did to participants inside an arena with plenty of anti-Clinton Bernie delegates,” wrote Allen and Parnes.
The authors then went on to blame Sanders and his supporters for dividing the party, lending no responsibility to the Democratic Party for creating the rifts by failing to run a fair primary race. Up until the point she resigned in disgrace, then-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz engaged in passive aggressive rhetoric toward Sanders supporters. Allen formerly worked for a PAC run by Wasserman Schultz, and while the book doesn’t portray the Clinton campaign in a positive light, it maintains the notion that Clinton could have and should have the general election.