Apr 27, 2020
Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders were enraged on Monday after New York's Board of Elections voted to remove the Vermont lawmaker's name from the state's presidential primary ballot in the election scheduled for June--a move described by campaign advisor Jeff Weaver as "a blow to American democracy" that the Democratic National Committee should reverse.
"No one asked New York to cancel the election," Weaver said in a statement. "The DNC didn't request it. The Biden campaign didn't request it. And our campaign communicated that we wanted to remain on the ballot."
Weaver added that the move was part of a pattern on the part of New York to strip voting rights from its citizens and should be treated as such.
"New York has clearly violated its approved delegate selection plan," said Weaver. "If this is not remedied, New York should lose all its delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Convention and there should be a broader review by the Democratic Party of New York's checkered pattern of voter disenfranchisement."
As Common Dreamsreported, Monday's decision to remove Sanders from the ballot was framed by board co-chair Douglas Kellner and commissioner Andrew Spano--the two Democratic officials on the board in charge of making the call--as a public health concern.
"What the Sanders supporters want is essentially a beauty contest that given the situation with the public health emergency that exists now seems to be unnecessary and indeed frivolous," Kellner said Monday during the board's meeting.
Progressives were quick to point out that the move is guaranteed to harm the prospects of insurgent Democratic candidates challenging established, more conservative incumbents.
"Strong suspicion that the cancellation of the Dem primary, while it has the side effect of harming this bid to get Bernie delegates to the convention, is really about protecting threatened Dem incumbents challenged from the left by giving voters less reason to turn out," tweeted journalist David Dayen.
Lindsey Boylan, who is running to replace Rep. Jerry Nadler in New York's 10th District, said the concerns over the disease appeared to her to be incredibly selective.
"None of this makes sense," Boylan tweeted.
\u201cI don\u2019t get it. Virus concerns for people who would vote for Biden and Bernie but not virus concerns for everyone else who will be voting that day? None of this makes sense.\u201d— Lindsey Boylan (@Lindsey Boylan) 1588009852
Supporters of Sanders in New York, with the opportunity of voting for Sanders and adding to his delegate count and influence over the party platform taken away, were incensed.
Jewish Currents editor David Klion said the decision was part of a pattern of behavior from the party's establishment toward its left flank.
"Letting Bernie supporters mail in our ballots would be a cost-free way to make some of us feel the tiniest bit more at peace with the way things have worked out," Klion tweeted, "so of course Democrats instead have instead engineered a colossal wave of ill will toward the party and its nominee."
Brooklyn-based activist Linda Sarsour, meanwhile, was enraged.
"I am livid." said Sarsour. "Democracy is dead but my spirits won't be."
\u201cNew York Board of Elections is disenfranchising millions of voters by canceling the June 23rd Primary. We deserve the right to cast our vote. \n\nI am livid. Democracy is dead but my spirits won\u2019t be. https://t.co/cDQfPLAIsz\u201d— Linda Sarsour (@Linda Sarsour) 1588012589
The bad will generated by the move, said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a prominent surrogate for Sanders during his now-suspended run for the White House, will ultimately backfire. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that Democratic Party leadership need to understand that in order to reach the progressive wing of the party, "unity isn't a feeling, it's a process."
"Undemocratic, unilateral decisions that disenfranchise millions of progressive voters and volunteers is extremely destructive to the process of unifying the party for November," she continued. "Dems must take this seriously. This is the wrong call."
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