Insider elected chair of the California Democratic Party, Sanders wing sings protest song

Though not a Bernie Sanders supporter, I thought his candidacy was important and that he represented and continues to represent an essential perspective in American politics.

Lost among many who don’t follow politics obsessively is the importance of elections for the leadership of the party apparatus at the state and national levels. The DNC Chair gets some attention, to be sure, but state party machinery not so much.

As The Hill reports today, “California Democrats on Saturday elected a longtime party activist to become their new chairman, after a contentious day of voting in which a second candidate backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) official political group refused to concede defeat.”

Eric Baumann, the insider, defeated Kimberley Ellis, a party activist and supposed outsider backed by Sanders, by a mere 60 votes out of 3,300 eligible delegates.

Unfortunately, as of Saturday night Ellis had not conceded, saying she “had been in touch with a lawyer.”

Bauman had the support of the vast majority of the Democratic members of the state legislature, most politically active unions and local party organizations. Ellis was backed by Our Revolution, the outgrowth of Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, and a California nurses union that backed Sanders.

It has been noted that there “were few differences between the two candidates, both of whom adopted much of Sanders’s 2016 platform,” aside from the constituencies the contenders appear to represent.

A story covering the convention in the Los Angeles Times added this:

Earlier in the night, Ellis supporters had gathered in a meeting hall of the convention center as rumors of victory circulated, drawing cheers and hugs and victorious speeches. As it became clear that Ellis had not won, a woman led the crowd in singing, “We shall not be moved.”

Observers have noted that though the results were close, a recount is unlikely to change the outcome. If there are charges of malfeasance, which I have not heard, they should be investigated. If Ellis and her supporters think they should have been victorious because they wanted to win, well, no.

I place a great deal of the unhelpful animosity at the convention with Sen. Sanders who refuses to join the party and who therefore encourages a sense of insurrection among his supporters. If they fail to secure the postions they seek within the party they are too quick to say “screw you and your rules. We are the future.” And they may be, but they have to get the votes first.

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