More on the Selection of Bernie’s Democratic Delegates


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The 2016 Democratic National convention. The 2020 one had better not look like this.

Two stories today on the Democratic National Convention Delegate Selection Process:

  1. The rules — the period during this you can request a ballot is already one-third over!
  2. The Sanders campaign’s “Rules for Delegates” controversy.

[Note regarding statement of interest: I am a candidate for the position of pledged California delegate for Bernie Sanders from Congressional District 39.  I filed just in case no one I liked turned out to file.  Instead, two people whom I like, Faisal Qazi and Kenneth Warfield, also filed for the position, so I’m not sure how much I care about it.  And, as you’ll see, there are at least two other reasons, besides the good quality of my competition, that I might not want to serve.  So I think that this will be dispassionate.  Read on!]

THE VOTING RULES

(This email is from the California Democratic Party:)

Dear California Democrats,

Due to the extension of “stay at home” orders across the state, the upcoming Congressional District Caucuses to elect delegates to the Democratic National Convention will take place virtually and delegates will be selected through an online process managed by the Presidential campaigns.

To participate in the virtual caucuses, you must request your online ballot HERE<== CLICK THERE TO REQUEST A BALLOT!

Online ballot requests will be accepted through May 28th @ 5PM. Please note, you must be a registered Democrat and you must be registered in the congressional district for which you’ve requested a ballot. To check and see which Congressional District you live in, please visit: 

https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.

Only registered Democrats will receive an online ballot.

The process timeline is as follows:

  • May 19 – May 28 at 5:00 PM, Ballot request period
  • June 5, Ballots emailed to you from the Presidential campaigns (Biden, Bloomberg, Sanders & Warren)
  • June 5 – June 7 at 5:00 PM, Ballot return period
  • June 7 at 5:00 PM, Deadline to complete online ballots
  • June 9, Results tabulated and finalized by campaigns

Please email Delegate2020@cadem.org if you have any questions.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely,
The CADEM Team

Because the CDP takes no responsibility for getting out this message, it falls on the local party, clubs, candidates, media and other interested groups and individuals to do so.  So you may want to share this on Facebook, Twit-Tok, Tikker, Candygram, Instapot, Evanesce, Wrrrt-wrrrt-wrrrt, Farquhar, or whatever else you use.

Again, this is for Democrats only, and your deadline to request a ballot is Thursday, May 28, at 5:00 pm.  You will vote only in your district of residence, and only for delegates for your preferred candidate.


THE BERNIE CONTRACTS

I would likely consider this confidential, except that it’s already been leaked to and printed in the Washington Post.  It’s causing a ruckus among prospective Bernie delegates to the Democratic National Convention, some of whom say to sign it and ignore it.  That’s not my approach.  Here are the documents; some comments will follow.  I’ve done some slight reformatting for legibility in this format, without changing any substance.  Any mistakes in translating from PDF are mine.

I’ll add that I’ve heard that the Colorado delegation has already identified the big problems they have with this document and has been in productive talks with the Bernie campaign.  I’m speaking out here and now because the information has been leaked and is currently affecting people — both prospective delegates and not.


Congratulations on being selected as a Bernie 2020 Delegate! Your role as delegate comes with a series of responsibilities and requirements. Please carefully review and sign the Social Media Policy, Delegate Code of Conduct, and Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Social Media Policy – Bernie 2020 Delegates

At Bernie 2020, we understand that social media can be a fun and rewarding way to share your life and opinions with family, friends and co-workers around the world. However, social media accounts maintained by Bernie 2020 Delegates also reflect upon the reputation of the Campaign.

If you use social media – publicly or privately – read the following rules carefully. You are expected to follow these guidelines. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to your removal from the delegation.

Before tweeting or posting from your personal social media accounts, ask yourself these questions: If this appeared on the front page of The New York Times, would it compromise Bernie Sanders’s message, credibility, or reputation? Could it potentially risk your standing as a delegate? When re-tweeting or sharing information from others, are you applying necessary skepticism?

Social media postings have the potential to generate media coverage. If a member of the media contacts you about a posting of any kind: do not respond. Forward the contact to press@berniesanders.com.

Please review the following rules. Then sign at the bottom to indicate that you understand these rules and you commit to adhering to them.

  1. Assume everything you post is ‘on the record’ and will be attributed to the Candidate and the Campaign.
  2. Delegates for the Campaign are encouraged to share Campaign-approved content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other major social platforms.
  3. Do your best to avoid online arguments or confrontations. If engaging in an adversarial conversation, be respectful when addressing opposing viewpoints or commenting on the opposition.
  4. Refrain from making negative statements about other candidates, party leaders, Campaigns, Campaign staffers, supporters, news organizations or journalists. This Campaign is about the issues and finding solutions to America’s problems. Our job is to differentiate the senator from his opponents on the issues—not through personal attacks.
  5. Delegates should not post text or photos relating to Campaign events and activities unless it is text or photos of the public-facing side of an open press event (i.e., no posts from backstage, nothing which reveals process, nothing from closed press events). If you are unsure, do NOT post without permission.
  6. Delegates for the Campaign should not use social media to promote upcoming events until the details have been publicly disclosed. If you are not sure if the event information is already public, please ask before posting.
  7. Do not disclose confidential or proprietary information obtained through your participation as a delegate. It is your responsibility to preserve confidential information and avoid inadvertent disclosure of such information. Assume everything is confidential unless explicitly told otherwise.
  8. Respect all copyright, fair use, and financial disclosure laws.
  9. If you believe you have made a substantive mistake, alert staff on the Delegates Team to determine a course of action. Deleting something does not make it go away. Do not take action before consulting with the Delegates Team.
  10. All Delegates for the Campaign are required to follow these practices. I have read and understand the above social media policy for Bernie 2020 Delegates, and I agree to adhere to these rules.

 ________________________________________________ _________________________________ Print Name State ________________________________________________ _________________________________ Signature Date

Delegate Code of Conduct – Bernie 2020 Delegates

By signing this form, you certify that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions of the Bernie 2020 Delegate Code of Conduct, laid out below. Failure to comply with these expectations may result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to your removal from the delegation.

❏ I will read all texts and emails from the Delegates Team promptly, and I will follow any instructions by the stated deadline.

❏ I will not engage with the media unless I have explicit authorization from Bernie 2020 Communications HQ. If approached by the media, I will direct them to press@berniesanders.com.

❏ I will follow all instructions from the Campaign, including any strategic changes. I will stay focused on the mission and uphold the values of the Campaign.

❏ I will engage with other delegates, superdelegates, party leadership, and elected officials with respect and a spirit of cooperativeness, even if I disagree with them. I will remain professional even in the face of criticism. I will listen, and not force my opinions on someone if they are not interested in engaging.

❏ I will start from the belief that everyone deserves dignity and respect.

❏ I will have empathy for my colleagues and fellow delegates and assume that everyone is doing their best.

❏ I will practice good self-care: take time for any activity that cares for my mental, emotional, and physical health.

❏ I will not disparage, judge, or discriminate based on any protected class: race, sex, age, physical and mental disabilities, veteran status, national origin, citizenship, [religion], color, or any other status protected by law.

❏ I will speak up if I witness harassment. I will not retaliate against anyone when they exercise their rights.

❏ I acknowledge my own biases and how they might influence me. Biases can influence our decisions, thoughts, and behaviors without us even noticing, until we make a conscious effort to do so.

❏ I will act with integrity: be a person of your word and do what you say you’ll do.

❏ I will foster an open work environment where everyone feels comfortable raising questions and concerns.

❏ I will seek help resolving issues, rather than working in a silo.

❏ I will conduct myself as if I was working in the White House for the American people.

❏ I understand that I am accountable for knowing the policies and procedures. These policies are here to protect us and keep us compliant. Following the policies = following the law. ________________________________________________ _________________________________ Signature Date

Non-Disclosure Agreement- Bernie 2020 Delegates

The Bernie 2020 Campaign is a grassroots campaign to transform America and create an economy and a government which works for all people. In that effort, we place enormous trust and agency in thousands of supporters and volunteers, who, in the course of supporting our campaign, are often asked to handle sensitive information. In order to protect the privacy of both the campaign and its supporters, we ask that everyone who may handle sensitive information agree to the following non-disclosure agreement. By signing this form, you certify that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions of the Bernie 2020 Delegate Non-Disclosure Agreement, laid out below.

BERNIE 2020 DELEGATE NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT

I,”Delegate”, agree to the following:

(a) Delegate agrees that they will not, directly or indirectly, at any time during the term of their work with Bernie 2020, Inc. (the “Campaign”) or thereafter, and without regard to when or for what reason their term with the Campaign shall terminate, divulge, furnish, make accessible, or permit the disclosure to anyone (other than the Campaign or other persons employed or designated by the Campaign) any knowledge or information of any type whatsoever acquired by Delegate in the course of their participation, including (but not limited to) knowledge or information relating to the business or activities of the Campaign, including business and activities relating to the services rendered by Delegate, whether disclosed orally or visually to Delegate and whether stored on any tangible medium or memorialized by Delegate (“Confidential Information”).

(b) The term Confidential Information includes all originals, recorded and unrecorded copies of such Confidential Information, as well as information derived there from and portions thereof. Such Confidential Information also includes, but is not limited to, all written or audio materials obtained, generated, produced or otherwise acquired during the course of their participation, including (but not limited to) any notes, charts, lists, computer files, electronic mail messages, phone logs or other memoranda, whether handwritten, typed, or otherwise created. Confidential Information also includes, but is not limited to, the Campaign’s budget, finances, fundraising results, contributors, lists, salaries, program plans, details about projects under consideration or development, and any other information the release of which might prove harmful to the organization. Information shall be Confidential Information even if no legal protection has been obtained or sought for such information under applicable laws and whether or not Delegate has been notified that such information is Confidential Information.

(c) Delegate shall not be liable for disclosure of Confidential Information if such disclosure is pursuant to judicial or other legal or administration actions or other lawfully compelled disclosure, provided that Delegate notifies the Campaign in writing, by registered mail, of the need for such disclosure within five (5) days after such need becomes known and gives the Campaign a reasonable opportunity to contest such disclosure.

(d) Delegate understands and agrees that all lists, reports, data, information and other works produced by Delegate within the scope of their participation, and any copies thereof created while performing services in the course of their participation, shall be the sole property of the Campaign and that Delegate shall have no title or rights therein.

(e) Upon termination of their participation with the Campaign for whatever reason Delegate shall return all Confidential Information (as defined above) to the Campaign, regardless of the form in which it appears or is stored (including information stored on tapes, computer discs, compact discs or other media).

(f) The obligations set forth in this Confidentiality Agreement shall survive the termination of Delegate’s participation with the Campaign indefinitely.

(g) This Confidentiality Agreement shall not be changed, modified, released, discharged, waived, abandoned or terminated, in whole or in part, except in writing signed by both Delegate and an officer of the Campaign.

(h) If any part of this Confidentiality Agreement shall be determined by a court of law to be invalid, the remainder of this Confidentiality Agreement shall be valid and remain in full force and effect.

(i) Delegate may not author or create a book, article, academic study, video, movie, or other content based in any part on Delegate’s participation with the Campaign without written approval from the Campaign Manager and Campaign Counsel. If Delegate is creating such content while participating with the Campaign or using Campaign work products, a publication agreement must be negotiated and agreed to in writing by Campaign Counsel. Such publication agreement shall fairly represent the interests of the organization with regard to advance payments, royalties, credits and content.

Acknowledgement and Acceptance:

 ________________________________________________ _________________________________ Signature Date

 


My Comments on the Contracts

I’m not as hostile to these documents as some are, but parts of them are troubling for everyone and other parts are troubling particularly for us political bloggers.

Let’s start with the Realpolitik of the presentation of these documents: for the most part, it’s not being done for the benefit of Bernie’s campaign, but for the benefit of the DNC and the Biden campaign. Why is Bernie going along with it?  I see three possibilities:

  1. This may be what Bernie has been told that he has to do to keep his delegates from being taken away, which the DNC could do if it is batshit crazy and wants to drive away leftists — in which event it’s rotten. 
  2. It also could be something that Bernie is doing because he wants to have more influence on the policy process and the campaign — and this is the price for that access.  That would be unfortunate, but commonplace.
  3. It may simply be that, recognizing that he lost the nomination contest, Bernie believes that the best way to defeat Trump — which he has said is his top priority — is for his delegates not to engage in the sort of protest and criticism that this document seeks to prevent.  In that case, it’s Bernie’s call and being made for a good reason.

I’ll take the documents in the reverse order: in other words from least objectionable to most so.

NON-DISCLOSURE [CONFIDENTIALITY] AGREEMENT

This is a pretty basic “trade secrets” document that is common in campaigns (and in commercial companies.)  I’ll go paragraph by paragraph:

  1. Delegates cannot disclosure information about the campaign’s business activities.  In other words, “no leaks.”  That’s fair to ask.  People may do it anyway, but they should promise not to do so.
  2. This includes all sorts of documents as specified in paragraph (b).  Ok.
  3. Establishes an exception for legal procedures if the campaign is notified within five days after the need arises so that it can challenge the release of such information. Reasonable.
  4. Copies of information, including material produced by the delegate, are the property of the campaign, not the delegate.  Standard — for employees.  Unusual for non-employees, but I doubt we’re going to create such material anyway.
  5. The confidential information must be returned to the campaign when the person leaves.  Standard.
  6. The requirements not to leak information survive the departure of the delegate from the campaign.  Understandable.  But note that this provision does NOT apply to the other two documents.
  7. The document cannot be modified except in writing with signature of an officer of the campaign.
  8. Integration clause: if one part is struck down, the rest remain.  Ok.
  9. Campaign can veto (and demand share of profit from) any works created based on delegate’s participation in the campaign.  Hard-nosed, hard to enforce, and likely to backfire.  This article, for example, comes from the Washington Post article, not confidential work for the campaign.  Luckily, I don’t get compensated from writing here anyway.

CODE OF CONDUCT AGREEMENT

  1. Failure to comply with expectations may result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to your removal from the delegation.  Well, ok.  I don’t know what to make of that “not limited to …” language.
  2. Read all texts and emails from the Delegates Team promptly and following any instructions by the stated deadline.  Reading communications promptly: fine.  Following “any instructions”?  For me, that would depend on the instructions.
  3. I will not engage with the media unless I have explicit authorization from Bernie 2020 Communications HQ. If approached by the media, I will direct them to press@berniesanders.com Directing reporters to the press office?  I don’t like it, and it neuters what’s interesting about the campaign, but they can do it.  Not engaging with the media is difficult when one is within the media, but I will seek permission here.
  4. Following all instructions of the campaign, including strategic changes.  Staying focused on mission and upholding the campaign’s values.  Again, I don’t sign blank checks.  I don’t know what our mission is yet, nor (after this)am I clear on “the campaign’s values.”  This language is appropriate for an employee of the campaign — or of a military soldier.  But it’s hard to countenance for someone who is representing the voters in their district with the expectation of using their own mind.
  5. Engage with other delegates, superdelegates, party leadership, and elected officials with respect and a spirit of cooperativeness, even if I disagree with them. I will remain professional even in the face of criticism. I will listen, and not force my opinions on someone if they are not interested in engaging.  I’m not sure what “force my opinion” means; I have no way to do so.  Nor do I know what the authors consider “professional”; as an advocate, “professional” does not mean rolling over.  In my experience, some things that other delegates, superdelegates, party leadership, and elected officials do are not “respectable”: while I’m not going to yell in their faces or start booing (the latter of which some people did in 2016), I could imagine refusing to stand for them, walking out, etc., in the face of a serious provocation.  (But of course this doesn’t matter much if we have a virtual convention.)
  6. I will start from the belief that everyone deserves dignity and respect.  Sure, which goes for Bernie delegates, and those who voted for them, too.
  7. Have empathy for my colleagues and fellow delegates and assume that everyone is doing their best.  I’ve been in politics for 45 years; I know that not everyone is doing their best.  I might presume it, but that would be a rebuttable presumption.  What they seem to want is not being abusive, and I’m fine with that.
  8. Engage in self-care.  Who wrote this?  Yo — adult here!
  9. Don’t disparage, judge, or criticize anyone based on social statuses.  I cannot imagine them actually trying to enforce this.
  10. Speak up if witnessing harassment; don’t retaliate against anyone exercising their rights.  I’m not sure what they mean, but I’m sure it needs rewriting.  “Their rights” like screaming at Sanders delegates?  “Retaliate” by telling them to shut up?
  11. Acknowledge our own biases.  OK!
  12. Act with integrity; follow through on commitments.  Ok.
  13. Foster an open work environment where everyone feels comfortable raising questions and concerns.  I’d like to know what exactly they are trying to prevent here.
  14. Seek help resolving issues, rather than working in a silo.  Is there some horrifying self-help book about silos that I haven’t read?
  15. Conduct self as if working in the White House for the American people.  My responses to this are too funny to print.  Yeah — meaning WHAT?
  16. Knowing the policies and procedures, which are here to protect us and keep us compliant. Following the policies = following the law.  This suggests, more than anything, that this is intended for those accepting a job in the campaign.  I’m not accepting a job in the campaign.  I’m representing people in my district who voted for Bernie, whom I hope that the Biden campaign will decide to lure to vote for Biden — which means acting, in part, as one of their tribunes.  That is “in accord with the lawI”

SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

We understand that social media can be a fun and rewarding way to share your life and opinions with family, friends and co-workers around the world.  Great!

However, social media accounts maintained by Bernie 2020 Delegates also reflect upon the reputation of the Campaign.  I’ve written enough already that they could already post all sorts of things about my views.  What you need to do is to (1) have me issue a disclaimer with anything pertinent that I write that I don’t speak for the campaign, and then (2) disavow me!  If I become a delegate, with opinions like I think that Biden’s choosing Amy Klobuchar for VP would fail to activate Bernie voters, youth, and people of color to the extent we need, I am sending that message (through channels to Biden.  If Bernie has a different opinion, he can vent it and get 100x whatever coverage my measly Facebook comment might get.  That should — and will have to — suffice.  All the more so for a political blogger!

If you use social media – publicly or privately – read the following rules carefully. You are expected to follow these guidelines. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to your removal from the delegation.  Perhaps you should have mentioned this before I signed up to run.

Before tweeting or posting from your personal social media accounts, ask yourself these questions: If this appeared on the front page of The New York Times, would it compromise Bernie Sanders’s message, credibility, or reputation? Could it potentially risk your standing as a delegate? When re-tweeting or sharing information from others, are you applying necessary skepticism? OK: I don’t think it will compromise Bernie’s message, credibility, or reputation if it’s clear that I do not speak for him, but for people in my district who voted for him.  I and other delegates are giving Biden a taste of what voters he needs really think and feel, not a false and likely fatal sense of security.  It’s fair to ask for civility — I do want Biden to win if he’s the only viable alternative to Trump — but not to squash candor.

Could it risk my standing as a delegate?  That’s really up to the campaign.  I don’t think it should, and I hope not, but I’ve learned not to rule things out.  As for applying necessary skepticism — by my standards yes.  By your standards, how would I know?  You want to ask me about Tara Reade?  Then ask!  I’ll have more credibility with readers if I answer honestly not because censored.

If a member of the media contacts you about a posting of any kind: do not respond. Forward the contact to press@berniesanders.comOkie-dokie.

Refrain from making negative statements about other candidates, party leaders, Campaigns, Campaign staffers, supporters, news organizations or journalists. This Campaign is about the issues and finding solutions to America’s problems. Our job is to differentiate the senator from his opponents on the issues—not through personal attacks.  OK, am I right to think that this form is out of date?  That is was meant for the primary campaign rather than the convention?

Look: I WANT Biden to win, lacking any other option to beat Trump, and I want him to do so by not kicking the Left on the grounds that they have nowhere else to go.  THEY WON’T TURN OUT IF TREATED LIKE GARBAGE!  I hope that I don’t NEED to say that much, and that Biden and his people get it, but through the end of the convention I expect that it might need saying.  This does not seem to me to be dissonant with Bernie’s campaign themes!

Delegates should not post text or photos relating to Campaign events and activities unless it is text or photos of the public-facing side of an open press event (i.e., no posts from backstage, nothing which reveals process, nothing from closed press events). If you are unsure, do NOT post without permission.  Don’t let me backstage.  Will there even BE a backstage?

Delegates for the Campaign should not use social media to promote upcoming events until the details have been publicly disclosed. If you are not sure if the event information is already public, please ask before posting.  OK, but is this really a thing?

Do not disclose confidential or proprietary information obtained through your participation as a delegate. It is your responsibility to preserve confidential information and avoid inadvertent disclosure of such information. Assume everything is confidential unless explicitly told otherwise.  Yes, I read the Confidentiality Agreement.

Respect all copyright, fair use, and financial disclosure laws.  Uhh, ok….  Any other laws I should respect?

If you believe you have made a substantive mistake, alert staff on the Delegates Team to determine a course of action. Deleting something does not make it go away. Do not take action before consulting with the Delegates Team.  I’m confused, but OK.  

All Delegates for the Campaign are required to follow these practices. I have read and understand the above social media policy for Bernie 2020 Delegates, and I agree to adhere to these rules.  We need to talk about “sheepdogging.”

“Sheepdogging” is a term used among the left for the concern that Bernie will turn his movement into something that is simply devoted to steering people to vote for Biden regardless of their concerns, and to not even express their concerns because that helps trump.  If you want a sheepdog, it shouldn’t be me.  I have some credibility that comes from speaking my mind honestly, without expectation or fear of reward.  If I think that Biden is accommodating the concerns of Bernie voters, I will say so, with reasoned argument behind it, and it will mean more than 100 sheepdogs.

Much of what is in these contracts is asking me to be a sheepdog — in essence, a hireling working out of ambition or expectation of personal gain.  You should not want me to be thought to be that — and to gain that benefit you should not want me to BE that.  So don’t ask me for it.

I’m ask for accommodations for what I believe to be our mutual interests.  If I don’t receive them, I will not sign an unmodified set of contracts.  I don’t know what procedures you have for going against the voters in my district, if I should win, but as people will soon be voting we may fact that possibility.  I look forward to being Bernie’s ally, as I have been for years, but under conditions that do not sacrifice my integrity.

Note that I am not currently bound by anything in these agreements.  Good luck — seriously — with the tasks you have ahead leading up to whatever sort of convention we will end up having.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)