NBC: Democrats ‘Divided as Ever’ With Recent Turmoil, Defiant Sanders

• May 18, 2016 8:53 am


The Democratic Party is steeped in turmoil and as divided as ever amid Nevada’s chaotic Democratic state convention and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I., Vt.) confrontational rhetoric toward the party, NBC reports.

NBC’s Kristen Welker described Wednesday on the Today Show how "the Democrats are as divided as ever this morning" after Sanders won the Oregon presidential primary by a comfortable margin while his opponent, Hillary Clinton, eked out a victory in Kentucky.

Clinton is still expected to be the Democratic nominee and maintains a virtually insurmountable lead in delegates over Sanders, but the Vermont Senator promised Tuesday night that he is not leaving the race, preventing Clinton from turning her full attention to Donald Trump.

"We are in until the last ballot is cast," Sanders told a crowd of enthusiastic supporters in California.

Welker said some Democrats are "expressing concern" about Clinton’s ability to unify the party after chaos broke out in Las Vegas at the Nevada Democratic state convention on Saturday.

Sanders supporters lashed out at Democratic Party leadership at the convention, arguing the convention and primary rules are rigged against their candidate.

Many of them shouted "Bernie or bust" as they threw chairs, shouted curses, made obscene gestures, and even issued death threats to Nevada Democratic Party chairwoman Roberta Lange and her family, including her grandson.

Welker played one voicemail that a Sanders supporter left for Lange saying, "I just wanted to let you know that I think people like you should be hung in a public execution."

In a statement, Sanders said he "condemns any and all forms of violence" but also defiantly lambasted the party for being "dependent on big-money campaign contributions" and "a party with limited participation and limited energy."

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) ripped Sanders’ response to the chaos in Nevada as "anything but acceptable," echoing the sentiments of much of the party leadership, many of whom are becoming more concerned that Sanders supporters could throw the Democratic convention this July into scenes similar to what happened in Nevada.

Sanders drew a loud response from supporters Tuesday when he blasted the entire Democratic Party process, saying, "I say to the leadership of the Democratic Party, open the doors; let the people in!"

Some commentators have argued throughout the election process that party leadership is rigging the primary in favor of Clinton, a belief that Sanders shares and has triggered anger from his campaign.

Welker added at the end of her report that financial disclosures released Tuesday show that Clinton made more than $1.4 million from paid speeches and over $5 million off book royalties in 2015, which is likely to contribute to Sanders’ narrative that Clinton and the Democratic leadership are tied to big money interests.