This note below was sent by a field worker for the Edwards campaign in Nevada. It was sent to close friends (not to me) and seems like an honest take by this individual — rather than something affected by spin other than a slight bias perhaps that one must expect towards his own candidate.
We are used to hearing complaints by now from Obama’s camp about Hillary Clinton’s campaign tactics and Hillary’s camp about Barack Obama’s — but this is someone noting mischief from both the Clinton and Obama operations:
I’m still recovering from one of the most brutal weeks of my life. . .
The caucus system was an abomination of mismanagement by the Nevada Democratic Party, amid statewide cheating by the leading two candidates.
It turns out that since this wasn’t a ‘federal election’ but a state run caucus, the usual voter registration requirements evidently don’t apply. So you could bus in loads of college kids from Iowa or New Hampshire in the last two weeks, who were not required to show ID, and who caucused like Nevadans.
Also lots of members of the Culinary Union in Vegas aren’t American citizens, but it seems that many people thought they were entitled to participate anyway. So we got screwed.
Nobody knows how widespread this was, but anecdotally it was huge. Busing in out-of-staters may even not have been illegal. Both Clinton and Obama had people actively interfering with the orderly process all over the state — shouting down and intimidating appointed caucus chairs — many of whom were pressured into an unwelcome job with insufficient training and no backup.
I heard of tugs of war where people physically attempted to seize papers from the appointed caucus chairs, they improperly demonstrated en masse where only one person with a sign was allowed, and of precincts where the numbers were called in, but the packets of ballot records were never turned in, etc.
That’s how we went from polling around 30% to pulling just 4% of the delegates. In precinct after precinct they had enough outsiders show up to keep us from being viable and obtaining any delegates. If we needed 12, we only had 11, and got nothing on final count. That’s how it went.
This was the dirtiest type of hardball I’ve ever seen, but nobody really wants to examine this process very closely.
But I can’t lay all the blame on the other campaigns. Our campaign made plenty of mistakes too.
The only thing I can feel good about is that. . .my counties were almost all in double digits — well ahead of the statewide average. Still I’ve never felt so beat up and emotionally drained.
Maybe this kind of note will help rank-and-file Democrats feel better that if either Obama or Clinton win the Democratic nomination, each would be a far tougher, hold the line operation in any replay of the debacles in Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004.
— Steve Clemons