While the Republican divisions have been on display since long before the nomination of Donald Trump, Democratic divisions have been masked by their united opposition to President Trump. However, an incident that occurred in late July may underscore just how fragile the Democrat coalition is.
Bernie Bros and sisters in his group, Our Revolution, are upset with their treatment at the hands of the DNC. Per Buzzfeed, Nina Turner, president of Our Revolution, marched on DNC offices in Washington, D.C. on July 25 to deliver petitions supporting Our Revolution’s “People’s Platform,” a policy agenda for 2018.
Turner, a member of the DNC and a former Ohio state senator, complained that the emissaries from Our Revolution were greeted outside the building by a handful of DNC staffers. Security barricades prevented the group from approaching the building.
“I was absolutely stunned,” Turner said. “For them to be that tone-deaf, or that arrogant, to think that it’s OK to put up a barricade so that the people can’t even — I mean, we were not even good enough to stand on their stairs.”
DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa said that the barricades and security were put in place by the “building security team” rather than party officials. Hinojosa said that such steps were deemed necessary by the current security climate.
A table of water and donuts set up by the DNC as a peace offering did nothing to temper Turner’s outrage. “They tried to seduce us with donuts and water,” she said. “They’re pompous and arrogant enough to say to the people, you’re not good enough to be on our property — and, oh by the way, we’re just gonna [sic] hand you donuts and water over the barricade. That is insulting. Absolutely insulting.”
Turner wrote about the incident in a fundraising email in which she complained that the DNC response was another example of why progressives mistrust the Democratic Party. Citing remarks in which DNC political director Amanda Brown Lierman asked for support in 2018, Turner said, “That’s the problem. You think people are just gonna [sic] do what you say, and you don’t have to really listen.”
The host of adjectives employed by Turner to describe the meeting with DNC officials also included the phrases “dictatorial,” “pompous,” and “arrogant.”
DNC officials offered a different take on Lierman’s speech to the Our Revolution delegation. Hinojosa said that Lierman “expressed gratitude on behalf of the DNC” and spoke about “shared values.”
DNC officials also noted that Our Revolution has been invited to meetings with other progressive groups at the DNC, but that so far “they haven’t showed up” other than to join a party unity tour headlined by DNC Chairman Tom Perez and Deputy Chair Keith Ellison earlier this year.
Turner, who took the reins as president of Our Revolution in July, seems intent on a combative role. She has called upon Perez to apologize for the incident, saying, “The chairman would be wise to embrace this energy. He would be wise to make a phone call. He should have reached out to me by now to apologize for the way the people who came to the DNC were treated.” In her email to Our Revolution supporters, she wrote, “It is time to make the Democratic Party ‘Feel the Bern’ again.”
Sanders himself has maintained a low profile about the incident. One Sanders aide noted that the Vermont senator, who is officially an independent, is working “inside the system” while Our Revolution is working “outside the system.”