Was the Primary Process Rigged against the Political Revolution?

In a provocative presentation to the Windsor/North County Democratic Club on June 23, progressive activist Dale Axelrod contended that the primary process was rigged by the Democratic Party establishment against Senator Bernie Sanders in a way that even Senator Sanders may not have fully considered.

Axelrod contended that the nationwide voting process is filled with fraud. He particularly cited the problems with electronic voting machines, which are used in many states. Many of these machines do not produce a paper copy of the vote, making the audit of votes impossible. He opined that these machines are produced by corporate entities whose interests parallel those of establishment, big money politicians. One audience member challenged Axelrod’s “unfounded conspiracy theories,” which led to an interactive discussion between the presenter and those attending. Several attendees who had volunteered as poll workers in the June 7th Sonoma County primary election testified to the veracity of vote counting here.

Axelrod feels that Democratic Party unity this year will only be reached when the Sanders platform is fully embraced. Single-payer health care, a fifteen dollar per hour minimum wage, and other cornerstones of “the political revolution” must be adopted by the party before Bernie supporters could consider supporting Hillary Clinton. He stated that current Democratic National Committee Chairperson Debbie Wasserman-Shultz must be replaced prior to the national convention July 25-28 in Philadelphia to avoid a floor fight.

Axelrod ran unsuccessfully in Congressional District 2 to represent Senator Sanders as a delegate to the national convention. Regardless, he, along with many other committed Sanders supporters, plans to travel to Philadelphia to express, outside the convention hall, the need for change. He expects large crowds of like-minded demonstrators.

When questioned about where the Sanders movement goes from here, Axelrod said that activism will come from the bottom up, not anything organized by the campaign. Two millennial supporters at Thursday’s meeting, CynKay Morningstar and Cecili Antares, want to continue to work for the ideas for which Sanders has forcefully advocated throughout the campaign. They intend to follow the Senator’s suggestion to involve themselves in local politics. Rick Massell, past president of the Windsor/ North County Democratic Club, and a Sonoma County Democratic Party Central Committee member, suggested that a mentoring program be created to help people interested in running for office learn about the process. Morningstar and Antares responded to this notion with enthusiasm.

In closing, Axelrod resisted the suggestion to eliminate primary caucuses. He feels that the vote counting at the caucus site, in real time, is the most reliable antidote to potential vote-counting fraud.

— Barry Hirsch

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