Community activists coming together for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton
This past weekend the community noticed a flurry of political activities among the South Asian supporters of the Democratic Presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
Two events were held to mobilize South Asian Democrats to support Democratic Presidential aspirants Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders event was organized by Zafar Iqbal on the Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14th. The following day, Hillary supporters led by Hanadi Nadeem, an afternoon event was held to convince Indian sub-continent Democrats to attend Democratic caucuses on February 20th and vote for Hillary.
Nevada is a closed caucus state where registered Democrats and Republicans can pick a presidential candidate from their own party. Independent voters are not a part of upcoming caucuses or primaries.
With few days to go until the caucuses, the Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ surrogates are making a last minute efforts to mobilize the Democratic voters. Democrats have an option of last minute same-day registration to participate in February 20th caucuses. Republicans do not have a same-day registration privileges to participate in their caucuses which is on Tuesday evening, the 23rd of February.
Harry Reid was the key player in moving Nevada from primaries to a caucus state, which created a mass confusion among D’s and R’s alike. At the beginning of the campaign season, Clinton had a big support from the minority communities and organized labor. However, the ground game being played by Bernie’s supporters, with passion and dedication, has worried Clinton operatives. The bitter rivalry and an intense media war/advertisements between Bernie and Clinton reflects the importance of winning Nevada with 43 delegate jackpot in Democratic primary. As per the media reports, the Democratic caucus training during the past few weeks has seen more of Bernie supporters. Over the weekend, instead of flying to Florida, Clinton extended her stay in Nevada to mobilize minority voters for the Saturday caucuses. She appeared in China town and had a meeting with Hispanic illegal dreamers.
Bernie Sanders event had over 150 attendees and roughly the same number were there for Hillary event. Both the camps had the same message to the prospective voters – the future of the next generation, health care, immigration and instability in the Middle East. Organizers and the ground troops from both the camps were busy lobbying voters to earn their vote. Clinton event saw some active surrogates. Washington based Ms. Neera Tanden, a close confidante of Clintons, and President of the Center for American Progress, a left leaning institution, flew in to attend and campaign for Hillary. Former County Commissioner Rory Reid, Congresswoman Dina Titus, Sen. Aaron Ford, Sen. Ruben Kihuen spoke in support of Hillary Clinton. They all reminded the attendees to remember what she (Hillary) has done for the country from health care reform (Hillary care in nineties) to diplomatic achievements.
Bernie camp, Multiethnic Coalition for Bernie, with more diverse crowd had the socialistic leaning message with more emphasis on greater equality on economic issues, jobs, and free education. There were no well-known local surrogates at the event, however, the commitment, passion and excitement was at a higher level for Bernie compared to that of Clinton’s event. A reporter from Washington Post covered the luncheon event. Hispanic leaders at Bernie’s event were critical of Hillary’s actions on not supporting the cause of illegal immigrants during her tenure as a Secretary of State. Zaffar Iqbal was quoted by the Washington Post reporter for organizing the event under the banner, Multiethnic Coalition for Bernie.