Why Hillary Clinton Squashed Sanders-Supporter Nina Turner

Eric Zuesse

On Tuesday night July 26th, when Nina Turner was supposed to be onstage delivering the nominating speech for Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s people — at the last moment — barred her from going onstage, and offered no explanation. Hillary, not Bernie, would determine who would go up onstage to deliver the nominating-speech for him. The candidate, Bernie, couldn’t make that choice — not even prior to Hillary’s winning the Party’s nomination after the delegate-votes were counted. The DNC, the Democratic National Committee — under first the Hillary friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and then the Hillary friend Donna Brazile — controlled things, and they were taking their instructions ultimately from Hillary Clinton. (But, actually, Wasserman Schultz had been made the leader of the DNC by Obama, and was now at least as much a friend of his, as of Hillary’s, because Wasserman Schultz had delivered one of the three seconding-speeches for his 2008 nomination, not one of the three speeches — one nominating speech, plus two seconding — for Hillary. Originally, Wasserman Schultz had backed Hillary in 2007, and had even been co-chair of Hillary’s campaign against Obama. In other words: Wasserman Schultz represented both Hillary and Obama, and Obama chose her to rig the primaries for Hillary — and there were even news reports about some details of that rigging. Obama wanted Hillary to be his successor. But after Wasserman Schultz got fired for being exposed to have been rigging it, Obama placed long-time Hillary friend Donna Brazile in charge of the DNC. And, so, it was Brazile who actually made this decision against Turner, on behalf of Brazile’s longtime friends, the Clintons.)

Turner had arrived in Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon, after great anticipation that she would make what she had been hoping would be the speech of her life, the speech that could quite possibly (and Bernie ardently wished would) catapult her into top-level Democratic politics in the way that Barack Obama’s keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention did. Bernie wanted Turner to take his movement forward, to ultimate victory after 2016. Turner — as Bernie knew well, from his own experience seeing her address crowds — can get an audience out of their seats and onto their feet applauding, as Obama had done at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, though in her own distinctive crossover Black-and-White way, not Obama-cool, but instead soul-hot. Her style fuses references to Euro cultural heroes such as Dante, with references to Afro cultural heroes such as Martin Luther King, all joined together in advocacy of the peoples’ progress toward equality, both of justice and of economic opportunity. But her hope was not to be, by Clinton and Obama, allowed to fruition.

A friend of Turner said that both Turner and Rosario Dawson — who is another extremely effective public speaker and advocate of Bernie — were edited by the Hillary people, out of the promotional video that had been prepared by Bernie’s people, for presentation leading up to the nominating speech for him. The DNC’s objective was to do everything they can to crush that movement, so as to enable Clinton to avoid any effective organized Democratic opposition to her re-election run in 2020, like Obama had been unopposed to become the Party’s nominee in 2012.

Hillary doesn’t want anyone to represent the Bernie movement who is as effective a proponent of that movement as Turner is — who had even whipped the famously articulate debater Barney Frank, proponent of Hillary, when Turner argued against him for Bernie on MSNBC — Hillary doesn’t want someone like that, to be a competitor against her in 2020.

The way this zapping of Turner was done is that Hillary’s people told Sanders to tell Turner not to deliver his nominating-speech. They would allow only Tulsi Gabbard (whom Bernie had chosen to deliver the seconding speech) to do that. Gabbard is a flat, Hillary-like, public speaker — and Sanders would now need to choose someone other than Turner to second the nomination by Gabbard. Turner couldn’t be any part of it, at all. They wouldn’t let her onto the stage, at all.

At some time on Monday night, July 25th, Paul Feeney, the legislative director of the Dorchester Massachusetts-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2222, received a phone call from his longtime friend Bernie Sanders, asking him to deliver the seconding speech for Sanders. (You can see Fenney’s address at 57:00 here.) Gabbard now was to become the person delivering the nominating speech (it’s at 51:30 there), and so Sanders needed quickly to find someone who would do this seconding.

Whereas Obama in 2008 allowed Hillary one nomination speech and two seconding speeches — all by speakers of her choosing — Hillary in 2016 would allow Bernie only one nominating speech and one seconding speech, and blocked him from having Turner deliver either of those speeches.

Turner, evidently, didn’t find out until sometime early Tuesday morning, that she wouldn’t be allowed on the stage at all — not even to deliver the seconding speech. At 4:12 AM on the 26th, Turner tweeted, “DNC betrayed Bernie Sanders and the rest of America.”

Though Gabbard’s speech was flat, her beauty-queen-like looks, and terrific progressive record in Congress, caused Bernie supporters to comment at the youtube of her nominating-speech for Sanders, extremely favorable things, like “Man, she is beautiful,” and, “Tulsi Gabbard deserves to be first female president.” However, Hillary evidently still prefers to be running against her, instead of to be running against Turner.

The reasons for that are sound. Either way, it would be a woman-against-woman race. But, if Turner were to become the opponent, then how would Hillary be able to retain the support of her 76% share of the Black vote, when running against a Black — and not only a Black but one who has “soul” (which neither Hillary nor Gabbard does)? Gabbard isn’t the type of person to lead a movement; she (like Turner — but certainly not like Hillary) would be a progressive President, but (unlike Sanders and Turner) Gabbard cannot inspire the type of “political revolution” that Sanders wants. She wouldn’t make it to the Presidency. Hillary, running as the incumbent against Gabbard in 2020, would easily win, no matter how bad Hillary’s term in office might turn out to be. By contrast, Turner would win the support not only of progressives but of Blacks — which even Sanders didn’t manage to pull off against Hillary. Hillary would thus lose a very large percentage of what has been (for no sound reason, but just because of the Clintons’ superficial rhetoric against racism — and despite Hillary’s actual policies favoring Wall Street against Main Street and thus hurt Blacks especially) a huge chunk of the Clintons’ support-base: black voters. Without Blacks, Hillary doesn’t stand a chance. So, Hillary has always “talked the talk” but never walked the walk.

Clinton did what was best for herself. She made a well-advised political decison for her personal benefit, and for the benefit of her Wall Street and her other donors.

When Mother Jones asked Turner whether Sanders stood up against Clinton, and had insisted that Turner must be allowed to go onstage, Turner responded (tactfully ignoring that MJ was asking a leading question in order to extract from her any ill-will she might be feeling against Sanders for having given her the bad news), “Sen. Sanders is in a difficult position. I don’t know. I don’t want to say.” That’s code for: So that Sanders not be absolutely iced out of the Democratic Party, he had needed to do whatever he was being instructed to do; Turner bore no resentment against him for what had happened to her. Her “I don’t want to say” meant: I don’t want to make things even worse, either for Sanders, or for myself, than they already are, and I won’t bite your bait. You’re hoping to destroy this movement; I am not.

Mother Jones is funded by Democratic-Party billionaires, who donate heavily to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The Democratic Party’s newsmedia are run like that. This is the sort of thing that Sanders has been running against.

What Sanders was being instructed to do — to boot his own nominating speaker, and to get some last-minute person to deliver his seconding speech; and not even to be allowed more than a single seconding speaker — was not what’s normal in such a situation. Normally, each candidate gets one nominating speech, and at least one seconding speech. When Obama was running the Democratic National Convention in 2008, he allowed his former opponent, Hillary Clinton, to select one person to make her nominating speech, and two people to deliver seconding speeches for her; Obama then selected one person to deliver his nominating speech, and three people (one of them being Debbie Wasserman Schultz, as was noted) to second it. Whereas Obama treated his fellow-Wall-Street stooge Clinton with decency and respect, neither Obama nor Clinton treated Wall Street’s opponent, Sanders, that way. They despise him; they just can’t afford to state it publicly. (One might say instead that they do what their funders want them to do to him, but this way of phrasing the matter amounts really to saying practically the same thing, and semantics is not at all important here — it’s diversionary from the reality, which is the reason so many people prefer to get into it.)

At 7:44 PM on July 26th, the leader of the largest labor union for nurses, National Nurses United, RoseAnn DeMoro tweeted:

“Nina Turner was treated horribly by the Clinton Campaign today. The story is out there. They also took Bernie’s staff’s credentials. Evil.”

At 1:17 AM on July 27th. Chris Kott Toepfer posted a comment at facebook:

“Are any of you still thinking that the Dem’s have your back or best interest at heart? That the Dem’s are the party of life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness? Dem’s are the party of dependence, not independence. The Dem’s are the party of depression, oppression & recession. Dem’s are not the party of lifting you up, there [they’re] about holding you down.”

Many other comments at that facebook page were asking questions such as this: “Skinner Vance There is nothing online about this. What happened???”

What’s most important in history happens usually behind closed doors and in private, and the public usually get wind of it too late, or else never.


There were no further public statements from either Sanders or Turner about the matter. Sanders’s hardworking devoted followers were simply left to wonder. But this silence from them is the reason why, for example, another comment there (at that facebook page), at 12:27 AM on July 27th, posted:

“Roland Vincent There is no question but that Bernie is playing the long game. …Were he to do a Ted Cruz and decline to endorse Hillary, the repercussions that would blow back on him if she were to lose would be a real problem for him in consolidating power within the Democratic party. The best case scenario, of course, would be for Bernie to be seen as Hillary’s loyal, enthusiastic supporter, and then having her lose. Bernie can never state that publicly. He can never admit that would be the best way to ensure the future of the revolution. He must go through the motions of embracing all he loathes, of supporting all he knows to be evil, of paying lip service to the oligarchy and its whore. And praying each night that Trump cleans her clock.”

Others were joining the Green Party, which stands no chance of winning the election unless it’s on the ballot in all states (which it’s nowhere near) and has an already-established star U.S. Senator or else state governor, such as Sanders was, heading its ticket (which it never did); so, that’s purely a throw-away vote, a mere ‘protest vote’, protesting to the wind. Stupidity, really. None of the ‘third parties’ is even on the ballot in a majority of states; each of these ‘parties’ is a play for suckers’ votes and nothing more than the candidate’s hope, like Ralph Nader’s one successful shot at doing this in 2000 turned out to be, of throwing the election to whichever major-party nominee is the farther of the two from the mouthed positions that the given ‘third party’ nominee espouses. (Nader was actually campaigning for Bush.) In the present instance, Clinton is probably actually farther from Sanders than is Trump, especially because her record in public office exists and is catastrophic, whereas Trump has none at all and self-contradicts as much as Hillary’s record contradicts her statements. But most of all: Trump’s victory would present at least a high likelihood of the Sanders movement taking over the Democratic Party, taking it away from the billionaires — and so forcing the billionaires to choose between the Sanders movement and the Trump Presidency. If Clinton goes up against Trump in 2020, the billionaires won’t be nearly as disturbed as would be the case Sanders-Trump, or even the case Sanders-Anyone. The billionaires fear Sanders above all else.)

Of course, Toepfer had it correct: All intelligent Bernie supporters will be voting for Trump. If Hillary wins, the turnout on November 8th will still be so lackluster that Republicans will almost certainly hold Congress, and President Hillary Clinton will fail to muster even as much from that resistant Congress as Obama did, since Obama is a vastly more effective deceiver than she is. At the end of her Presidential term, she’d be hated overwhelmingly: recognized as a Wall Street stooge even by the people who had voted for her — and despised as an incompetent one, by those who did not.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.