4/18/16, "Democrat superdelegates face harassment from Sanders supporters," UK Telegraph, David Millward, US Correspondent
"The increasingly bitter battle to secure the Democratic presidential nomination has led to allegations that “superdelegates” who will play a pivotal role at the party convention are being harassed by supporters of Bernie Sanders.
There have been complaints of threatening phone calls, angry emails and intimidation via social media from some of the 842 independent delegates whose support could be crucial in getting Mr Sanders or Hillary Clinton across the 2,383 threshold to be the party’s candidates.
Unlike the delegates chosen directly by state caucuses and primaries, the superdelegates – who range from party apparatchiks to members of Congress and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter – are free to vote as they see fit.
But some supporters of the Vermont senator, fearing that the superdelegates will thwart Mr Sanders’ drive for the nomination at the convention in Philadelphia, are ratcheting up their campaign.
There is no evidence to suggest that the Sanders official campaign is involved in the alleged intimidation, but some left wing activists involved in heaping pressure on superdelegates make no apology for their tactics.
“Allowing the political elite, who have a lot riding on the outcome of this primary, to anoint their preferred presidential candidate runs counter to a core set of American values. This practice is patronizing and corrupt—and has very little popular support,” said Spencer Thayer, a self-declared socialist, who has compiled a list of superdelegates. He denied that the purpose of the list was to intimidate them.
“The real issue is that superdelegates are not used to being held accountable. But the internet has changed power relationships and given voters the tools they need to demand a more representative democracy. Unsurprisingly, those in power tend to interpret challenges to their authority as harassment. I'm not sympathetic to that point of view.”
However those on the receiving end of the onslaught have a less benign perspective.
“It has been very hard on me,” said Nancy Schumacher, a member of the Democratic National Committee from Minnesota. “It started the day after the caucus and it continues every day. They were even sending nasty emails on Easter Sunday. I have had calls at my home, I have had a call at work.
“I am a volunteer, I am not paid for any of this, I am doing it all on my own dime. There is so much hatred towards Hillary. I have been involved in politics for 25 years and I have never seen so much hate.”
Isabel Framer, a superdelegate from Ohio, was subjected to scores of messages telling her to back the Vermont senator. “It was over the top. The calls were coming in non-stop and they were coming from unidentified numbers. One person left a message saying I should vote according to the will of the people and it was crap that I got to vote how I wanted.”
Working in the criminal justice system Ms Framer, who is also the secretary of the Democratic National Committee’s Hispanic caucus, is not easily shocked. “These are really threatening and intimidating. It’s very upsetting.
“We have new people who are very excited about supporting a political candidate and they may be new to civic engagement. When they get people making threats on Twitter and Facebook it is a really bad experience,” she said.
“I think I am top of the hit list because of my name,” said Maggie Allen, a member of the Democratic National Committee and a high school principal. “In the beginning I was getting some hate-filled, vitriolic name calling emails. There were also some drunken late night calls. I have switched my phone off.”
More recently, however, the tone has become more civil.
Peggy Schaffer, vice chair of the Maine Democratic party and one of the state’s superdelegates, was more sanguine about the barrage she has faced.
“People are very passionate about this issue and perhaps their filters are not as strong as they could be.”
The Telegraph has approached the Sanders campaign for comment."