Niko House, president of North Carolina College Students for Bernie Sanders and Carolina Students for Bernie Sanders at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has made a series of explosive allegations that the Sanders campaign was sabotaged from within by supporters of Hillary Clinton (Hillbots) that the Sanders campaign hired to fill executive positions. A written account can be found on House’s Facebook page and his videos are below.
The bulk of House’s allegations center on the misdeeds of the Sanders campaign’s North Carolina statewide director, Aisha Dew. She allegedly and inexplicably cancelled grassroots events and meetings, pushed out effective volunteer organizers, and refused to take endorsements of Snaders from mayor Chris Rey as well as from NAACP and Black caucus members. The most incriminating evidence against Dew are her pro-Clinton social media posts — photos taken with Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair and Sanders nemesis Debbie Wasserman Schulz and a photo of Dew at a Clinton captains organizers’ meeting.
Another apparent Hillbot hired by the Sanders campaign was S. Prescott Harris II. He served as a regional field director in South Carolina and below is his celebratory social media post after Clinton’s South Carolina blowout win.
Another name House mentions is Robert Dempsey who served the Sanders campaign as state director in Minnesota and who is now stationed in Wisconsin. House claims Dempsey “indirectly pushed” for Dew to be hired and House alleges that Dempsey vetoed a Sanders appearance in the state at the invitation of Randy Voller, former chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party. House seems certain that Dempsey is involved in Dew’s Hillbot shenanigans because Dempsey was fired as the North Carolina Democratic Party chairman’s executive director by Voller (who was then chairman) before he served briefly in the same position in the Virginia Democratic Party under Terry McAuliffe, a long-time Clinton diehard.
The problem is that House presents not a single shred of evidence demonstrating that Dew and Dempsey are indeed linked. Instead, he relies on a series of interlinked and interdependent suppositions: Dempsey was fired from his Democratic Party position in North Carolina for incompetence (true), Dew was clearly incompetent (also true), therefore Dempsey had to be the reason Dew was hired by the Sanders campaign without being properly vetted (not necessarily true and this conclusion does not logically follow from the two true premises). House is right that Dempsey does have clout within the Sanders campaign but that is because — unlike Dew — he is still on their payroll.
Building off of unfounded suppositions concerning Dempsey, House hints that Sanders might have lost the Nevada caucus because a Dempsey associate (actually a former subordinate; they worked on Senator Kay Hagan’s 2014 re-election campaign together in North Carolina), Cory Warfield, was in charge of the caucuses. House says Warfield had no pre-existing ties to Nevada and concludes on this basis that his appointment in Nevada can only be explained by his connection to the nefarious Dempsey. However, a quick Google search reveals that Warfield worked on Senator Harry Reid’s successful re-election campaign in 2010 and therefore the notion of a Hillbot cabal within the Sanders campaign led by Dempsey that is costing Sanders wins in state after state is untenable from a factual standpoint.
What House has exposed beyond a doubt is that the Sanders campaign’s vetting process for hiring staffers is either amateurish non-existent. Recall that Josh Uretsky, who was fired from the Sanders campaign for copying Clinton voter data from the DNC’s voter database, was recommended to the Sanders campaign by the DNC and NGP VAN, the vendor that controls the database.
So are there Hillbots who have infiltrated the Sanders campaign to sabotage it from within? Yes.
Is there a conspiracy of Hillbots causing Sanders to lose in state after state after state? No. Or if there is such a conspiracy, there is neither hard nor even circumstantial evidence that indicates that it exists.
Sanders is losing to Clinton in state after state (often by large margins) because he thus far has failed to expand his coalition beyond young voters, not because of massive and unprecedented levels of electoral fraud or because incredibly effective sabotage by Hillbot fifth columnists within our ranks. We should be vigilant and we should purge documented Hillbots. But the worst thing we can do at this critical juncture of the campaign when we need to look outward and expand our coalition is to turn inward by setting up circular firing squads and engaging in paranoia-driven witch hunts and scapegoating.