Last week, Nevada Democratic State Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange was mobbed by harassment and death threats from irate Bernie Sanders fans who suspected her of handing the state to Hillary Clinton. On Saturday, Lange, a Mariners fan, tried to tweet lightheartedly about baseball. Guess how that went?
Politifact thoroughly evaluated the claims of fraud and misconduct at the Nevada convention and determined them to be unfounded. At the same time, rumors that irate Sanders supporters were throwing chairs—rumors that we also reported—are likely inaccurate too. (One person was definitely seen holding a chair aloft and advancing towards the stage, but he was surrounded by other people who made him put the chair down.)
The event, then, was a disaster by any standard definition, but it didn’t represent, say, the election being “stolen.” That hasn’t stopped a select group of people from continuing to be dead certain that Lange, whose post in the Democratic party is a volunteer position and who manages a restaurant, is the new center of a sinister, Clinton-supporting conspiracy. Which is why this is happening, when Lange had some thoughts about sports:
(Note the one that asks Lange where she’s staying and adds “#gotsomethingforya.”)
These people are feeding off each other’s righteously misplaced anger. Long after most people have forgotten about Roberta Lange and the convention chaos, she’ll likely remain in the eye of the conspiracy hurricane for some of these folks. She’ll stand as a symbol of all that’s murky and wrong with the American electoral system, or with humanity itself:
After our story ran last week, we received many emails from Sanders supporters who disagreed with the idea of writing about the threats against Lange. Most of them were cordial and polite, even as they disagreed that Lange’s death threats were newsworthy. “By focusing on the DNC-promoted lede of “Bernie supporters violently disrupt convention” / ‘Roberta Lange receives death threats,’ you are misleading your readers,” one wrote.
But some of them were like this, from a guy named Ben Weiss:
This election is toppling into mania, mob mentality and frenzied threat-making on every side.
Roberta Lange. Screenshot via KTNV 13 Las Vegas/YouTube