But any hope that the Democratic Party in San Francisco would blissfully unite against Trump was dashed by bitter divisions on full display Sunday morning. The friction that tore apart the national party during the primary season, and has pitted local progressives against centrists, grew red hot as the Democrats’ warring factions converged on the labor building.
As I entered the building, Reform slate members were fuming about what they alleged was “election-rigging” by their centrist opponents. A line of Bauer rental buses parked in front — observers counted at least five vehicles — was disgorging a steady stream of Chinese-speaking men and women. No one stopped them as they went directly inside the building, cutting in front of the long line of people who were patiently standing in the rain.
I spotted one middle-aged Chinese American woman, who declined to give her name, filling out multiple ballots. When challenged by an independent election observer, she became upset and said she was voting on behalf of relatives who could not read English. Meanwhile, at the table where the woman was filling out ballots, Rebuild slate organizers handed out doughnuts, tangerines, granola bars and bottled beverages to those who had just performed their civic duty.
“This is just more of the same corrupt stuff we saw in the Democratic primaries,” said Reform candidate Ben Becker, as he tried to physically block people from crashing the voter line. The young, ponytailed Becker and his wife, Claire Lau, had co-founded San Francisco Berniecrats, an organization that grew out of the Sanders campaign and became the main engine behind the Reform slate. “Hundreds of people are being bused in from Chinatown today — they don’t know who they’re voting for,” said Becker. “They’re just being told how to vote by David Chiu and his people.”