Hillary’s aides silenced Bernie hecklers using GroupMe prompts
This explains why ‘Hillary’ chants at the DNC were so random
Before Hillary Clinton took the stage to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, her campaign organized intricate countermeasures to silence Bernie Sanders’ supporters.
Co-ordinated by David Huynh, the Hillary campaign director of delegate operations and ballot access, whip teams set out to stop dissent from the Bernie camp on the final night in the Wells Fargo Arena.
This explains why random “Hillary” chants could be heard at awkward moments during Clinton’s historic speech.
Two of the participants involved spoke to Buzzfeed, explaining how the messaging app GroupMe was used to alert delegates, regional co-ordinators, floor captains and whips of would-be interrupters.
Delegates were prompted with a cue sent through the app: “HILL-A-REE,” to respond to Bernie protestors.
Even members of the Vermont senator’s campaign were involved, hoping to present a unified front.
If you're hearing "Hillary!" chants on TV at awkward times, it's because they're trying to cover up protestors. #DemsInPhilly
— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) July 29, 2016
Signs and large banners were placed around the arena to ensure any anti-Hillary signs could quickly be blocked, and hand signals and test messages were used to cue “Hillary” chants in order to drown out any heckling or booing.
One floor captain explained: “You’re gonna chant? We’re gonna chant louder. You’re gonna have a banner? We’re gonna have a bigger banner.”
It was apparent the campaign had prepared thoroughly for this operation when 50 Hillary delegates reserved seats at the front of the California delegation.
Since the many Bernie supporters from California were expected to be among the loudest hecklers in the arena, the campaign ensured its supporters were the most visible.
“None of it was intimidation or muscular or silencing. It was all just preparation,” insisted a floor captain involved in the operation.