Geoconda Argüello-Kline was an Advisory Board member to the Center for American Progress and Treasurer of NV Culinary Union local 226.
In the midst of the competitive 2020 Democratic primary race something unusual was happening along the Las Vegas Strip. The Nevada Culinary Union with it’s 60,000 members woke up bright and early and walked into work to see flyers provided by the leadership outlining healthcare plans of six Democratic Presidential candidates. Nothing out of the ordinary happens, except for this year. In an unusual move the distributed flyers claimed that Bernie Sander’s Medicare for All policy would “end Culinary Healthcare”. This runs counter to numerous studies published that Medicare for All would save money for everyone, in particular union members who wouldn’t have to worry about negotiating for basic healthcare. When they faced pressure from grassroots activists the Nevada Culinary Union treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline publicly lashed out and at tens of Sanders supporters who attacked them as if his whole 11 million followers attacked them.
But there’s a problem with that assumption, it’s not true according to the data. Jeff Winchell whose a Harvard graduate specializing in data analysis looked into the claims of the Bernie Sanders supporters are toxic claim. He downloaded 100 million tweets from 2015 to 2020 among the top six candidates. Winchell discovered that while two percent were very negative, that same percentage was prevalent among supporters of Klobuchar, Biden, Warren, Bloomberg, and Buttigieg. In other words there is no evidence to suggest that the ‘Bernie Bros’ are any more toxic than ‘Klobuchar Bros’, ‘Warren Bros’, ‘Bloomberg Bros’, ‘Buttigieg Bros’, and ‘Biden Bros.’ It’s an unsubstantiated claim only appearing in articles due to frequency illusion. Frequency illusion works where if you point something out people tend to notice that more than anything else (i.e. other candidate’s toxic supporters).
While the discussion among the Nevada Culinary Union Leadership made national headlines, a reporter spoke to local union steward Marcie Wells to find out if members really opposed Medicare for All. The leadership did not poll union members regarding a Presidential endorsement and the majority of her members backed Medicare for All. When asked why the union leadership came out so fiercely against Medicare for All Wells said “there’s a conflict of interest” with the union working with PAC groups and the healthcare industry. Wells continued “For the union to be pulling this…it’s just unbelievable.”
While this is true regarding Union leaders receiving money from health insurance companies there’s another conflict of interest that ties directly to Clinton’s most controversial figure: Neera Tanden.
Arguello-Kline was on the Board to Tanden’s Center for American Progress
While article after article claimed that Sanders supporters were attacking the head of the union, there’s more to this story. Geoconda Argüello-Kline is the Nevada Culinary Union Treasurer who claimed that she received blowback after in flyers the leadership claimed that Medicare for All would ensure another four years of Trump. Why did the Union Treasurer suddenly attack Sanders and his pro-union policies to empower workers? It turns out Kline was a committee member to the Center of American Progress Advisory Board, who was headed by Neera Tanden. Tanden has a long history of Trumpian attacks against the left, including against former Clinton ally Peter Daou who worked with her during Clinton’s 2008 run. Another instance was where she punched Faiz Shakir, chief editor for Think Progress, for asking Hillary Clinton a question about her vote for the Iraq War. Her mother Maya Tanden admitted she “can be very aggressive” and she loyalty to Hillary Clinton because “Hillary is the one who made her.”
While it’s difficult to say whether or not Tanden spoke to Geoconda Argüello-Kline, that fact that the treasurer of the Culinary Union sat on the Advisory Board to Neera’s Center for American Progress should be debated. And given her history of attacking others, and surrounding herself with like-minded people, claims from Argüello-Kline just before a crucial Caucus of being attacked should be taken with a grain of salt. The press needs to be more transparent and honest with their viewers about key pieces of information like this, especially if there is a conflict of interest against the frontrunner in the Democratic Presidential Primaries.