Bernie Sanders Finally Accepts Reality, Admits He Won’t Be The Nominee
Bernie Sanders admitted, finally, that he likely won't be the nominee.
He has yet to concede the race officially, endorse Hillary Clinton, or suspend his campaign, but Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders finally seems to be admitting reality:
Senator Bernie Sanders came one step closer to accepting defeat on Wednesday, telling C-SPAN in an hourlong interview that he most likely would not be the Democratic presidential nominee.
For weeks, Mr. Sanders has insisted that he is still running against Hillary Clinton, though she clinched the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination on June 6. But when C-SPAN’s Steve Scully asked Mr. Sanders about speaking at the Democratic National Convention next month, the senator acknowledged that he was unlikely to best Mrs. Clinton, who has already been endorsed by a number of Democratic leaders, including President Obama.
“It doesn’t appear that I’m going to be the nominee, so I’m not going to be determining the scope of the convention,” Mr. Sanders said, adding that he has reached no agreement to endorse Mrs. Clinton but has been negotiating with her campaign. “What our job is now is to have her listen to what millions of people in this country who supported me want to see happen. We’ll see how that evolves.”
Mr. Sanders did not acknowledge that Mrs. Clinton was going to leave the convention as the nominee, or that she would become the first woman presidential nominee of a major party. He did say she was “very, very intelligent” and has faced challenges, but he focused mainly on their policy differences.
“She has clearly had to fight her way through a lot of sexism and unfair attacks over the years,” he said. “But there are areas where we have strong disagreements. She is more or less an establishment Democrat. It’s kind of hard to deny that. And I think we’ve got to move beyond that.”
The senator also said he was not being vetted to become Mrs. Clinton’s running mate. He did weigh in on who that person might be, without naming anyone specific. “I think she should select, clearly, the most progressive candidate that she can find,” he said. “It would be a terrible mistake for her to go to a candidate who has roots from Wall Street or has been backed by Wall Street.”
Mr. Sanders also said his campaign had been in regular contact with Mrs. Clinton’s campaign and planned to push for “the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party,” including planks on campaign finance, health care, higher education and the minimum wage.
The senator also said he expected to address the crowd gathered in Philadelphia next month. “I’ve given a few speeches in my life,” he said. “It would be nice to speak at the Democratic National Convention. If they, for whatever reason, don’t want me to speak, you know, so what? But by the way, I expect that I will speak.”
Of course, Sanders is smart enough to realize that if he wants to have influence over the party platform, much less address the convention in prime time, which is presumably what he’s talking about, then there’s a price of admission that he’ll have to pay. That price, of course, is the formal end of his campaign and an endorsement of the party nominee. No official from either party is going to let someone who refuses to endorse the party nominee get the national attention that a speaking slot at the convention conveys, and they’re not going to give a slot to someone who still has an active campaign for President going. That’s why Rand Paul spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention, and will likely speak in Cleveland as well, and his father did not. Unlike his son, former Congressman Ron Paul refused to endorse Mitt Romney.
In Sanders case, I really don’t doubt that he will eventually endorse Clinton and join her on the campaign trial, especially when it comes to the attack on Donald Trump. What’s puzzling, to be honest about it, is what’s taking him so long to get around to facing reality. It’s generally the case in these situations, for example, that the longer one waits the less influence they end up having over whatever it is they want to influence. This is especially true with regard to things such as the party platform, which isn’t exactly drawn up at the last minute. Sanders does have people at the table where the platform is being debated at the moment, of course, but one has to imagine that their influence is limited to the extent of the influence of their sponsor, and that is arguably diminishing day by day. In any case, this latest statement at least appears to be a sign that Sanders recognizes all of thi. The fact that his actions, or lack thereof, say one thing, while his words say another, though, is rather puzzling.