The Surprising Reason Hillary Clinton Won't Ask Bernie Sanders To Drop Out Of The Race
Now that Ted Cruz and John Kasich have suspended their campaigns, making Donald Trump the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, many are calling for Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race so that Hillary Clinton can officially become the Democratic Party's candidate — and focus her campaign on beating Trump. (In many ways, Clinton has already started her campaign against Trump, and she targets him directly in most of her stump speeches without even mentioning her Democratic rival.) Although it would be understandable for Clinton to urge Sanders to suspend his campaign to let her better take on the Republican candidate, Clinton says she will not do so. Nope, Clinton will not ask Sanders to drop out before the last primary because considering how long she continued her 2008 campaign, such a request would be hypocritical.
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, Clinton told the news anchor:
I'm not calling myself that [the presumptive nominee]. I know there are some contests ahead and I respect Senator Sanders and whatever choices he's making. And I have a lot of empathy about this, Anderson. You know, I ran to the very end in 2008.
It's true, Clinton didn't suspend her campaign against now-President Obama until after the last primary in 2008 — she knows what it's like to continue a campaign after there is little hope of actually winning the nomination.
Clinton doesn't want to seem like a hypocrite for suggesting Sanders drop out, and she's presumably being extra-understanding of her Democratic opponent so that his supporters will support her if she does win the nomination. Ever since her lead became nearly insurmountable, Clinton has reached out to Sanders supporters, welcoming them to join her campaign — just as her supporters (eventually) rallied behind Obama in 2008.
However, Clinton cannot count on everything happening the way it did the last time she ran for president, and that's because Sanders is not acting exactly the way Clinton did during her first campaign. After it was clear Obama would win the nomination, Clinton continued campaigning, but at the same time promised: "I will work my heart out for the Democratic Party and the party’s eventual nominee."
This is not a promise Clinton's 2016 Democratic opponent seems willing to make quite yet — Sanders committed to fighting the Republicans saying, “I will do everything in my power to make sure no Republican gets into the White House in this election,” but he hasn't ensured Clinton of his support.
Clinton seems dedicated to proving she will not act hypocritically, and expressed in her interview with Cooper that she understands Sanders' situation. However, she's not running against her 2008 self, but rather her current opponent, Sanders. Therefore, if Sanders continues to campaign against Clinton, the former secretary of state may wish she hadn't committed to this understanding strategy.