The Associated Press declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the Democratic primary race on Monday night, thanks to her combined support from pledged delegates and superdelegates. But that hasn’t convinced Bernie Sanders, her sole remaining opponent, to drop out of the race. Sanders is in it to win it, he says, and his campaign insists there's no nominee until the convention. But there might be a way Clinton can get Sanders to concede the race on his own accord, avoid a contested convention, and unite the party.
First, though, let’s look at where the delegate math stands. Clinton has won more than the number of delegates she needs, and secured the support of 571 superdelegates. The pledged delegates are required to vote for her at the convention, but the superdelegates can change their minds at any time. Sanders is attempting to convince enough superdelegates to vote for him to deprive Clinton of a majority at the convention, thus forcing a contested convention and perhaps delivering Sanders the nomination.
This strategy hinges on the fact that superdelegates aren’t actually committed to vote for Clinton. But what if they were? What if the possibility of superdelegates changing their minds was somehow eliminated? That would obliterate Sanders’ rationale for remaining in the race, as it would put the kibosh on his entire post-primary strategy.
There’s an easy to way make this happen. If Clinton’s superdelegates all signed and released letters proclaiming that they will vote for her at the convention no matter what, Sanders’ post-primary strategy will no longer be feasible. HIs campaign has cited this strategy ad nauseam to justify his continued candidacy; if enough superdelegates state on the record that their support for Clinton is non-negotiable, Sanders will have hit a dead end.
This wouldn’t guarantee anything, of course. Sanders has been remarkably intransigent up to this point, refusing to exit the race even after it became mathematically impossible for him to overtake Clinton in pledged delegates. And even if superdelegates did publicly promised\ to support Clinton unconditionally, that promise wouldn’t be legally binding.
Nevertheless, it would be farcical and embarrassing for Sanders to insist that he can win over superdelegates who’ve declared publicly that they aren’t win-overable. And really, Clinton doesn’t have many other options at this point. While it's very much in her interest for Sanders to leave the race, she cant force him to withdraw. But she can push just a little bit harder, and convincing her own superdelegates to solidify their support for her might just be the right kind of push.