Will Bernie Sanders' Superdelegates Stand By Him At The Convention? He's Not Giving Up
On Tuesday night, Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton declared her victory as the party's presumptive nominee after winning big in California and New Jersey. But at the end of the night, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was still ready to keep his campaign going all the way to the July convention. Sanders has made his intentions clear over the last few weeks — and again on Thursday morning after meeting with President Obama — that he will not end his campaign until the convention because it's ultimately the superdelegates who will decide the nominee. But will Sanders' superdelegates stand by him at a convention?
Sanders currently holds only 48 superdelegates compared to Clinton's 577, and his pledged delegate count is at 1,828, compared to her 2,203. At the end of the day, Clinton has far outpaced the Vermont senator since the primaries kicked off, but Sanders has said over the last few weeks that he fully intends to change their vote at the convention. However, the chances of convincing 507 of her pledged superdelegates — the minimum number he would need to secure a nomination of his own — are slim to none, especially considering that Clinton has also earned more votes over the course of her campaign. With these factors in mind, Sanders' superdelegates are split on what's best for their candidate.
In an exchange between MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell and Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver on Tuesday afternoon, Mitchell asked Weaver whether the Sanders camp had flipped any superdelegates yet, to which Weaver said, "No." And it's uncertain how many he will be able to flip between now and the convention.
At least two of Sanders' superdelegates have spoken out about how it might be time for the Vermont senator to call it quits. Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona told the Washinton Post in an interview, "The reality is unattainable at some point. ... At some point, when we’re trying to flip 400 super-delegates, and it’s not gaining traction, I think you have to come to the conclusion that it’s not going to happen." Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley echoed Grijalva's sentiments and told the Post, "I would not support a battle that involves trying to flip super-delegates. ... Once a candidate has won a majority of the pledged delegates and a majority of the popular vote, which Secretary Clinton has now done, we have our nominee," according to Salon.
Even so, some of Sanders' superdelegates are ready to support him at the convention, even if the Senator faces a steep uphill battle. They're just waiting for some direction, and would not "call on him to drop out." One of his superdelegates — Troy Jackson from Maine — told Mother Jones "I'm certainly not advocating for [protests] at this point. I'm hoping we can resolve some of these differences by actually listening to the electorate." However, he also suggested that it would be tough for Clinton moving forward to garner the support of Sanders' fans, who seek change and progress. At the end of the day, it's not necessarily as much about the candidate as it is about the issues, and Jackson suggested of Clinton that "walking the walk would be a nice change."
Whether Sanders can flip enough superdelegates to secure his own nomination is uncertain, but his position of his campaign to the convention will at least make a point that he will not give up on his supporters.