How Many Delegates Will Be At The Democratic Convention? There Might Be A Hitch In The Plan
When he realized he wouldn't win the primaries, Sen. Bernie Sanders did what he said he'd do all along: He endorsed Sec. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee, for president. After pushing to make progressive changes to the party platform, he relied on his nearly 1,900 delegates to the Democratic National Convention to help the party adopt a platform that represents his and his supporters' progressive views. There are supposed to be 4,764 delegates at the Democratic National Convention, but some of Sanders' delegates might not go to the convention after his endorsement, and that could spell trouble for his secondary campaign goal of fundamentally shifting the party left.
One reason some might not go is that they might be among the many impassioned Sanders supporters who saw his endorsement of his former opponent as a betrayal of what he stood for. The Los Angeles Times reported that about one in three Sanders delegates are new to the Democratic Party, attesting to a widespread lack of established allegiance to the party and the fact that Sanders' ideas, and not the established Democratic tack, is what attracted many to participate. They might feel that his endorsement of the establishment candidate, after more than a year of railing against her, is something they can't support.
Some of Sanders' delegates may want to attend the convention, but may find it harder to do so in the aftermath of his endorsement. Sanders has been fundraising to get his delegates to the convention, as they have to pay their own way, but the influx of donations may slow down from now on. In an email to supporters in June, campaign manager Jeff Weaver wrote:
Our delegates are not wealthy campaign contributors. They're not party insiders or establishment elites. They're working folks, and it's not easy for many of them to fly to Philly and stay in hotels for a week.
Some delegates have taken to GoFundMe to attempt to raise the thousands of dollars that a trip to the convention costs.
But Sanders supporters whose feel of the Bern turned into just feeling burned aren't likely to dig into their pockets to contribute. And, if this significantly limits the number of his delegates who can make it to the convention, it may make it less likely that the more progressive platform drafted in recent weeks gets adopted. The adoption of the platform, and any amendments to it, will be voted on by delegates at the convention.
We might not see all of Sanders' delegates in Philly, then. But if they stay home — either by choice or due to lack of funds — it could be a real blow to his party platform goals.