Politics

Sanders' Supporters Wary Of Superdelegate Strategy

| by Ray Brown
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont CampaigningSen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont Campaigning

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has promised to take his campaign to the Democratic convention, but his supporters in Congress are hoping he doesn't take things too far.

Sanders' chances of obtaining the Democratic nomination rely on superdelegates choosing him over Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention in July. That is unlikely because Clinton has more pledged delegates and votes, but it is technically possible.

But Sanders' few supporters in Congress -- the vast majority of Democratic legislators aligned themselves early on with Clinton -- don't like the idea of Sanders pushing too hard for those votes.

“The super-delegates are set aside when you make the judgment that you have a majority of the pledged delegates,” Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, a Sanders supporter, told The Washington Post. “I would not support a battle that involves trying to flip superdelegates.”

Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona supports Sanders' effort to flip superdelegates, but acknowledged the difficulty that will entail.

“The reality is unattainable at some point,"said Grijalva, who is also a superdelegate. "You deal with that. Bernie is going to deal with this much more rapidly than you think. At some point, when we’re trying to flip 400 superdelegates, and it’s not gaining traction, I think you have to come to the conclusion that it’s not going to happen. You just move into a different direction. And that different direction is that we begin to try to integrate the party.”

Sanders has repeatedly said he is in the race to win, not merely make a point. But making as strong a point by staying in could give him more leverage at the Democratic convention to make the party's platform more progressive.

“We want to have progressive values and socialism on the convention’s agenda, rather than slip back into centrist Democratic thinking if [Clinton] gets elected,” said Tick Segerblom, a state senator in Nevada and a Sanders supporter, according to The New York Times.

Sources: The Washington Post, The New York Times / Photo credit: Benjamin Kerensa/Flickr

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