In a move that is sure to have tongues wagging and political minds working overtime, former VP Joe Biden is in negotiations to allow Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to keep his entire delegate haul. With Biden being the last candidate standing and the almost certain nominee, it seems this is a sop to the disgruntled Bernie Bros, but it could herald a more significant problem for the Democrats.
Under the Democratic Party rules, Sanders would normally be required to forfeit a third of his delegates to Biden, adding over 300 to the frontrunner. Yet in an act of politicking disguised as goodwill, kindly Uncle Joe is seeking to keep those delegates, and the influence they might wield at the convention, in the hands of a rival.
Hand Across Milwaukee
An official for the Biden campaign spoke with The Hill, saying:
“We feel strongly that it is in the best interest of the party to ensure that the Sanders campaign receives statewide delegates to reflect the work that they have done to contribute to the movement that will beat Donald Trump this fall.”
With Bernie choosing to remain on the upcoming primary ballots, he is still in a position that could help him shape the party platform through which delegates are sent to the convention. Despite his endorsement of Biden, there are fears that Sanders’ supporters could cause a major embarrassment to the nominee.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton suffered humiliation when raucous Bernie fans booed her name at the party’s Philadelphia convention. Clinton was in a far stronger position than Biden is today; if the crowd gets out of hand, it could cause a lot more reputational damage.
Fear and Loathing?
There is no doubt that Sanders has a lot of support across the country and an activist base that appears far more outgoing and focused than anything Biden can muster. If the Vermont socialist is cast aside entirely, it could signal a major backlash from disgruntled Dems.
As Liberty Nation’s Sarah Cowgill wrote regarding the fate of the Bernie Bros:
“All appearances indicate the Bros are suffering from shock. Yet just a scant few months ago, the Bros were teeming with righteous anger at the thought of the Democratic National Committee rigging the contest and dismissing the angry socialist – again.”
She surmises that any actions on behalf of the Biden campaign now need to consider potential danger from a significant voting group. She said, “The Bros have called for re-education camps for Republicans – Gulags, if you will – vowing that ‘cops would die’ on the streets of Milwaukee, the site of the Democratic Party convention.”
And while this is almost certainly unrepresentative of the average Sanders supporter, the thought that such a huge chunk of the traditionally Democratic-leaning electorate might actively try to scupper a Biden win – even by just staying at home on November 3 – will be causing nightmares in the Biden HQ.
Read more from Mark Angelides.