WASHINGTON, June 27, 2016 – Bernie Sanders has said he will vote for Hillary Clinton, despite remaining in the 2016 presidential race. Sanders justifies staying in the race by saying it is to ensure Donald Trump does not become the next president. The connection between Sanders’ staying in and Trump’s losing is not clear.
While Sanders cannot win the nomination with Clinton having the majority with 2,811 delegates, more than 1,000 delegates to the Democratic convention will be there for Sanders. The hope of Sanders and his followers is that their presence will re-energize the party, bringing new blood to the party, which will change to represent the working people and the concerns of the working class.
Sanders’ promise to vote Clinton confirms reports that the his bid for the White House is over. Political insiders say a divide within the Sanders camp has some encouraging the senator to stay in the race despite the lack of any chance of winning and others encouraging him to drop out and show party unity.
Sanders obviously enjoys the limelight and he wants to stay on Clinton’s good side, hence the promise to vote for her. However, as long as he is a candidate he cannot officially “support” her.
Clinton’s low favorability ratings mean that Sanders voters will vote Trump over Clinton without Sanders’ endorsement. Recent polls showed only 55 perfcent of Sanders followers transferring to Clinton. Democrats fear that the rest of his followers will vote for Donald Trump or Gary Johnson. Voting for Johnson, while not directly endorsing Trump, takes votes from Clinton that she may need to win.
Sanders will not endorse Clinton until he receives assurances that Clinton accepts his platform, including a $15 minimum wage and free college, which she may be unable to do without fully embracing Sanders’ socialist ideology.
For the RNC, two Democratic candidates are better than one, as Sanders continues to hammer Clinton policies. For the DNC, having both Clinton and Sanders come together and attack Trump could help ensure their victory.
Another Sanders concern over Clinton is that there is little doubt she will not fight for the working class over the Wall Street tycoons, whom she has supported her entire life. Any chance of Clinton’s turning her back on Wall Street and crony capitalism is small, regardless of anything she may promise Sanders or voters.
Sanders’ staying in the campaign mirrors the election of 1864, a time when the country was divided over the Civil War and the Democratic Party was split between the War Democrats and the Peace Democrats. That divide resulted in a contested convention that in the end nominated George McClellan for president.
Sanders’ promised announcement came at a time when the world is focused on Brexit instead of the 2016 election, which did not give Sanders the much coveted attention that could have also helped him in his quest for a speaking appearance at the Democratic convention.