For months, Democratic leaders have been calling on Bernie Sanders to cede the Democratic nomination for president to Hillary Clinton. What many initially thought would be a rowdy Republican convention now looks done and dusted, whereas Democratic officials appear to have a rockier road ahead to their convention in Philadelphia.
Sanders doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, having said he will continue to actively campaign until California votes in its June 7 primary.
His supporters have heard the rallying call.
Events that transpired over the weekend are evidence of an increasingly divisive atmosphere within the Democratic party.
During Nevada’s Democratic state convention on Saturday, a sudden change in the delegate allocation rules caused seven of the 12 delegates Sanders was hoping to secure to be allocated to Clinton.
Nevada Democratic party chair Roberta Lange told the convention delegates when pressed about the rule change: the “ruling by the Chair is not debatable; we cannot be challenged and I move that … and I announce that the rules have been passed by the body.”
Some Sanders supporters reacted in a wildly disproportionate manner to the news, some going as far as making death threats against chairwoman Lange.
In another incident in Nevada, amidst boos from angered Sanders supporters, California Sen. Barbara Boxer pleaded for party unity: “We need civility in the Democratic Party. Civility. Because the whole future of the country is at stake. When you boo me, you’re booing Bernie Sanders. Go ahead. Bernie is my friend.”
Is it reasonable for the Sanders campaign to remain full-throat engaged in the primary race, particularly in light of the deteriorating relationship between Sanders supporters and DNC leadership?
Politico’s David Wade put it bluntly but accurately: “We already know Sanders isn’t going to win the Democratic Party’s nomination; Hillary Clinton has amassed more than 92% of the delegates needed to secure the nomination, and she’ll easily pick up the rest. So right now, Sanders’ campaign is the walking dead: a zombie.”
The Sanders campaign has not been afforded the platform to influence the Democratic party one might anticipate, considering the substantial support base he has developed during the primary season, and in view of the need for unity in November.
Of 45 names put forward by the Sanders campaign, three were chosen by DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL) to serve as at-large members on either of the three standing committees: Rules, Credentials or Platform Drafting.
Has the Bernie Sanders campaign served its ideological purpose?
The Democratic National Convention will decide. Part of the campaign's reasoning for remaining in the race could be to block Clinton from pivoting back to the center too soon. Bernie Sanders will have the support to sustain his campaign though California, whether the Clinton campaign likes it or not.