Are Sanders and Clinton Coming Together? Depends on Who You Ask
Bernie Sanders in March — What we will ask for if we lose. This is apparently still true.
by Gaius Publius
Now that all the primary voting is complete, the Democratic Party has the task of uniting itself. In particular, that means uniting the Sanders voters and the Clinton voters into a force to repel the Republican candidate, presumably Donald Trump. How's that going?
Depends on who you ask (I know, whom).
Here's a good write-up by John Queally at Common Dreams. He opens (my occasional emphasis):
Clinton and Sanders Agree on Trump Threat, But Neither Ready to Endorse Other's VisionAnd there you have it, in one paragraph. She wants his explicit endorsement, which he's so far not giving. He wants her commitment to "transform" (i.e., reform) the Democratic Party, something she won't commit to, or even (apparently) comment on, at least yet.
While Clinton won Washington, DC contest as primary season came to an official end, neither camp shows much willingness to offer concessions to the other
Though Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton emerged from a ninety-minute meeting on Tuesday night reaffirming their shared commitment to defeat Donald Trump in the fall, the senator continued to withhold his endorsement of Clinton while the former secretary of state remained mum on Sanders' repeated calls for a progressive transformation of the Democratic Party's agenda and the primary process.
Here's the story from the Clinton side:
"The two discussed a variety of progressive issues where they share common goals like raising wages for working families, eliminating undisclosed money in politics and reducing the cost of college for students and their families," a Clinton official said in a post-meeting statement.And here's the story from the Sanders side:
While the remarks from the Clinton camp included specific language about "unifying" the party ahead of next month's national convention in Philadelphia, the Sanders campaign was more coy on the issue.So it's on to the Convention, what I've been calling the crossroad in Philadelphia. Queally again:
"Sanders and Clinton agreed to continue working to develop a progressive agenda that addresses the needs of working families and the middle class and adopting a progressive platform for the Democratic National Convention," said Sanders spokesperson Michael Briggs in a statement that avoided use of the recent buzz word "unity."
Missing from either statement was any discussion of the distance or difference between how the two candidates have proposed to reach their "common goals."
As Common Dreams reported on Tuesday, Sanders is determined to bring his call for democratic reforms and a more visionary platform to the convention."Fundamental transformation of the Democratic Party" sounds like "reform" to me. Sounds like he still wants it, whether he's the nominee or not. Sounds also like he's ready to play his cards in July as well, and not fold his hand. (The brief video at the top tells you what he's said all along he wants.)
"The time is long overdue for a fundamental transformation of the Democratic Party," Sanders said.
My take — Don't count on Sanders to surrender his key issues. He's good at judging when and where he has leverage, and he's got more leverage now than he's ever had in his life. In addition, if Matt Taibbi is to be believed, he's fundamentally understood the Democratic Party — and the political system in general — for as long as he's been a part of it.
As I mentioned on a recent Nicole Sandler Show, he's now had a chance to get his feet back under him. Seems like the battle for the "soul of the Party" continues. Sanders won't himself jeopardize the contest against Trump (or whoever), but he knows it's ultimately the candidate's job to sell herself or himself to voters. If Clinton is the candidate, Sanders would say (and has said) that it's her job to make the case. She knows what his voters want. It's up to her to offer it to them.
One of the things that Sanders voters want is ... "a fundamental transformation of the Democratic Party" (including, by the way, the way it raises money). So far, it's a stalemate. Even Debbie Wasserman Schultz insists she's staying on as DNC head.
On to Philadelphia. It's going to be an interesting summer.