Independent Senator and everyone’s favorite grandpa Bernie Sanders has taken heat lately over his insistence to stay in the Democratic primary race despite the overwhelming odds against him. Basically, he’s trailing in pledged delegates by 270 or so, and Hillary Clinton has tallied more than 3 million votes in total. For him to catch her in pledged delegates, he needs to win each of the remaining states with at least 65% of the popular vote, a nearly impossible task.
However, the Sanders camp has stated that their plan involves switching superdelegates, the party insiders who are not bound by the state’s voters, prior to or at the convention by convincing them that Sanders is the best candidate to face Donald Trump based on national general election polls. This flies in the face of Sanders’ rhetoric that the Democratic primary has been rigged against him, as it seems like he is trying to game the system despite trailing in votes, going against the will of Democratic voters.
The criticism of Sanders’ stance on using superdelegates to his advantage continued on Sunday. During an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd pointed out that Sanders was contradictory and hypocritical when detailing his three-point plan to win the nomination.
After Todd asked Bernie how he can win in the face of the math, the Vermont Senator answered with the following:
“Fair question. And I think there are three paths to victory. Number one, I want to go into the convention with more pledged delegates than Secretary Clinton. And that’s going to be an uphill fight. Because for 270 or so delegates, and we’ve got 46 percent of the pledged delegates. What I want to do, and I think we can, is win California here, and win under the big vote, do very, very well in the other five states.
And I believe going into the convention, if we can do this, with the majority of pledged delegates, is a very symbolic victory. Second of all, we’re going to talk to those superdelegates in states where we have won landslide victories, 60, 70, 80 percent of the vote, to say, “Do what the people in your state want. They voted for Bernie Sanders, you as the superdelegates should follow their wishes.”
Third point and most important point, as you know Chuck, there are over 400 superdelegates who came onto secretary Clinton’s campaign eight months before the first ballot was cast. Before anybody else was in the race. Before they could get a sense of what the campaign was about.
Right now, in every major poll, national poll and statewide poll done in the last month, six weeks, we are defeating Trump often by big numbers, and always at a larger margin than Secretary Clinton is. We’re going to make the case to the superdelegates, “Your job is to make sure that Trump is defeated, that Bernie Sanders, in fact, for a variety of reasons, not just polling, is the strongest candidate.”
Reading that, you can see right away that Bernie is contradicting himself. He’s saying that he’ll insist that the superdelegates in the states where he won by landslides switch allegiance to him. However, he also wants others that are supporting Hillary, even if they are in states where she won overwhelmingly, to support him because of his poll numbers against Trump.
Chuck hammered him on that right away. saying the following:
“Senator, in your answer there, you’re basically contradicting yourself on the issue of superdelegates in this way: you’re saying you want them to respect the vote in their state, then at the same time, you say, “But oh, by the way, for those of you that are a superdelegate in a state that Clinton won, why don’t you think about the general election?” It’s a little bit hypocritical to be on both sides of those issues.”
Bernie insisted that he wasn’t being a hypocrite, and that he just wanted the party insiders who sided with Hillary at the beginning to take a look at his campaign’s chances in the general election. He then brought up that he has energy and the youth vote on his side and that Democrats need a high turnout to win in November. (Of course, Bernie has largely won during this primary in states where voter turnout was lower, like caucuses, but I digress.)
Todd wanted to know if Sanders would concede defeat if he lost California, especially considering that he had just noted that he feels he needs to win big in the remaining few states and California has by far the most pledged delegates left. Here’s the exchange between the two:
Is it fair to say then if you don’t win California, you believe your campaign is over?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:
No, that’s what you said. I didn’t say. What I said is obviously California is very, very important, 475 superdelegates. Obviously, if we don’t do well in California, it will make our path much much harder. No question about it. But I think we have a good chance to win in California, maybe win big, and maybe win four or five of the other states that are off on June 7th.
But without a California victory, you can’t win a majority of pledged delegates. And obviously, you will once again not succeed in a big state with a diverse population. It’s going to be hard for you to convince Democrats to go with you without a California victory. Fair?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:
Hey, look, Chuck, California is the big enchilada, so to speak. Obviously it is enormously important, and obviously we want to win it. But let me just tell you something. You know, my campaign has been written off from before we started. Nobody thought we would do anything. We’ve now won 20 states, primaries and caucuses, and I think by the end of the process, we may win half of the states. So we’re going to fight till the last vote is cast and try to appeal to the last delegate that we can.
So, no. Even if after the final Super Tuesday Sanders is behind by roughly two to three hundred pledged delegates, trailing in the popular vote by about 3 million, and Hillary Clinton has secured the majority of pledged delegates and has the necessary amount of all delegates to win, Bernie is insisting on taking this all the way to the convention.
Sounds like good times.