Bernie Sanders has no immediate plans to drop out of the presidential race, but he did admit that if he “can’t make it,” he would be willing to endorse rival Hillary Clinton — if she meets certain requirements.
Sanders, whose campaign does not lack in enthusiasm but does trail behind Clinton in the delegate count, said that his chief priorities include pushing the Democratic party officials to embrace what he considers his “anti-establishment platform” and expand on its base.
“If I can’t make it — and we’re going to try as hard as we can until the last vote is cast — we want to completely revitalize the Democratic Party and make it a party of the people rather than one of large campaign contributors,” Sanders explained.
Sanders also detailed certain policy demands he would ask of Clinton. Among those policy demands are two issues that are central to Sanders’ campaign — and two issues where he differs on from Clinton. First, he would ask Clinton to include a single-payer health care system in her platform as well as a $15 minimum wage. Clinton instead plans on expanding upon the Affordable Care Act and has called for raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $12, believing that a jump to $15 may be too much for low-wage states and cause them to lay off workers or hire fewer workers. However, it is unclear whether her beliefs take into account that there is a five-year phase-in period for employers to get to the $15-an-hour minimum wage level.
In addition to that, Sanders said he would require Clinton to impose tougher regulations in the financial industry, including the closing of corporate loopholes, as well as a “vigorous effort to address climate change,” a matter that Sanders takes very seriously. He also seems to doubt Clinton’s own seriousness on the matter because of her ties to oil and gas companies.
“I am very worried. I mean, I talk to these scientists. This planet is in serious danger. You can’t cuddle up to the fossil fuel industry — you’ve got to take them on,” Sanders said, alluding to those ties.
He also expressed concern about Clinton’s consistency, or lack thereof, on major policy issues.
“What we need is to create a movement which holds elected officials accountable and not let them flip,” Sanders said.
Sanders has built much of his campaign on repeatedly highlighting his policy difference with Clinton. Doing so has led many Sanders supporters to label and dismiss Clinton as an “establishment candidate,” and some Democratic leaders have expressed fear that if Clinton does grab the nomination, she may fail to convert Sanders’ progressive base to her own camp. Because of that, Clinton may have to adopt more of Sanders’ policy positions in order to garner their support.
There has been some clamoring from Democrats for Bernie Sanders to exit the race so that the party can begin clearly planning for the upcoming general election. It was reported by the New York Times that even President Obama has privately suggested that it is time for Sanders to drop out and let Clinton take the nomination.
Sanders brushed that off, however, saying, simply, “We are in this thing to win.”
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver, as well as his senior campaign adviser Tad Devine, both agree that not only is Sanders “in it to win it” but argues that he still has a real chance to catch up to Clinton’s delegate lead. There is, they say, plenty of time and point to predictions in states where Sanders is expected to do quite well.
“We are literally about halfway through,” Weaver said.
“We agree we are behind, but we also think we are going to win this game,” Devine said. “We are just not intimidated by the numbers.”
So although there are certain conditions under which Sanders would support Clinton, Sanders also made it clear that everything hinges on one matter of great importance.
She has to win first.
[Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images Entertainment]