Donald Trump believes that Bernie Sanders should desert the Democratic Party and ran as an Independent, he revealed in a tweet.
Bernie Sanders has been treated terribly by the Democrats—both with delegates & otherwise. He should show them, & run as an Independent.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2016
Trump’s tweet was likely a reference to the controversial “superdelegates” that Democrats use in their primaries (Republicans do not), by which high-power party officials are able to ensure that the party’s frontrunner can maintain their lead against possible insurgent candidates like Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist who serves as U.S. senator from Vermont.
According to Real Clear Politics, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton leads Sanders in the delegate count, 2,205 to 1,401. But Clinton’s lead among superdelegates, 522-39, inflates her lead — without factoring them in, Clinton only leads Sanders 1,683-1,362.
Sanders: Superdelegates Should Heed the Will of Voters
In a recent Washington, D.C., press conference, Sanders highlighted the issue of superdelegates. He began by stating that his campaign has won 17 contests thus far, and had over 7 million individual campaign contributions, which is “more than any presidential candidate in history at this point in a campaign. We do not have a Super PAC, we do not get our money from Wall Street or the drug companies, or powerful corporations.”
But then, he stated how much the superdelegates are impeding his path to victory.
“A Democratic candidate needs 2,383 delegates in order to win the nomination,” Sanders said, and pointed out that there are also 719 superdelegates.
“Let me be very clear: it is virtually impossible for Secretary Clinton to reach the majority of convention delegates by June 14 — that is the last day that a primary will be held — with pledged delegates alone…She will need superdelegates to take her over the top in Philadelphia (site of the Democratic convention).”
Sanders went on to predict that Democrats will have a contested convention.
With regard to superdelegates, Sanders admitted to “taking on virtually the entire Democratic establishment.” But he urged them to be sensitive to vote according to the will of the voters of the states they represent.
“Of the 719 superdelegates,” Sanders complained, “many of them committed to Secretary Clinton even before we got into this campaign!”
He said that while his campaign has won 45 percent of the pledged delegates, “we have won only seven percent of the superdelegates.”
There is nothing I would like more than to take on and defeat Donald Trump, someone who must never become president of this country.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 4, 2016
I would rather run against Crooked Hillary Clinton than Bernie Sanders and that will happen because the books are cooked against Bernie!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2016
Hence, the tweet from Donald Trump urging Bernie Sanders to run as an Independent or third party candidate.
Sanders Supporters Don’t Like Trump
However, a CNN poll gave new hope to Democrats that the “Bernie or bust” theory (i.e., that Sanders supporters will stay home if Clinton garners the nomination) will not stand; the poll found that when asked whom they preferred between Clinton and Trump, Clinton led overwhelmingly about Sanders’ supporters, 86-10.
Sanders voters in new CNN poll favor Clinton over Trump 86-10. Non-Trump GOP voters favor Trump over Clinton 70-24: https://t.co/duFYabvlHc— Alan Abramowitz (@AlanIAbramowitz) May 4, 2016
“The reality of staring at Donald Trump over there as the Republican nominee, now that that’s settled, I think will do wonders to concentrate the minds of Democrats,” Emory political scientist Alan Abramowitz told Vox.
The Democratic Party is going to have no trouble unifying: https://t.co/vc3LI2wilo— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) May 5, 2016
Abramowitz pointed out that the policy differences between Clinton and Sanders on most issues “aren’t that great, and they get blown out of proportion in a primary contest.”
This runs counter to Trump’s claim that he might be able to successfully court Sanders’ voters in the event that Clinton wins the nomination. “The people that are with Bernie Sanders – the young people – I really believe they’re going to come over and vote for me,” Trump said to Sean Hannity of Fox News.
Trump trails both Clinton and Sanders in head-to-head general election match-ups, as chronicled by Real Clear Politics. Therefore, a third-party candidacy from Sanders would strengthen his chances of getting elected in the November election.
What do you think? Will Bernie Sanders run as a third-party candidate if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination?
[Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images]