During a closed morning meeting with House Democrats on Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was booed by party members who urged him to make public his endorsement of the party’s presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton.
The Los Angeles Times quoted a party member who requested anonymity about the Democratic response during the meeting.
“He went in there with his canned talking points from the stump,” said the anonymous party member. “People just weren’t having it.”
The anxiety around Sanders’s meeting with the Democrats comes from the party’s growing impatience with waiting for the Vermont senator’s endorsement for Hillary. The meeting itself was a Q & A session, in which Sanders was pressed repeatedly for clear answers that he ultimately did little to provide.
Representative Gregory Meeks, of New York’s 5th Congressional District, at one point challenged Sanders directly, evoking applause from party members.
“When are you going to run as a Democrat? This is the Democratic Caucus.”
According to Politico, Sanders spent time elaborating on known talking points of his platform like campaign finance, Wall Street reform, the middle class and trade.
“What I’m trying to do and the reason I ran for president is to help transform this country. To deal with income and wealth, inequality a declining middle class, the fact that so many of the young people leaving school deeply in debt.”
The cool reception was reinforced by a Democratic Party that has always rallied around Hillary Clinton getting frustrated with Bernie’s refusal to step aside and throw his weight behind her.
While other House Democrats have accused Sanders of squandering his own movement Wednesday, he did have sympathizers among them, like Vermont Representative Peter Welch.
“A lot of members are anxious about when is he going to explicitly support Hillary… and what he’s saying is that’s an ongoing process. But if we want to win, we’ve got to take the long-view that we need a platform that is going to genuinely create excitement for our nominee.”
The strategy, however, seems to have at least had an impact on the proposed Democratic Party platform for 2016, MSNBC says.
Additions to the platform, giving it an unmistakably progressive bend, are policies like a $15 minimum wage, abolishing the death penalty, Wall Street plans which directly reference breaking up financial institutions, and the right for workers to join a union which is not necessarily illegal, although can be very difficult in the United States.
Bernie’s campaign has an explicit focus on the working class that has not gone unnoticed even by long-time critics of the Democratic Party like Green Party’s Jill Stein, author and philosopher Professor Noam Chomsky and even Rage Against The Machine Guitarist, Tom Morello.
The plan, though, outside of the platform, seems to be wearing thin on the party establishment. What brought the floor of the House to rain boos on Sanders was a comment that he made about the focus on elections.
“The goal is not to win elections… [but to] transform America.”
“To say, as he did, that the goal is not to win elections but for people to embrace his ideas is disconnected from what we are trying to do here. He had a chance to talk about getting things done and instead talked about prolonging his process.”
It seems for the moment that Bernie Sanders is not done, and plans to press on in pushing his platform which has Democrats concerned due to the impact that it might have on the actual election in November.
[Photo by Mike Groll/AP Images]