Bernie Sanders Used California Loss To Demand DNC Private Plane As Part of Negotiations With Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

Ahead of Bernie Sanders’ California defeat last month, his team began negotiations with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, with one of their demands being that the DNC provide a private plane that would be funded and staffed by the party. After it became clear that Bernie Sanders had lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, it was widely expected that he would fall behind the party’s nominee, however, Sanders’ compliance came with a number of demands of his own.

According to BuzzFeed, Bernie Sanders’ campaign drafted a memo titled “End Game” ahead of his loss in California. The memo lays out Bernie Sanders’ expectations if he was to support Hillary Clinton, including a private plane staffed and funded by the Democratic National Committee. The plane would be used “for a series of fall rallies in battleground states,” suggesting that Bernie Sanders wasn’t too keen on providing his own transport whilst campaigning for Hillary Clinton later this year.

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The final considerations of Bernie Sanders’ campaign are detailed in the note shared with campaign staff. The Bernie 2016 campaign was tasked with choosing between continued “divisive critique” whilst risking diminishing their voice within the party, or to fall behind the DNC’s candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Ultimately, the campaign made the decision to support Hillary Clinton whilst they were still able to leverage their demands. The section of the memo in support of falling behind Hillary Clinton talks about how Bernie Sanders’ appearances in campaigning for Hillary Clinton would be better in the long run. According to the Hill, a large portion of the memo detailed Sanders’ conditions for concession, including the removal of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman and a progressive platform for the DNC going forward.

Whilst throughout and beyond the California Primary, Bernie Sanders maintained a line that his campaign wasn’t over, the leaked “End Game” memo shows that his campaign team was ready to admit defeat and use their remaining support to leverage the Democratic National Committee. In fact, many members of the campaign team were prepared to concede the race as soon as possible in order to have more leverage within the party going forward, saying “as time goes on our leverage will diminish.”


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The memo was first discovered on June 15 in a Los Angeles hotel where Bernie Sanders’ campaign team had been staying. At that time, the campaign was considering whether to concede defeat to Hillary Clinton or fight through the convention and force a roll-call vote for the nomination. Bernie Sanders ultimately decided on the former option in order to appease the DNC by eventually endorsing Hillary Clinton after it became clear that she had secured the party’s nomination.

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Bernie Sanders was largely expected to continue his fight to the bitter end, and that’s something his supporters liked about the candidate. However, the memo reveals that his campaign team didn’t put much thought into that option, instead deciding what they’d demand from the DNC in order to support Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

According to the memo, the purpose of the aforementioned private plane provided by the DNC would be to allow Sanders to keep up a robust campaign schedule. It would also mean that Bernie Sanders was able to keep up a style of travel that he had grown accustomed to during the later stages of his campaign, including a large private jet, motorcade, and retinue of security and travelling staff, quite a break from the candidate who was once always happy to fly the middle seat in coach.

[Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images]