Sanders wants superdelegates to back candidate with most votes, DNC says 'rules can't be changed for one person'

The frontrunning candidate said the one who gets the most number of delegates should be given the nomination, sidelining superdelegates while democrats say 'rules can't be changed for one person'

                            Sanders wants superdelegates to back candidate with most votes, DNC says 'rules can't be changed for one person'
Bernie Sanders (Getty Images)

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ strong run in the Democratic presidential primary has hardly assured his own party about the results of the November 3 general election. The candidate finished a close second in the Iowa caucuses and won the primaries in New Hampshire and Nevada and is leading the fray with 45 delegates at the moment. He is also looking good ahead of the South Carolina primary on Saturday (February 29) and could clinch the show on Super Tuesday (March 3).

But, his prospects of bagging the party’s nomination for the presidential election have, however, left the Democrats nervous. 

Sanders has recently argued that if none of the candidates in the field succeeds in getting the required number of delegates to clinch the nomination, the candidate with the most number of delegates should automatically get picked, negating the use of superdelegates. He was the only one among the six candidates on stage at the Nevada Democratic debate on February 19 who felt that way. The Democrats are worried with Sanders’ socialist credentials and his viewpoint on the delegates has made things uneasy between him and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). 

Democrat lawmakers object to Sanders' viewpoint on delegates

California Congressman Juan Vargas, who has endorsed former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg for the presidency, slammed Sanders when he told Politico, “No, no, I think the rules are set and we ought to follow the rules. Especially when someone says follow the rules who's not even a Democrat.” Vargas said Sanders wants the party to rubber-stamp his election and objected to the idea. 

Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester seconded Vargas to say the rules will not be compromised for anybody. “That’s not what the rules say,” he was quoted as saying by Politico. He took a dig at President Donald Trump too saying the latter is one who always flouts law and warned the Democratic Party to follow that.

Although Sanders is leading the delegates’ count with 45, there are eight other candidates in the field which could see the delegates more divided compared to the past primaries. Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has 25 delegates at the moment and is in second place.

A Democratic candidate needs to win 1,991 delegate votes at the DNC over the summer to ensure nomination. If none succeeds to reach the number, it will come down to the 771 so-called super delegates that comprise elected officials, party activists and others who can cast their ballots for the candidate of their choice. In 2016, Sanders lost the nomination race to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton largely because of the superdelegate factor

The Democratic camp has a major fear that if Sanders goes on to win the nomination, the party would not only taste another defeat in the presidential election but also might lose majority in the House that they reclaimed in the 2018 midterm elections. The Senate is also under the control of the Republicans. 

Superdelegates helped Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 (Getty Images)

California representative Scott Peters thinks Sanders’ candidacy could sink the Democrats’ re-election prospects while New Jersey’s fresh Congressman Tom Malinowski said he did not want to ruin the opportunity to beat Trump by nominating a candidate who divided the Democrats themselves. 

Virginia’s fresh representative Elaine Luria also echoed the thought saying Sanders becoming the Democratic nominee would make it “incredibly divisive” and put centrist lawmakers like herself in danger. The former navy commander said Sanders added fuel to the fire ignited by the Republicans to paint all Democrats as socialists. 

Most of the newly elected Democratic members of the House are moderates and the party believes that their chances of getting re-elected this November would be in jeopardy if Sanders gets the nomination. The GOP needs only 18 seats to reclaim control of the House. 

Superdelegates differ with Sanders

The DNC Convention will take place in Milwaukee between July 13-16 and there, the Democratic Party will formally nominate its presidential candidate to take on Trump.
The New York State Democratic Party chairman and a superdelegate, Jay Jacobs told the New York Times, “Bernie wants to redefine the rules and just say he just needs a plurality,' Jacobs told the Times. 'I don't think we buy that. I don't think the mainstream of the Democratic Party buys that. If he doesn't have a majority, it stands to reason that he may not become the nominee.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, said the party will stand united behind the candidate who wins the nomination. She said that the party is also confident of winning the House.

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