Bernie Sanders' Supporters Could Take Fight Over Democratic Party Platform to the Convention
Also, Sanders says his endorsement of Hillary Clinton is "not there at this moment."
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made it clear that he intends to do everything he can to help the Democratic Party defeat Donald Trump and that he would vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she were the nominee, but contrary to what Vice President Joe Biden said on NPR yesterday, Sanders told MSNBC's Chris Hayes that "We are not there at this moment" regarding a full-throated endorsement of Clinton.
One possible reason for Sanders' reluctance to go full-Clinton is the tepid support of some of his hand-picked representatives on the 15-person panel in charge with drafting the 2016 Democratic National Committee (DNC)'s platform. Although no one voted against the draft (one member reportedly abstained and another was absent for the vote), Sanders supporter and drafting committee member Bill McKibben wrote a scathing op-ed for Politico earlier this week titled, "The Clinton Campaign Is Obstructing Change to the Democratic Platform."
McKibben's main complaints centered around on environmental issues, of which he and other Sanders supporters feel Clinton is only interested in talking the talk:
We all agreed that America should be operating on 100 percent clean energy by 2050, but then I proposed, in one amendment after another, a series of ways we might actually get there. A carbon tax? Voted down 7-6 (one of the DNC delegates voted with each side). A ban on fracking? Voted down 7-6. An effort to keep fossils in the ground, at least on federal land? Voted down 7-6. A measure to mandate that federal agencies weigh the climate impact of their decisions? Voted down 7-6. Even a plan to keep fossil fuel companies from taking private land by eminent domain, voted down 7-6. (We did, however, reach unanimous consent on more bike paths!)
In other words, the Clinton campaign is at this point rhetorically committed to taking on our worst problems, but not willing to say how. Which is the slightly cynical way politicians have addressed issues for too long—and just the kind of slickness that the straightforward Sanders campaign rejected.
The approved platform draft will be voted on by a 187-member committee in Orlando, two weeks before the DNC begins in Philadelphia on July 25. Of those 187, 72 members are reportedly allied with Sanders, and they will likely advocate to have their previously voted-down initiatives included in the platform as amendments.
Sanders' policy director Warren Gunnels told Politico, "If we don't win on some of these amendments what will need to happen is there will need to be at least 40 members voting for those amendments and the same 40 members will also have to file a minority vote and that would give us an opportunity to take that minority vote to the floor of the convention in Philadelphia."
He's no longer campaigning, and his supporters are quietly coming to grips with the fact that he won't be the nominee, but Sanders' perhaps quixotic quest to radically transform the Democratic Party continues because he has thus far refused to hand over his last remaining piece of leverage: his endorsement of Clinton.
And while there won't be a knock-down, drag-out fight on the floor of the convention over delegates, Sanders and his supporters could very well ensure that the typically dull cursory coronation of the nominee will be made more interesting, and perhaps even confrontational, by insisting that their "democratic socialist" revolution is significantly recognized by the Party and it's "business as usual" presumptive nominee.