Democrats Cave, Will Give Sanders a Say in Party Platform

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The revolution lives!Photo: MARK RALSTON/This content is subject to copyright.

Bernie Sanders is not going down without a fight, no matter how ill-advised that fight may be. Despite the fact that Hillary Clinton is about 90 delegates shy of clinching the Democratic nomination, Sanders said in a statement on Monday that she “may want to be not quite so presumptuous about thinking that she is a certain winner” because voters in certain states “have suggested otherwise.”

It’s possible Sanders still believes he has a chance at the nomination (he did maintain he has a “shot” at winning California’s primary), but his top advisers have hinted that he’s simply hoping to pick up as many delegates as possible by the time he arrives at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia — that way his proven support base will give him maximum influence over the party’s agreed-upon platform.

Indeed, the Washington Post reported last week that a deal was in the works to throw Sanders a bone at the convention, and Reuters confirmed on Monday that, of the 15-member drafting committee in charge of writing the party platform, Sanders will name five, even if he’s not the nominee. (Clinton will name six if she’s the nominee, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party’s chair and Sanders’s sworn enemy, will name the remaining four.)

It’s an unorthodox move for the party, whose rules technically allow the chair to name all 15 members of the committee. The Democratic party called its decision “an effort to make this the most representative and inclusive process in history,” and Reuters points out that the decision was probably an effort to appease Sanders supporters, who “still pack rallies by the thousands as he campaigns in California.”

Sanders has already begun to make his stance known on issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; on Friday, he said he’d like to see a more “even-handed” approach to the issue that takes into account “the needs of the Palestinian people” — a shift in Democrats’ traditional stance. And on Monday, Sanders told the Associated Press that the platform should reflect, “the needs of working families, the poor, and young people as opposed to one that represents Wall Street and corporate America.”

He also said that, although he “condemn[s] any and all forms of violence,” things could get “messy” if party members fail to meet his supporters’ demands:

I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs, it’s going to be messy,” Sanders said. “Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle but that is where the Democratic Party should go.”

Asked if the convention could be messy, Sanders said: “So what? Democracy is messy. Everyday life is messy. But if you want everything to be quiet and orderly and allow, you know, just things to proceed without vigorous debate, that is not what democracy is about.”

But, he acknowledged that allowing his campaign to name members to the drafting committee is a good start. It’s an “excellent time to educate the American people,” he said. “There are two sides to every issue, and I’m sure that Secretary Clinton will have very vigorous proponents of her point of view, as we will have.”