With much of the political world trying unsuccessfully to get Bernie Sanders and his campaign to spell out the conditions under which Sanders will fold his campaign and support the nominee, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent decided to pose the question to Jeff Merkley, Sanders’s only supporter among his fellow senators and a key asset in the Oregon primary that fell to Team Bernie yesterday:>
I asked him whether Sanders should keep fighting for super-delegates in June, after losing the pledged delegate count and popular vote.
“When a nominee wins a majority of both those categories, it is time for us to come together, link arms and go forward,” Merkley said. “It would be inconsistent, given the commentary on super-delegates, to depend on super-delegates to turn over those first two categories of evaluating party members’ support.”
Asked if he would support Sanders’s decision, under these conditions, to keep the battle going to the convention floor, Merkley said: “Absolutely not.”
Just last night, after winning Merkley’s state, Sanders said, without putting any conditions on it, that he would indeed “keep the battle going to the convention floor.” It remains unclear if he’d do so as an active candidate contesting the nomination or as the leader of a faction demanding various concessions on the platform or future primary rules. Up until now, the operative assumption has been that where Sanders leads, his supporters would follow. It will be interesting to see if other high-profile participants in the “political revolution” take Merkley’s position. Beyond that, he’s provided a pretty clear model for what Sanders and his campaign operatives ought to be saying if they want to bring their campaign to an end with some finality before things get ugly in Philadelphia.