The Sanders camp has finally moved to the acceptance stage of electoral grief and is now coming to the Clinton camp for negotiations for a unity ticket. Greg Sargent:
The signs are everywhere this morning: The Clinton and Sanders camps are now signaling how the Democratic primaries might wind down without too much noise, contentiousness, disruption, and anger. Could things still get very ugly? Yes. But at this point, that’s looking less likely than the alternative.
In an interview with me, Rep. Keith Ellison, a top supporter of Bernie Sanders who is also the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, suggested the Clinton camp had some work to do in order to appeal to Sanders’s supporters. But he also carefully noted that Sanders would not do anything to imperil the party unity that will be required to defeat Donald Trump.
“Young people have a set of priorities that make them want to support Bernie Sanders,” Ellison said. “If hypothetically she wins the nomination, in order to get people to support Bernie, she’s going to have to carry the banner that Bernie carried in an overt way. She’s going to have to make it clear to people who support Bernie that she gets where he’s coming from.”
But Ellison added: “Every Bernie supporter knows that this Supreme Court issue is looming. We’ll have party unity….everybody has a responsibility to make sure there will never be a President Trump. Bernie has been around a long time….he’s not going to hand this country over to Donald Trump.”
Bernie is a lot of things, but he's not stupid. You don't survive Congress without being able to negotiate and compromise at some level. It's what a lot of the Tea Party stalwarts are finding out the hard way in this election cycle. Perform or be replaced by somebody who will.
Meanwhile, Politico reports that Sanders is increasingly focused on seeking influence over the party agenda as a way to wind things down. He’s hoping for signs of genuine commitment to priorities like debt free college and a $15 minimum wage, and to reforms to the nomination process that might maximize participation among the sort of young, unaffiliated Sanders voters who were excluded from the New York primary.
On the Clinton side, the Post reports that a top Clinton backer, Senator Dianne Feinstein, is now calling for both camps to “work together, across our party, to have a platform that represents the views of Democrats.” And:
In 2008, after the divisive primary season concluded, Feinstein opened her Washington manse to host a secret unity meeting between Obama and Clinton. She said she would reprise that role for Clinton and Sanders. “I’d be very happy to offer that,” Feinstein said.
The other day, another top Clinton backer, Senator Sherrod Brown — who has great credibility among economic progressives — also offered in an interview with me to take part in any negotiating efforts to unite the camps. He even suggested that Clinton “should work with him on the platform,” and offered some areas of common ground they could reach on financial reform (an area of real disagreement), such as how to toughen up Dodd-Frank’s requirements for big banks’ plans to wind down in a crisis.
Clinton, for her part, isn't stupid either. Sanders has definitely pushed her platform to the left on a number of issues. The trick here is to be as gracious as possible and to share the credit (if at times to even give the credit to Sanders) in order to unify the left.
Remember, she's been through this before from Sanders's perspective. And she ended up Secretary of State as a result.
We'll see if Bernie is that clever, but he seems to have at least surrounded himself with competent surrogates at the top end, Sherrod Brown and Keith Ellison are pretty sharp and are used to doing heavy lifting on negotiating with other large egos.
That this was the plan has been apparent for a good six to eight weeks now, with the primary essentially being over back on March 15, if not March 1. Reconciliation and unity was always going to happen, because this is what adults do in a system that requires compromise and moving forward.
Hatchets get buried, guys.