The race for the Democratic nomination ended two weeks ago, but Bernie Sanders has neither conceded nor dropped out. A week ago, his campaign manager went so far as to tell MSNBC the senator is still an “active candidate for president.”
It made his comments this morning that much more surprising. During an MSNBC appearance, Nicolle Wallace asked Sanders a straightforward question: “Are you going to vote for Hillary Clinton in November?” The senator replied, in a matter-of-fact sort of way, “Yes.”
Sanders added, “I think the issue right here is I’m gonna do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump.”
But Sanders also dismissed the idea that he should withdraw from the Democratic race now that Clinton has secured the nomination.“Why would I want to do that when I want to fight to make sure that we have the best platform that we possibly can, that we win the most delegates that we can?” he said.
Regardless of his reasoning, this appears to be the first time since the end of the Democratic primaries and caucuses that Sanders has said publicly that he will vote for Clinton. He added in a separate interview, “I don’t have the votes to become the nominee. I know that, you know that. We’re both good at arithmetic.”
I can appreciate why these may seem like fairly obvious observations, but let’s not forget that there are some ardent Sanders supporters who still believe it’s possible that the Vermont senator will win the Democratic nomination. For them, his on-air comments this morning will probably come as something of a surprise.
In fact, talking to Stephen Colbert last night, Sanders further took the wind from the sails of “Bernie or Bust” activists when the senator explained, “My supporters are smart enough to know that we don’t want a bigot to become president.”
As for his expectations for the near future, Sanders wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post, published yesterday with a headline that read, “Here’s what we want.”
As we head toward the Democratic National Convention, I often hear the question, “What does Bernie want?” Wrong question. The right question is what the 12 million Americans who voted for a political revolution want.And the answer is: They want real change in this country, they want it now and they are prepared to take on the political cowardice and powerful special interests which have prevented that change from happening.
The rest of the piece featured Sanders’ standard list of priorities and goals.