There has been some talk about the possibility of a contested convention for Democrats in July if neither Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or former Vice President Joe Biden obtained a clear majority of delegates in the primary process.
That may not happen, however, to the relief of many Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) caved this week, saying that he will “drop out” if Biden has more delegates once all votes have been cast across the country.
Sanders had surged to the front of the pack of Democratic 2020 candidates after doing well in the early caucus and primary states, but Biden once again reclaimed frontrunner status after a strong showing in the Super Tuesday primaries.
‘I’ll drop out’ if Biden has more votes
Sanders’ stunning admission came during an interview on Wednesday with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. Maddow asked, “If, at the end of the day, it turns out that Vice President Biden is going to have more delegates than you do heading into the convention, will you drop out?”
“Of course I’ll drop out — he will win,” Sanders replied. “I mean, we’ll run through, I suspect, we’ll run through the process, letting people have the right to vote. But if Biden walks into the convention, or at the end of the process has more votes than me, he’s the winner.”
Pluralities, majorities, and superdelegates
Pressing the issue, Maddow asked, “And that’s true whether or not he has a majority or a just plurality?”
“Absolutely. I mean, that’s what I’ve said,” Sanders replied. “Look, here’s the story, and there’s some confusion about this.”
“Last time around in 2016 — you talked about 2016 — you’ll remember that before the very first vote was cast in Iowa, Hillary Clinton had 500 superdelegates at her side. She walked into the campaign with 500 superdelegates,” the senator said. “I thought that was totally outrageous and absurd and undemocratic.”
“We fought very hard in the Democratic rules process to get rid of all superdelegates. That is my preference. I think it should be the decision of the people, not Washington insiders,” he continued. “We lost, but what we did get is, not getting rid of all super delegates at the convention voting, but that on the first ballot there won’t be any superdelegates voting.”
“So in other words, we go into the first ballot, it is representatives, delegates, who are represented by the people, and I think that that’s right,” Sanders added. He went on to suggest that a bitterly contested fight over delegates at the convention would prove to be a “real disaster” for the Democratic Party.
What will Sanders’ supporters do?
The Democratic primary process is only about a third of the way complete with dozens of states remaining to still cast votes. While Biden may hold a lead in the delegate count over Sanders at the moment, anything can happen to change that between now and the convention in July.
That said, based on what Sanders told Maddow, it would appear that Sanders will be unwilling to press the issue if Biden earns more delegates than him prior to the convention and will bow out of the nominating contest. How his hardcore supporters may feel about that concession is an entirely different question, however.