Washington – Almost certainly Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has agreed to allow his former primary rival Bernie Sanders to stay with hundreds of delegates he would otherwise have lost by leaving the presidential race, in a deal worked to avoid resentment that plagued the party. in 2016 and contributed to the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the elections.
Under party rules, Sanders should lose a third of the delegates he has won in the primaries by continuing the process, and states select people to participate in the Democratic National Convention. The rules state that these delegates must be supporters of Biden, since he is the only active candidate for the nomination.
But in a memorandum obtained by The Associated Press, the Biden campaign says it will work with Sanders and state parties to fill those positions with Sanders supporters. The joint memo from the Biden and Sanders campaigns was sent to state Democratic parties on Thursday.RELATED
“We must defeat Donald Trump in the fall and we think this deal will help unify the party to get Trump out of the White House and not just rebuild the United States, but transform him,” the two campaigns said in a joint statement.
To some extent, the delegate count is purely academic. Although Biden has not formally reached the total of 1,991 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination on the first vote at the convention – he is practically assured of candidacy. All of his rivals – including Sanders – have backed him after completing their own campaigns.
The deal, however, is an important step in both camps to avoid acrimony between the Democratic establishment and progressive insurgents that marked the 2016 primary fight between Sanders and Clinton, the eventual nominee. Clinton and Sanders vied for delegates until the end of the primary schedule, and then wrestled on the party platform and rules well into the summer.
Biden and his advisers have been trying to avoid the disunity that left Clinton unable to attract some Sanders supporters to his fall campaign. Sanders, likewise, has promised since he suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden weeks ago that he would do everything possible to help Biden beat Trump in November.