Following her victories on Tuesday night in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, most of the media have begun referring to Hillary Clinton the “presumptive” Democratic nominee. At this point, it is not probable that Bernie Sanders would be able to catch Hillary in terms of pledged delegates in the remaining contests. As a result, the Democratic campaign has moved into the “bargaining” mode where the runner-up seeks some concessions in order to start the unification process.
Report from The Hill:
Hillary Clinton won’t bow to many demands from Bernie Sanders, according to her supporters.
Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee after a dominating performance in Tuesday’s primaries. She holds a huge delegate lead over Sanders and is focused more than ever on the general election.
Sanders says he’ll stay in the primary fight, but has also signaled a change in his campaign by laying off campaign staffers and talking about the importance of the party platform to be written at the Democratic National Convention.
The signals are the early moves and machinations of a negotiation typical in Democratic contests.
Clinton will want Sanders’s help in winning over his diehard supporters and unifying the party — and Sanders will want something in return.
The Vermont senator has been trying to push Clinton and Democrats to adopt positions on free tuition at public colleges, and to break up the nation’s six largest banks to lessen their dominance in the credit card and mortgage business.
Clinton supporters argue the former secretary of State has already been forced to the left by Sanders, and can’t risk moving further ahead of a general election.
“I don’t know what’s left to extract,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a Clinton supporter, said in an interview with The Hill.
He said the Democratic primary moved the discussion “farther to the left than most moderate Democrats would like to see.
For much of the primary, Sanders has been dragging Clinton a bit further to the left than she ultimately feels comfortable, especially with her eye on the general election. However, that was his stated goal from the start, even if he knew that fighting this battle might be an exercise in futility.
If he could get Hillary to adopt even one of his major platform items, such as some form of banking reform, it could be counted as a win in terms of steering the conversation. It’s unlikely Clinton will take up the mantle of “free” college tuition, which was always a topic of disagreement at the debates, but it’s likely they’ll get together and find some common ground to bring Bernie into the Clinton fold, eventually.
This isn’t to suggest that Bernie supporters are going to eagerly embrace Hillary’s candidacy, as I suspect there will be many holdouts.
Sanders has vowed to continue through June, though he has begun laying off hundreds of staffers as the campaign winds down.