Dem Superdelegates Signal Willingness to Pass Over Sanders in Brokered Convention

Sen. Bernie Sanders at the Democratic primary debate in Charleston, S.C., February 25, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Only nine of 93 Democratic superdelegates interviewed by The New York Times said that Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) should be the nominee if he does not arrive at the Democratic national convention with a majority.

Superdelegates have historically aligned with the candidate who wins the most delegates in caucuses and primaries. Sanders currently leads the field in delegates, but less than three percent have been allocated so far. But if the Vermont democratic socialist ends up not securing the 1,991 delegates necessary to win the nomination on the first ballot of the convention, then all 3,979 pledged delegates and 771 superdelegates would be free to vote for any candidate they choose on the second ballot.

Interviews suggested that superdelegates still have major reservations about a Sanders ticket.

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“We’re way, way, way past the day where party leaders can determine an outcome here, but I think there’s a vibrant conversation about whether there is anything that can be done,” Jim Himes, a Connecticut congressman and superdelegate, told the Times.

“Bernie wants to redefine the rules and just say he just needs a plurality,” superdelegate and New York State Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs said. “I don’t think we buy that. I don’t think the mainstream of the Democratic Party buys that. If he doesn’t have a majority, it stands to reason that he may not become the nominee.”

Former vice president Walter Mondale, who also serves as a superdelegate, said he doesn’t think the party “will do anything like” supporting Sanders without a majority. “They will each do what they want to do, and somehow they will work it out. God knows how,” he said, adding that he votes “for the person I think should be president.”

During a closed-door meeting in the House Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she would be comfortable with Senator Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee.

“I think whoever our nominee is, we will enthusiastically embrace and we will win the White House, the Senate and the House,” Pelosi said.

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