Why Some Bernie Sanders Supporters Want Him to Concede

June 17th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Bernie Sanders might be down but he's not out yet — and some of his allies are starting to get restless, Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur writes.


The Vermont senator again refused to concede his bid for the presidency during a live webcast on Thursday. Though Sanders made it pretty clear that he'd given up the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, he vowed to remain in the race through the July 25 convention to push his progressive agenda.

That's not sitting well with party insiders.

"We're already way past the maximum point of leverage that he and his movement built up," Democratic strategist Joe Trippi said. "It's definitely dissipating every day."

Even some who support Sanders argued that the candidate is losing political leverage the longer he stays in the race and withholds his endorsement for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Bloomberg reports.

"Some believe — and it appears this is Bernie's view — that the longer he stays in, the more effective he'll be in negotiating," another Sanders ally, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), said prior to Sanders' speech on Thursday. "My view is that the sooner we get unified, the better."

This is the basic logic driving Sanders supporters to call for his concession, Kapur argues. In the interest of party unification — and at risk of losing the leverage his campaign has built up over the past year — some of the people who wanted Sanders to become president are now advocating for his concession. The push has likely been catalyzed by concerns over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Ben LaBolt, the national press secretary for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, told Kapur that "Sanders wants to show that his campaign was not for naught, that it impacted the party and he'll have organizing power moving forward.

"But he doesn't want to be the last guy at the party after the music has stopped playing — he should quickly announce his wins and make clear to his supporters that the best way to secure progress is to ensure Donald Trump doesn't get any closer to the Oval Office than the Starbucks across the street," LaBolt added.

Is Sanders actually losing leverage?

It's undeniable that Sanders' persistence is frustrating the few supporters he has among party officials. But, as writer Matt Karp noted on Twitter, those supporters have never meant much to Sanders' campaign.

In reality, Sanders' bargaining strength rests in his grass-roots support among young voters. If the Clinton campaign believes it needs those voters, than Sanders' might still hold some chips.

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