Sanders to target Hillary’s superdelegates if he can’t win popular vote

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told Rachel Maddow last night that his new strategy for victory includes convincing Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates to leave her, even if Clinton has more elected or pledged delegates (the delegates you win at the ballot box) by the the time of the Democratic convention in July.

In other words, even if Clinton wins more states, and more actual votes — as she is doing now — Sanders will try to win by superdelegate, and overrule the popular vote.

All of which doesn’t sound terribly progressive. Though it does sound like something Castro, Ortega, or the Soviets would do.

And if you think I’m reading this wrong, Sanders’ campaign manager Tad Devine admitted the same thing on a phone call with reporters on Wednesday. But Devine went one step further on that call. Sanders may not only target the superdelegates in order to win the nomination if he loses the popular vote, Sanders is arguing that it’s also legitimate for him to ask Hillary’s pledged delegates — the ones she won in the primaries — to switch to him instead. Jon Green wrote about this the other day. When the candidate and the campaign say the same thing, it’s strategy.


SANDERS: We think we have a good shot, can’t guarantee it, of winning a whole lot of states, of

Bernie Sanders, via AFGE / Flickr

Bernie Sanders, via AFGE / Flickr

winning a whole lot of delegates, of perhaps winning California, state of Washington, Oregon, many of the smaller states and winning New York state. We think if we come into the convention in July in Philadelphia, having won a whole lot of delegates, having a whole lot of momentum behind us, and most importantly perhaps being the candidate who is most likely to defeat Donald Trump, we think that some of these super delegates who have now supported Hillary Clinton can come over to us.

Rachel, in almost every poll, not every poll, but almost every national matchup poll between Sanders and Trump, Clinton and Trump, we do better than Hillary Clinton and sometimes by large numbers. We get a lot more of the independent vote than she gets.

And, frankly and very honestly, I think I am a stronger candidate to defeat Trump than Secretary Clinton is and I think many secretary — many of the super delegates understand that.

MADDOW: I just want to be super clear with you about that, just to make sure that I understand. Are you saying that even if you were behind in pledged dell gates, I know you think you won’t be, but if you were behind in pledged delegates, you would still take that case all the way to the convention and try to convince the supers?

SANDERS: Well, we’re going to do the best we can in any and every way to win. But I think when you have states, for example, say in New Hampshire where we won by 22 points, in other states where we won by 25 or even 30 points, I think it is not unreasonable for the people of those states to say to their super delegates, hey, how about representing the people of our state and the outcome of the caucus or the primary?

MADDOW: I’m just going to push you and ask you one more time. If — I’ll actually ask you from the other direction. If one of you — one of you — presumably, there won’t be a tie. One of you presumably will be behind in pledged delegates heading into that convention. Should the person who is behind in pledged delegates concede to the person who is ahead in pledged delegates in Philadelphia?

SANDERS: Well, I — you know, I don’t want to speculate about the future and I think there are other factors involved. I think it is probably the case that the candidate who has the most pledged delegates is going to be the candidate, but there are other factors. And the other factors will be the strength of each of us in taking on the Republican candidate.

What I think is most important to all of the delegates, including the super delegates, is that we have a candidate who will win and not allow Donald Trump to end up in the White House.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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