Sen. Bernie Sanders conceded that he would likely drop out of the Democratic presidential primary if former Vice President Joe Biden ends up with the most delegates.
The Vermont senator and 2020 Democratic candidate, who just last week was riding what seemed an unstoppable campaign to the nomination, spoke about his position with MSNBC amid a resurgence in Biden’s bid for the White House.
The self-proclaimed Democratic socialist told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that he would bow out if Biden had a plurality of delegates entering the convention, but did have some concerns about superdelegates choosing a candidate who did not earn as many delegates than an opponent in the primary race.
“If, at the end of the day, it turns out that Vice President Biden is going to have more delegates than you do heading into the convention, will you drop out?” Maddow asked on “The Rachel Maddow Show” Wednesday.
“Of course I’m gonna drop out; he will win,” Sanders replied.
“I mean, I suspect, we will run through the process, and I think people have a right to vote. But if Biden walks into the convention, or at the end of the process has more votes than me, he’s the winner,” he added, later correcting himself for using the term “votes” rather than “delegates.”
“And that’s true whether or not he has a majority or just a plurality?” Maddow pressed.
“Absolutely,” Sanders asserted.
“That’s what I’ve said. Here’s the story, and there’s some confusion about this: Last time around in 2016 you talked about 2016, you remember before the very first vote was cast in Iowa, Hillary Clinton had 500 superdelegates set aside. 500 superdelegates. I thought that was totally outrageous and absurd and undemocratic,” he recounted.
“We fought very hard in the Democratic rules process to get rid of all superdelegates. That is my preference. I think it should be the decision of the people, not Washington insiders,” he contended.
“We lost, but what we did get is not getting rid of all superdelegates at convention voting but on the first ballot there will be no superdelegates,” Sanders explained.
“In other words, we go into the first ballot, it is representatives, delegates who are represented by the people, and I think that that’s right,” he continued.
“And what I have said is I think it would be a real, real disaster for the Democratic Party if, you know, I’m running against you and you have more votes than me and I say, well, wait a second, I don’t want Rachel. I want somebody else who didn’t get as many votes as she did, let’s count the superdelegates’ vote on the second ballot,” he said.
“You know what that would do to the Democratic electorate? People would say the person who got the most votes didn’t get selected,” he added.
“Most delegates,” Maddow corrected.
“Most delegates, I’m sorry, most delegates,” he replied.
Candidates need to secure a majority (1,991) of delegates in order to get the nomination, and the latest standings show Biden has 596 delegates and Sanders has 531. Sanders’ supporters continued to hope that the 78-year-old could still turn things around in the face of Biden’s sudden popularity.
No reason to get all doom and gloom because Bernie’s down 45 pledged delegates out of 4,051. Warren was the frontrunner a couple months ago, Biden was dead in the water a couple weeks ago. The future is unwritten, 45 delegates is nothing, Biden’s a clown, chin up, let’s go
— Meagan Day (@meaganmday) March 4, 2020
Don’t forget, Bernie is almost certainly ahead in the delegate count. Colorado and California were both won by Bernie but they aren’t even close to being done counting all the returns yet. There are literally hundreds of districts and hundreds of delegates still to be assigned.
— Only the Green New Deal can save us now??✊??☮️ (@IanBrettCooper) March 4, 2020
So if Bernie gets the delegates left to be awarded in California, he’d retake the lead from Biden, just saying this race is FAR from over. #BernieForPresident #Sanders #bernie
— Britny Fox (@foxxybrit1) March 6, 2020
DO NOT become disheartened. There are still 2/3 of delegates up for grabs and Bernie is extremely close to Biden. We must mobilize and secure the nomination for Bernie. We cannot afford to lose this race. #BernieForPresident
— Daniel Beckstrand for Congress UT-04 (@Beckstrand2020) March 4, 2020
But many disagree with Sanders’ contention that the voters will decide the winner as many, including President Trump, have suggested the establishment Democrats are working hard to rally around Biden in an effort to derail Sanders’ chances of securing the nomination.
Trump believes it will be “very hard” for Sanders to rebound and win the Democratic nomination, telling a Fox News town hall audience that he had been expecting to face off against the “communist” before Biden’s fortunes turned around.
Trump highlights some of Biden’s biggest blunders at jovial town hall…‘there’s something going on there’ https://t.co/BDwTPgkz6A
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 6, 2020
He also called out Sen. Elizabeth Warren for not dropping out of the race before Super Tuesday, suggesting that she kept Sanders from securing more of the progressive vote.
“If she’s a true Progressive, which probably she is, she should have dropped out three days ago. It would’ve been a whole different race,” he said.
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