Biden, Sanders reach convention compromiseApril 30, 2020
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have reached a compromise on delegates for the Democratic National Convention, avoiding a potentially messy fight.
Sanders was set to potentially lose hundreds of delegates due to a little-known clause within the Democratic National Committee’s delegate allocation rules, as POLITICO reported earlier this week.
Candidates who exit the race before statewide delegates are selected are supposed to see the delegates they won reallocated to the remaining active candidates in the race. The rule applies to all dropped-out candidates — not just Sanders.
According to a memo circulated by the two candidates’ campaigns, that delegate reallocation will still happen and all delegates will be allocated to Biden. However, the campaigns jointly agreed that those slots that Sanders would otherwise be giving up will be filled by his supporters. The memo was first reported by the Associated Press.
The memo instructed party committees to give both Biden and Sanders, in consultation with state parties, the right to remove any candidate for delegate if the person is not considered a “bona fide” supporter of the campaign. The memo also noted that spots on the party’s standing committee will also be filled in the same way.
“Our campaigns are grateful for the unity and spirit of collaboration within the Democratic Party as we look to defeat Donald Trump and establish a government by and for the American people,” the memo read. “We look forward to working with the state parties to implement this approach, as we elect delegates who reflect and represent the diversity that is the unique strength of our great nation.”
The memo also touched on another sore spot for Sanders’ supporters: The New York presidential primary. On Monday, the state board of elections effectively canceled the state’s presidential primary by striking every candidate off the ballot besides Biden because they were no longer actively campaigning for the White House.
Sanders’ campaign harshly condemned the move, and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the state board’s decision. Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Sanders, called for the state to be stripped of its delegates.
The memo circulated on Thursday alludes to that possibility: “If the state remains eligible for delegates, the campaigns are committed to working together to ensure representation for Sen. Sanders in the New York delegation.”