Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has fully committed to supporting former Vice President Joe Biden, and now his delegates will too — if they still want to be Sanders delegates, that is.
The HuffPost reports that, after a series of high-profile incidents concerning former Sanders’ staffers and members of Sanders’ delegate coalition, the Vermont socialist is making his confirmed delegates sign a “loyalty pledge” promising they will not openly criticize Joe Biden. The pledge includes a “social media policy” and a “code of conduct agreement.”
“The Sanders campaign sent out the 5-page agreements that threaten delegates can be removed the delegation should they violate any provisions,” HuffPost says, citing the Washington Post, which first got wind of the deal. “The campaign also asks signatories to ‘refrain from making negative statements about other candidates, party leaders, Campaigns, Campaign staffers, supporters, news organizations or journalists.’”
Sanders has struggled to keep his supporters, former staffers, and delegates from attacking Biden, even as Sanders himself has led the way on forging a compromise with the more “moderate” presumptive nominee, and major Sanders surrogates, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have risen to prominent roles on Biden’s advisory committees.
Sanders’ former press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, has been openly opposed to allowing Biden to take the nomination despite remaining primaries, tweeting, “I don’t endorse Joe Biden…I supported Bernie Sanders because he backed ideas like #MedicareForAll, cancelling ALL student debt, & a wealth tax. Biden supports none of those.”
The delegate pledge targets positions like that directly, warning, “Before tweeting or posting from your personal social media accounts, ask yourself these questions: If this appeared on the front page of The New York Times, would it compromise Bernie Sanders’s message, credibility, or reputation?”
“This Campaign is about the issues and finding solutions to America’s problems. Our job is to differentiate the senator from his opponents on the issues — not through personal attacks,” the code of conduct says.
Sanders aides defended the pledge, telling the HuffPost that delegates are expected to take their job seriously, and if they can’t ascribe to a certain level of professionalism, they may not deserve their positions.
“When delegates attend the Democratic convention, they will be representing Sen. Sanders, the ideas he ran on and the millions of working people who supported his campaign,” Sanders’ campaign spokesman said. “That is a serious responsibility and we’re asking them to follow a basic code of conduct while carrying out that duty.”
Although the directive came from Bernie Sanders, its likely Joe Biden pressed the pledge in an effort to avoid the issues that plagued failed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s relationship with her former opponent. Sensing that Sanders had been “robbed” of his rightful place at the top of that ticket, Sanders’ supporters staged something of a mutiny, refusing to cast ballots for Clinton.
Biden, knowing he’s likely running on a razor-thin margin against President Donald Trump, particularly in battleground states, needs to avoid that same bad press, particularly among likely Democrat voters.
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