Sanders to meet with delegates before convention start
Washington — Bernie Sanders plans to meet with 1,900 of his delegates right before the start of the Democratic National Convention on Monday, part of a series of meetings aimed at providing direction to his undecided supporters after he endorsed Hillary Clinton.
In an email Wednesday, the Sanders campaign promises his delegates a “very special meeting with Bernie himself.” It will follow a series of morning briefings hosted by the campaign on some of Sanders’ core causes — single-payer health care, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and criminal justice. One session with senior Sanders staff will offer instruction to delegates “on how to keep the political revolution going strong.”
“We can’t wait to see you in Philly,” according to the email, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
The planned closed-door meeting comes as many of his delegates are expressing disappointment and some uncertainty as they prepare to descend on Philadelphia for a weeklong convention in which Clinton will be formally nominated as the party’s standard-bearer. Sanders endorsed Clinton last week, but he also did not release his delegates and made it clear he planned to continue promoting his liberal agenda.
The meeting will precede the 3 p.m. start of the convention. That day, delegates are expected to vote to finalize the party platform and rules. First lady Michelle Obama and Sanders were scheduled to address the convention that evening.
“At this point with Sen. Sanders coming out to support Hillary Clinton but also not dropping out, it puts us delegates in a difficult position to try and read between the lines about what to do,” said Oscar Mata, a delegate from Utah who intends to support the Democratic nominee.
In recent weeks, hundreds of Sanders delegates have loosely organized by email and social media as a way of keeping tabs and to discuss ways to show support for Sanders during the convention. At the least, many want to see a traditional roll call vote of states, while others were considering mass sit-ins or even walkouts if delegates feel their views are not being respected or acknowledged, said Karen Bernal, a delegate from Sacramento, California, who helps lead the Bernie Delegates Network, which include more than 1,100 delegates.
Heading into the convention, Sanders has 1,894 delegates to Clinton’s 2,807 when including superdelegates, or party officials who can support the candidate of their choice. It takes 2,383 to win, a threshold Clinton crossed in early June to become the presumptive nominee.
A spokesman for Sanders declined to comment.