Can Hillary and Bernie unify the Democratic Party for 2016?
By Roger Caldwell
With two weeks left in the Democratic primary, there are serious problems, escalating to cracks in the infrastructure, which may leave the party dysfunctional and disorganized. To begin with, Team Bernie and Team Hillary are at war. The Democratic Party needs a peacemaker, and at the present moment the National Democratic Chairwoman Debbie Wassermann-Schultz is fighting with Bernie Sanders. Also the Nevada Democratic Chairwoman, Roberta Lange has received death threats from members in her own party.
“The longer it goes on, the more the Democratic primary race seems in need of political intervention to ensure a soft landing. But just who might be best placed to successfully lead that effort is unclear, though the options include President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren,” writes CNN reporter Stephen Collinson.
Everyone in the Democratic Party knows that Hillary Clinton is as tough as nails, and she is not happy with the intense pressure that Bernie Sander’s campaign has maintained on her during the primary. Ms. Clinton expected Sen. Sanders to drop out of the race, but as it gets to the end of the primary, he shows no signs of backing down.
Over the past couple of weeks, Bernie Sanders has won seven of eight Democratic contests in the presidential primaries, and he has changed the trajectory of the party. There are millions of Democrats who support Bernie Sanders, and Hillary must find a way to not alienate these loyal and new Democrats.
“The Clinton and Sanders camps are in the usual schoolyard fashion, pointing fingers at each other. The truth is, both sides are to blame. But the onus is on Clinton, not Sanders, to turn down the temperature. If she intends to unify the party, now is the time to prove she can do it – that’s her burden as the frontrunner and likely nominee,” says New Republic reporter Alex Shephard.
Personally, I don’t agree with this statement, because everyone in a leadership position and a member of the Democratic Party has a responsibility to unify the party. At this juncture in the primary, it is time to compromise and make concessions, and work to defeat Donald Trump.
But Bernie Sanders still believes that he can become the Democratic nominee in 2016, even though from a mathematical point of view, he will never reach the magic number of 2,383 delegates.
“His time to exit will come, sometime between the end of the primary season and the end of the party convention. To create change, he has to stay in the race. Doing otherwise would cede the platform to the party establishment,” explains Alex Shephard, a Bernie supporter.
Again, I don’t agree with this statement, because the Democratic National Committee has made an unprecedented concession to Bernie’s camp by allowing him to choose 5 members on the Democratic Party platform-writing committee. There are 15 members on this committee and they write the platform for the general election. This major change was made to be inclusive, because many of Sanders’ supporters claimed the system was “rigged.”
This procedural concession represents an olive branch to Sanders and his supporters, but it still does not guarantee that everyone in the Democratic Party is working toward unity. When Sanders says, “We will be in a very strong position to fight for an economy that works for all of our people, not just the one percent,” shows that he is not really ready to compromise.
Bernie and Hillary need a peacemaker, and I believe that President Obama is the person who can bring the two camps together. Hillary needs Bernie’s supporters in the general election, and the two camps must find a platform which they both can agree. This is not going to be easy, but unity is the only strategy that Hillary and Bernie have at their disposal, to beat Donald Trump.