In refusing to drop out of the Democratic primary race despite, you know, losing, Sanders is testing the strength of his leverage over the party. Politico reports that Sanders has all but whittled it away, pointing to the one-time supporters, like Jeff Merkley, who are streaming to Clinton’s camp.
Still, Clinton would rather have his supporters than not, even if it increasingly looks like she could beat Donald Trump in the fall with one hand tied behind her back. It’s unlikely that she will banish Sanders from the negotiating table to determine the Democratic Party’s platform.
But that doesn’t mean Sanders is playing his hand all that well. Politico writes, “His staffers believe that continuing to pull Clinton and the party to the left is only achievable as long as Sanders is still formally a candidate with a considerable number of delegates behind him at the July convention.” In other words, the belief is that concessions can only be wrung out of Clinton through opposition. But sometimes, as Jamelle Bouie notes, being an ally is what gets results. Sometimes, you get rewarded for being a team player.
Clinton, who quickly became a good friend to Barack Obama after their contentious primary in 2008, knows this well and has reaped the benefits. Sanders might want to consider that there’s more than one way to get what you want—one that doesn’t involve running a ghost of a campaign.