Biden reaches a deal to let Bernie Sanders hold hundreds of delegates

Biden reaches a deal to let Bernie Sanders hold hundreds of delegates


Presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden has decided to allow former primary rival Bernie Sanders to retain hundreds of delegates that he would otherwise lose by dropping out of the presidential race in an arrangement intended to prevent the bitter feelings that marred the party in 2016 and helped lead to the loss of Hillary Clinton. 

Under senate rules, Bernie Sanders should lose about a third of the delegates he's won in caucuses and primaries as process moves forward and states selecting the people who will attend the National Democratic Convention. The rules say those delegates should be supporters of Biden, since he is the only candidate still actively seeking nomination from the party.

"We must defeat Donald Trump this fall, and we believe that this agreement will help bring the party together to get Trump out of the White House and not only rebuild America, but transform it."

Nevertheless, the Joe Biden campaign says in a memo obtained by The Associated Press that it would collaborate with Sanders and state parties to fill those vacancies with Sanders supporters. On Thursday, the joint letter from the campaigns of Biden and Sanders was sent to the Democratic parties in canada. 

The list of Delegates is a moot point. While Biden has yet to formally receive the 1,991 delegates needed to claim the Democratic nomination on the convention's first ballot, he is the presumptive candidate for the Democrats. After finishing their own campaigns, all his rivals like Sanders have endorsed him.

Clinton and Sanders fought for delegates in that race until the end of the primary calendar and then jousted over the party platform and ruled well into the summer. 

Biden and his advisors were keen to prevent a repetition of the disunity that left Clinton unable to recruit any supporters of Sanders in a fall campaign that Clinton ultimately lost. Sanders, likewise, has vowed to do everything he can to help Biden beat Trump in November, after he suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden weeks ago.

Democratic candidates win delegates to the convention based on their share of the vote in primaries and caucuses of the party. About two-thirds of delegates are received in local congressional districts based on performance, and they stick with the candidates all the way to convention.

It's the other third of delegates that's at issue won based on statewide results. To retain those delegates, candidates will need to run for president when the people who will serve as delegates to the convention are chosen, usually at state party conventions, according to the delegate selection rules of the party.

Officially they would remain delegates to Biden, but those seats would be filled by supporters of Sanders. Only the campaigns of Biden and Sanders will have the right to accept or deny any people who choose to fill up any delegate positions.