In 2016, many argued that Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had the party’s nomination “stolen” from him.
If a new report from The New York Times is to be believed, then history may be about to repeat itself.
Potential superdelegate revolt
The Democratic National Convention includes individuals known as “superdelegates” — delegates who are not pledged to support any given candidates at the convention.
They constitute roughly 15 percent of the delegate total, giving them substantial power.
According to party rules, a candidate must have at least 1,991 votes from pledged delegates in order to win the nomination outright. If this number is not achieved, then the voting goes to a second ballot in which superdelegates can help decide the outcome.
And if that occurs, Sanders should be worried. Ninty-three superdelegates were interviewed by The Times after Sanders’ strong showing in the Nevada caucuses, and most were apprehensive about letting him lead the party.
In fact, a total of 84 said the self-described socialist should not get the nomination if he only has a plurality of delegates behind him on the first ballot.
Sanders’ campaign is reportedly causing widespread apprehension within the party. The Times quoted Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) as saying, “Bernie seems to have declared war on the Democratic Party — and it’s caused panic in the House ranks.”
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) was concerned too, stating, “We’re way, way, way past the day where party leaders can determine an outcome here, but I think there’s a vibrant conversation about whether there is anything that can be done.”
New York State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs warned, “Bernie wants to redefine the rules and just say he just needs a plurality.”
“I don’t think we buy that. I don’t think the mainstream of the Democratic Party buys that,” said Jacobs, adding, “If he doesn’t have a majority, it stands to reason that he may not become the nominee.”
Sanders recently courted controversy for praising the communist Cuban dictatorship of Fidel Castro for its literacy programs, contending during a “60 Minutes” interview that “it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad” about the Castro regime. Comments like that are expected to hurt him in Florida, given its large population of Cuban-Americans, not to mention other Central and South Americans who’ve fled socialist dictatorships.