Sanders Doesn’t Sound Very Interested In Being Clinton’s VP Despite Media Hype

Sanders CNN

I saw several headlines today along the lines of  Sanders leaves door open to Clinton VP spot. Reading the headlines does give the impression that Sanders might be interested, but the actual interview does not really suggest this:

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Friday left the door open to being Hillary Clinton‘s running mate if she were to offer him the position after the party’s convention this summer.

“Right now, we are focused on the next five weeks of winning the Democratic nomination. If that does not happen, we are going to fight as hard as we can on the floor of the Democratic convention to make sure that we have a progressive platform that the American people will support,” Sanders said during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer broadcast on “The Situation Room.”

“Then, after that, certainly Secretary Clinton and I can sit down and talk and see where we go from there.”

Asked if Sanders would drop out of the race if he were offered the VP slot now, the independent Vermont senator responded, “I think that that is a hypothetical that will not happen.”

Clinton has all but clinched the Democratic nomination but she has shied away from directly calling for her opponent to drop out of the race

Sanders has insisted that he’ll fight until the party’s convention in July, hoping to play a role in crafting a more progressive party platform.

“We’re going to be in this until the last ballot is cast,” Sanders reiterated Friday.

Sanders said that while he will continue to differentiate between his and Clinton’s positions, “What’s most important is we defeat Donald Trump.”

“Hillary Clinton and I disagree on many issues, I think her judgement on the war in Iraq was bad, I think her judgement on trade policies where she supported virtually every one of these disastrous trade policies was bad, I think the fact that she supports a $12 minimum wage when clearly we need a $15 an minimum wage, I think that’s bad. I think her creating super-PACs and raising money from Wall Street and other powerful special interests, not a great idea,” Sanders said.

From both this description and watching the video of the interview, it looks to me like Sanders pretty much ignored the question of being Clinton’s vice president to get back on message about continuing to run against Clinton on the issues. The headlines are technically true that Sanders did not close the door, but I think that is more because he wanted to talk about other things, not because he is interested in the position.

If not for the degree to which the Democratic Party (including Democratic-leaning independents) are divided this year, it normally would not make much sense to have both Sanders and Clinton on the same ticked, in either order, due to their age. It would make sense for either to have a younger running mate.

This year there is the outside chance that if Clinton wins the nomination she might offer the vice presidency to Sanders as many Sanders supporters are currently unlikely to turn out to vote for her if she is the nominee. Having Sanders on the ticket would probably lead to some Sanders supporters to hold their nose and vote for the ticket.

Establishment Democrats are also upset to see that Donald Trump is repeating (and to some degree exaggerating) Sanders’ charges that Clinton has poor judgment. While that could hurt Clinton in a general election, the fact is that this is true about Clinton. Rather than blaming Sanders for speaking the truth, they should never have done so much to rig the nomination battle in Clinton’s favor. While Clinton currently has a strong lead, should she lose to Trump, the fault would belong entirely to those who have backed a candidate such as Clinton who is unfit to be president.

Sanders also discussed how he would make the strongest candidate against Donald Trump due to his greater support from independents. Numerous polls have demonstrated that Sanders does significantly better than Clinton in head to head polls against Donald Trump. He also repeated that if he is not the nominee he would do everything he can to keep Donald Trump from being elected president.

The full video of the interview is below:

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  1. 1
    Susan Pippin says:

    I will not vote for a candidate out of fear that Trump might get the White House. If the DNC insists on rigging the nomination to give it to a candidate that would not be able to win it without massive election fraud, then they will have to live with a Clinton loss. I cannot bring myself to vote for anyone who is more concerned with her personal comfort zone than national security. I will never again vote for a candidate who is more interested in selling good business opportunities to Wall Street than she is protecting my food, water, and air or sending my grandkids to college. Fear does not motivate me to vote, there is no lesser of two evils, there is only evil. Clinton may be able to use massive election fraud to get the nomination, but she won't be able to win the White House without the vote of people who don't trust her and see no reason to vote for her. Her unfavorable ratings are important, the Democratic Party ignores them at their own peril.

  2. 2
    Jean Hammond says:

    Hillary and I, also, have disagreements on many of her issues.  I, fornieHe has everything Clinton doesn't.  How can he help but win?  Also, how can I help?

    Rezzer for Bernie!!!!


  3. 3
    JimZ says:

    I think that there are built-in disincentives for both Clinton and Sanders to go that route.  As with Elizabeth Warren, Sanders can be a strong force from his seat in the Senate, could well feel put on the shelf as VP.  Clinton seems unlikely to ask Sanders to run as VP because (a) she thinks she doesn't need the support of Bernie-or-bust supporters to win the presidency, and (b) their outlooks & policy positions differ so much.  I may be wrong.  

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    I'm also wondering whether Clinton will go more to the left or to the middle/right in a VP pick.

  5. 5
    JimZ says:

    A lot of my friends are expecting her to name Julian Castro as a tactic to sew up the Latino American vote.  Might work.  Might also be seen as a "light weight" pick of someone not really ready to take the reins if necessary.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    He has been mentioned a lot. She might not need anyone to sew up the Latino vote if running against Trump, but maybe this would increase turnout.

  7. 7
    Drew says:

    #HellNOHillary… we are BERNIE or BUST!  .. If you don't want TRUMP then VOTE for BERNIE because there is NO WAY IN HELL that we will ever vote for HRC. Why would we ever reward HRC/DNC (who has done nothing but #electioneer… cheat/steal/rig …. this whole primary), with our votes? AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!  

  8. 8
    Robert Dain says:

    John Kennedy was the first person I voted for in a Presidential election.  November will be the first time I have voted in a Presidential election that I may be faced with the lesser of two evils choice.  My profound hope is that I will not be faced with that choice, and that Bernie will prevail.  




  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    I’m a bit more cynical about politicians. I often think it is a matter of voting for the lesser of two evils. The difference is that the two are so much more evil than in past elections. There is a limit to how evil I can vote for, even if willing to vote for the lesser of two evils.

    You don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils. You could vote for a minor party candidate if it is Clinton v. Trump. Sure your vote will have no impact on the outcome, but if you don’t live in a battle ground state your vote won’t impact the outcome anyways.

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