The pressure on Bernie Sanders to quit the race to win the Democratic nomination for the sake of party unity has been building for some time, but now the argument has caused a split within his own campaign on the eve of the decisive California primary, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Sanders has long based his strategy on two principles. First, that if he is successful in the final batch of primaries, especially California, then he will be close enough in a pledged delegate count to Hillary Clinton to make the argument to the superdelegates, who will determine the outcome and currently overwhelmingly support Clinton, that momentum is on his side and they should switch their allegiance.
His second argument has been that national polls consistently show he has a better chance of defeating Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump than Clinton does, and thus he should be declared the nominee in what would be a contested Democratic National Convention on July 25.
But some within his own camp are starting to say that his tactic of carrying on the fight so long could hurt the party as a whole.
The split within his campaign is largely a battle between those who have been long-time loyalists to Sanders well before his race for the presidency began and others who have backed him in the primaries, but have larger interests in the Democratic Party.
Those with broader interests say that, with less than two months left until the Democratic National Convention, time is running out to unify against what is clear will be a difficult struggle to defeat Trump in November.
That unity is more difficult to achieve the longer that Sanders keeps up the intensity of his attacks against Clinton.
They also point out that Sanders' long-standing argument over the superdelegates has so far persuaded not a single one loyal to Clinton to switch over to him.
In addition, mainstream senators such as former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Harry Reid have also highlighted the importance of party unity for doing well in the congressional races, arguing that a Senate with a stronger Democratic presence would greatly benefit the agenda of the Sanders camp.
And, as Politico
points out, even Sanders' only declared supporter in the Senate, Oregon's Jeff Merkley, has urged him to drop out of the race for the sake of unity if he still trails Clinton when the primaries end next week.
Those arguing for unity also say that Sanders would be better off to focus on party policy and platform changes at the Democratic National Convention as a compromise way to continue fighting for his principles while bowing out of the race.
The winner of the argument within the Sanders camp should become much clearer with the results of the primaries on Tuesday, particularly the one in California, the biggest and most diverse prize of the entire campaign.
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