Bernie Sanders dropped out two months ago, but his chances to influence the Democratic Party presidential platform are still alive.
Following Tuesday’s presidential primaries, Sanders has won 1,024 delegates. That’s 176 shy of 1,200—Sanders’ magic number to exert more influence on the party platform. The Democratic Party awards seats on the platform and rules committee in direct proportion to the percentage of delegates a candidate won. If Sanders reaches 1,200 delegates—roughly 30 percent of the vote—49 of his delegates would sit on the committees that determine the party’s current presidential platform and next presidential primary rules. That’s enough for Sanders delegates to bring a resolution to the party floor on their own.
Creating a progressive presidential platform seems more important than ever. Since Sanders suspended his campaign, the U.S. has faced a series of crises that underscored the importance of his candidacy. COVID-19 has ravaged America’s fractured healthcare system, and the subsequent economic crisis has left tens of millions of Americans jobless and many without healthcare. As well, ongoing protests against police violence have elevated important conversations about racial inequality that many politicians have overlooked or ignored for years.
Sanders won’t be president, and he and his staffers must reckon with their failures. And some might argue the senator has already pulled the Democratic Party well to the left. But Sanders and his supporters believe greater systemic change is needed through progressive policies and reform. And with a few delegate-rich states left to vote, Sanders and his delegates could make that change more plausible.