Biden Offers Olive Branch to Sanders to Avoid 2016 Discontent

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(Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden’s campaign announced an agreement Thursday with supporters of Bernie Sanders that allows the Vermont senator to keep hundreds of delegates to the Democratic National Committee, as the Biden camp tries to unite the Democratic Party ahead of the general election.

The Biden campaign and Sanders’s supporters outlined the steps in a memo Thursday that they want state parties to take in selecting delegates to ensure Sanders is fully represented. Under party rules, he would lose some of those delegates because he is no longer actively seeking the nomination. Sanders endorsed Biden after ending his campaign earlier this month.

“While Senator Sanders is no longer actively seeking the nomination, the Biden campaign feels strongly that it is in the best interest of the party and the effort to defeat Donald Trump in November to come to an agreement regarding these issues that will ensure representation of Sanders supporters and delegate candidates, both on the floor and in committees,” the memo says. “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.”

Biden is the party’s presumptive nominee, even though he hasn’t yet won the 1,991 delegates needed to claim the nomination.

Sanders wants to accumulate delegates in hopes of increasing his influence over the party’s official platform and rules at the convention. In 2016, acrimony between nominee Hillary Clinton’s delegates and Sanders’s spilled over into fights at the convention, and may have contributed to some voters staying home.

The Biden campaign has been carefully courting Sanders’s supporters since he dropped out of the race. Earlier this month, Biden and Sanders announced they would be forming joint task forces on a range of policy issues to work on finding common ground.

The memo also says the campaigns are committed to ensuring Sanders has representation in the New York delegation after the state’s board of elections canceled its presidential primary due to concerns about the coronavirus. Sanders’s campaign called the cancellation an “outrage” and a “blow to American democracy.”

The convention is currently scheduled to begin Aug. 17 in Milwaukee after it was postponed from mid-July because of the pandemic.

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