Clinton dodged a question from Cuomo on whether she would choose Sanders as her running mate.(Emphasis Sargent's.)
“What brings us together is Donald Trump. I think that’s what brings us together,” she said, after remarking that would be a discussion for later. Assessing her chances against Trump, Clinton said the party would unify.
“That doesn’t mean we won’t have some vigorous discussion and debate about issues, about the platform, about all of the process of a convention. I welcome that. I think that’s healthy. I think bringing people into the party giving them a voice at the end is going to help us in the fall. I think as I said I will certainly do my part and more to reach out and bring in Senator Sanders’ supporters and I have every reason to expect he’ll do the same,” she said.
It’s possible the Clinton camp might actually conclude it’s in her best interests to make some real concessions towards Sanders....I think that's quite possible. My question is whether Sanders will accept concessions that add up to less than full acceptance of his agenda.
I'm not sure he can. He's gotten this far because he's perceived by his supporters as unbought, unbossed, and completely pure; if he accepts compromised versions of his key agenda items, won't his base conclude that he sold out? Could he campaign for Clinton in the fall without seeming to the loyalists like everything they hate? And doesn't he want to retain their loyalty?
Sure, a rejection of Clinton and the party will make life extremely awkward for him in the Senate -- but if he's willing to stay in the caucus, Democrats will let him stay, because they'll need every vote they can get, especially if the Senate remains in Republican hands. (Remember, they didn't cut Joe Lieberman loose even after he endorsed George W. Bush in 2004.) By contrast, if he does compromise, the Revolution might abandon him.
He's up for reelection in 2018, and if he blows off the party this year, you'd think the party might try to get back at him by running a candidate against him. But the party didn't do that to Lieberman -- Ned Lamont's campaign was not welcomed by the party -- and if Sanders does seem vulnerable to a challenge, he's old enough to retire and live out his days as a movement hero. He won't need the salary -- I'm predicting he'll get a very nice book deal when this campaign is over, and the book will sell, too, especially if he goes out seeming to have his purity intact.
Maybe Sanders will do the right thing, for the good of the country. But I think he's got little to gain personally and a lot to lose, so I have my doubts.