Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his bid for the White House last month, effectively ceding the Democratic nomination to former Vice President Joe Biden. But not before the Vermont progressive won hundreds of delegates around the nation.
Now, Sanders’ presidential campaign is asking those delegates to sign a social media policy and code of conduct agreement ahead of the party’s convention later this summer in an attempt to minimize party infighting or online attacks against Biden akin to the rampant mudslinging by supporters in 2016.
The Washington Post first reported that the Sanders campaign sent out the 5-page agreements that threaten delegates can be removed the delegation should they violate any provisions. The campaign also asks signatories to “refrain from making “negative statements about other candidates, party leaders, Campaigns, Campaign staffers, supporters, news organizations or journalists.”
“Before tweeting or posting from your personal social media accounts, ask yourself these questions: If this appeared on the front page of The New York Times, would it compromise Bernie Sanders’s message, credibility, or reputation?” the social media policy reads in part.
It continues: “This Campaign is about the issues and finding solutions to America’s problems. Our job is to differentiate the senator from his opponents on the issues — not through personal attacks.”
While the Post reported the agreement angered some delegates, Sanders’ campaign said those individuals were representative of the senator and had a “serious responsibility” going into the Democratic National Convention, set to take place in some form in August (organizers are still looking at how to do so amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic).
“When delegates attend the Democratic convention, they will be representing Sen. Sanders, the ideas he ran on and the millions of working people who supported his campaign,” Mike Casca, Sanders’ campaign spokesman, told HuffPost in a statement. “That is a serious responsibility and we’re asking them to follow a basic code of conduct while carrying out that duty.”
The pledge is largely seen as an effort to avoid a repeat of 2016. At the time, Sanders asked his supporters to throw their weight behind then-presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton shortly before the convention began, but many delegates booed her during the event and refused to support her candidacy.
Sanders has endorsed Biden’s effort to unseat President Donald Trump in November, a move the former veep said meant “a great deal to me.” Sanders is also still on the ballot in some states, including during the primary in New York, where he’s hoping to win enough delegates to have a stronger voice as the party decides on its platform and rules.
“I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans, to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse,” Sanders said last month.
The pair are reportedly closer than Sanders and Clinton were in 2016, and the Vermont lawmaker said recently he hoped his supporters would “understand and do understand that Donald Trump is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.”
“I think, at the end of the day,” Sanders said on ABC, “they will be voting for Joe Biden.”