It is the opposite of what Sanders and his campaign said in 2016, even after Hillary Clinton had secured the majority of pledged delegates.
“The responsibility that superdelegates have is to decide what is best for this country and what is best for the Democratic Party,” Sanders said on May 1, 2016. “And if those superdelegates conclude that Bernie Sanders is the best candidate, the strongest candidate to defeat Trump and anybody else, yes, I would very much welcome their support.”
Later that month, Sanders told CNN, “I am not a great fan of superdelegates, but their job is to take an objective look at reality. And I think the reality is that we are the stronger candidate.”
On May 29, 2016, he said superdelegates had the “very grave responsibility to make sure that [Donald] Trump [is not] elected president of the United States. Vote for the strongest candidate.”
And even as Clinton secured the Democratic nomination the following week, Sanders continued to push for superdelegates to vote to override her pledged-delegate majority, telling NBC News on June 7, 2016, that he was “on the phone right now” lobbying superdelegates. Told that his superdelegate convention push would defy history and the will of the voters, Sanders said, “Defying history is what this campaign has been about.”
Whether Sanders is able to avoid the contested convention this year that he pushed for in 2016 will depend, in part, on how he fares in contests over the next week and whether he can garner enough delegates to make him the front-runner.
On Sunday, Sanders was asked about his reversal on pledged delegates.
“After California, after Hillary Clinton won the pledged delegates, I did not go to any superdelegate. It was over,” Sanders told ABC News. “We conceded the election, and that — we supported Hillary Clinton. So that is my point. I’m not being inconsistent with what I said in 2016.”
But even after the last Democratic primary contest in 2016, Sanders continued to campaign for the nomination.
“He is an active candidate for president, yes,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told MSNBC on June 17, 2016, three days after the last Democratic primary.
Sanders did not formally endorse Clinton until July 12, 2016.
Still, some Sanders supporters have suggested that the position that other Democratic candidates took on delegates during the Nevada debate was “undemocratic” and undermined primary voters.
“You do know that was Bernie’s position in 2016?” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told a Sanders supporter when asked about pledged delegates at a CNN town hall on Wednesday.
“Not necessarily, no,” the supporter replied. “He won 22 states, so he went to the convention for voters.”
“Remember, his last play was to superdelegates,” Warren reminded him.
They are the same superdelegates Sanders now wants to block 2020 candidates from garnering on a second ballot at the Democratic National Convention in July.