Election 2020

Sharpton: Debate Over Superdelegates a 'Mute Conversation'

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rev. Al Sharpton at the National Action Network Conference in New York City on April 14, 2016. (Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx)

WASHINGTON – Rev. Al Sharpton told PJM the debate surrounding the power of the Democratic Party’s superdelegates in choosing the presidential nominee is a “mute conversation” in the upcoming election.

“It’s a mute conversation. I had Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver on my show Sunday morning and he says they are trying to target getting superdelegates on their side,” Sharpton said during an interview last month after his appearance at the National Press Club in Washington.

“They will not fight superdelegates this convention, so it will be not be a debate this convention. It will be a debate going forward and I will take that up at the convention if it goes forward. I never pre-empt my next story,” he added.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been critical of the superdelegates, who are party leaders and elected officials not bound to support any particular candidate at the convention. Sanders recently challenged the superdelegates to take a “hard look” at a State Department report that revealed presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton violated the department’s email policies with her private server.

“It was not a good report for Secretary Clinton,” Sanders said. “That is something that the American people, Democrats and delegates are going to have to take a hard look at.”

Sharpton, the host of Politics Nation on MSNBC, plans to hold off on making a formal endorsement in the presidential race until after the Democratic convention in Philadelphia next month.

“Probably not until after the convention, so I am not making an endorsement before that – probably subject to change, but that’s my thinking at this point. I am much more determined to be an advocate rather than a surrogate because many of the positions I would take. I do not want a candidate to have to have a responsibility for a surrogate taking positions they may not agree with,” he said.

Despite some concerns among party leaders, Sanders has vowed to continue his campaign even if he loses the California primary. Some Democratic lawmakers such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have said Sanders should drop out so the party can unite. Sharpton said Sanders’ candidacy is making the Democratic Party stronger.

“He’s winning some states but he’s nowhere near her in delegate counts, both in delegates that are elected that are committed or in the superdelegates, and math just isn’t there. I think he’s raising some very important issues. I think they are good and it’s only going to make the party stronger,” he added.