Ending a presidential primary is often a bitter affair. But with rare exceptions, the party’s factions usually come together. That seems likely to be the case again this year with the Democrats, even as the contest drags out longer -- and grows a bit more contentious -- than many party members find comfortable.
On Sunday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reiterated his long-standing commitment to defeating Donald Trump in the fall, whether he is the nominee or Hillary Clinton gets that honor. But while not conceding defeat, he notably added that the responsibility for bringing his disaffected supporters into the fold – should he lose – doesn’t rest solely or even primarily with him.
It is "the candidate’s job," he argued on "Meet the Press," to draw voters in -- not the second-place finisher's job to instruct them on how to vote:
Last week with me, Secretary Clinton said when it comes to party unity, she's doing her part, she's going to do her part. But that there is a responsibility that falls on you as well. If she's the nominee, that you have a responsibility to do what it takes to bring your supporters on board with her. Do you accept that responsibility?
Well, the responsibility that I accept in a very, very serious way is to do everything that I can to make sure that Donald Trump will not become elected president of the United States. Donald Trump, for a dozen different reasons, would be a disaster as president. I will do everything that I can to make sure that does not happen.
But at the end of the day, whether it's Secretary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, anybody else, the way you gain support is through the candidate himself or herself. So my job is to make sure that Trump does not become president. And I will do that. But if Secretary Clinton is the nominee, it is her job to reach out to millions of people and make the case as to why she is going to defend working families and the middle [class], provide health care for all people, take on Wall Street, deal aggressively with climate change. That is the candidate's job to do.