FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the 11th Democratic candidates debate of the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, held in CNN’s Washington studios without an audience because of the global coronavirus pandemic, in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

As part of an effort to unify the Democratic Party, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has asked his delegates to sign a pledge that would bar them from speaking ill of Former Vice President Joe Biden. The request comes in an effort to curb the rebellion of Sanders’ delegates and avoid a repeat 2016 election, which saw backlash from Sanders’ delegates toward Hillary Clinton. 

The pledge consists of 10 guidelines with the common thematic element of upholding an outstanding image for Sanders and Biden. Additionally, delegates are urged to avoid all media contact regarding social posts and should forward requests to the Sanders campaign. Delegates that do not comply with the loyalty pledge could be subject to “disciplinary action, including but not limited to the removal from the delegation.”

Not all of Sanders’ delegates were immediately comfortable with the wording outlined in the pledge and have proposed changes. Sanders’ campaign has been receptive, however, agreements are still being finalized in many states. Delegates are expected to uphold a certain set of values and represent Sanders’ ideas by the start of the Democratic National Convention, which is slated for August.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Bernie Sanders Makes Delegates Sign A Pledge Promising They Won’t Bash Biden – The Daily Wire – 5/21/2020
Sanders’ former press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, has been openly opposed to allowing Biden to take the nomination despite remaining primaries, tweeting, “I don’t endorse Joe Biden…I supported Bernie Sanders because he backed ideas like #MedicareForAll, cancelling ALL student debt, & a wealth tax. Biden supports none of those.”

Bernie Sanders, seeking peace with Joe Biden, asks his own delegates to turn down the volume – Washington Post – 5/20/2020
The move, which carried a threat of being removed as a delegate, has the effect of blunting one of the most powerful if divisive tools of Sanders’s movement — its unrestrained online presence and tendency to stoke controversy through other media, which has at times spiraled into abuse of his opponents, perceived and real.

Sanders Campaign Asks Delegates To Sign Pledge They Won’t Openly Attack Biden – HuffPost – 5/21/2020
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.

Sanders delegates push back at agreements prohibiting convention dissent: ‘It’s ridiculous’ – Fox News – 5/21/2020
“I think these restrictions are unreasonable and I don’t think it’s the way they’re going to get unity,” said a 2016 Sanders delegate who’s been picked to represent the populist senator at the August convention in Milwaukee, Wis.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Neera Tanden on Twitter, 5/20/2020: Really want to thank @berniesanders for his many efforts to support unity in fighting Trump, including this: https://t.co/gqzw1ShRAR

Ben Norton on Twitter, 5/21/2020: I’m sorry but Bernie Sanders needs to shut the h*ll up at this pointHis campaign is now making surrogates promise not to attack right-wing DemocratsAll this is doing is sheep-dogging for the right-wing neoliberal Democratic Party and war criminal Bidenhttps://t.co/vjJmiQr8Z6

Philippe Reines on Twitter, 5/21/2020: Bernie is leaning on his delegates & supporters to try and stop them from repeating what they did in 2016. It’s important and commendable he’s doing so. It’s also a long overdue acknowledgment that he was too passive watching his people undermine Hillary. https://t.co/g4uYwUSuDC

Fred on Twitter, 5/21/2020: I don’t know who needs to know this but you definitely don’t need permission to speak your mind. https://t.co/C66vazmoWc

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