Fresh after Bernie Sanders' call for a "a fifty-state strategy... to plant the flag of progressive politics" nationwide, new reporting on Friday suggests that Hillary Clinton's campaign won't be budged any further to the left.
After Clinton claimed more victories in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania this week, Sanders said, "we are in this race until the last vote is cast," adding that his campaign would head "to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform."
Steps forward on issues that would constitute such a platform can already be seen in the race, observers say. As Max Ehrenfreund writes at Washington Post's Wonkblog Friday,
In the course of fending off Sanders's challenge, Clinton appears to have conceded to him on a couple of major economic policy issues. The former U.S. senator and secretary of state has abandoned the centrist positions she previously held on trade and Social Security and taken stances closer to Sanders's views.
That's not all that surprising, given factors apart from Sanders, Ehrenfreund writes. He points to data from Pew Research Center showing Americans' attitudes on various issues including race, poverty, regulation, and foreign policy are becoming more progressive. And there's also the influence of politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in areas like Social Security, he notes.
But Amie Parnes writes at The Hill, "Clinton supporters argue the former secretary of State has already been forced to the left by Sanders, and can't risk moving further ahead of a general election."
And while political talk show host Bill Press told The Hill that it would be the wrong move for Clinton to "move back to the center," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), told the political website that her campaign couldn't make any more leftward concessions, saying, "I don't know what's left to extract."
Cleaver added that "[Sanders has] already impacted this election probably more than anyone else including Donald Trump," and then suggested it was time for Sanders to help gather support for his rival.
Parnes also cites an anonymous Clinton ally who said, "We can't do it," regarding meeting some of Sanders' policy demands.
As Sanders sees it, the Democratic Party as a whole is in crisis, saying Thursday that it "has not been clear about which side they are on on the major issues facing this country."
Speaking to thousands at a rally in Eugene, Ore., Sanders said, "The Democratic Party has to reach a fundamental conclusion: Are we on the side working people or big money interests? Do we stand with the elderly, the children, and the sick and the poor, or do we stand with Wall Street speculators and the drug companies and the insurance companies?"
Sanders added, "Now our job is not just to revitalize the Democratic Party—not only to open the doors to young people and working people—our jobs is to revitalize American democracy."
Ehrenfreund concludes in his piece that even without securing the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders' successful pushes on key issues mean "he might be on the winning side in the contest over the party's future."
Bloomberg's delegate tracker currently shows Clinton leading Sanders with 1,645 pledged delegates compared to his 1,318.
The next Democratic primary is in Indiana, with 92 delegates, on May 3.