Sen. Bernie Sanders was the lone voice on Wednesday night's debate stage in Las Vegas endorsing without reservation the idea that the candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination with the most votes by this summer's convention in Milwaukee should be the party's standard bearer.
All other five candidates onstage endorsed allowing the "process" to play out, which would mean allowing super-delegates to weigh in from the second ballot on, alongside the regular delegates earned from votes in the primary.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd asked the candidates if the person with the most delegates at the end of the primary season should be the nominee even if they don't have a majority of the delegates. Only one person on stage had a different answer from the others. #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/owrJtetRjh— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 20, 2020
"Out of all the candidates, Bernie is the only one to advocate for the democratic will of the people—he wants your vote to count more than a superdelegate's," tweeted progressive group Democratic Socialists of America.
Moderator Chuck Todd asked Sanders and the other candidates—Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg—about the possibility of a brokered convention at the end of a contentious and often bitter two hour debate.
"Theres a very good chance none of you are going to have enough delegates at the Democratic National Convention to clinch this nomination," said Todd. "If that happens, I want all of your opinions on this, should the person with the most delegates at the end of this proimary season be the nominee even if they are short of a majority?"
All candidates but Sanders, who noted the presence of super-delegates on the second ballot, said no.
As the New York Times explained:
It's essentially an admission from Mr. Sanders' rivals that he may finish the primary and caucus calendar with the most pledged delegates, but that they hope to hold him under 50 percent and make their case to delegates in Milwaukee.
"Stunning middle finger to democracy and the democratic base," said journalist Kyle Kulinski of the other candidates. "Inexcusable and the definition of authoritarian."
Sanders surrogate Linda Sarsour said on Twitter that her candidate's answer on the delegates was the only acceptable one in a democratic system.
"Bernie Sanders was the only candidate with the RIGHT ANSWER re: should the person with most delegates going in to the convention get the nomination," said Sarsour. "YES, let the will of the people prevail."