As His Campaign Winds Down, What Is Bernie Sanders' Next Move?
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Next we've called Larry Cohen. He's a senior adviser to the Sanders campaign and the former president of a major labor union, the Communications Workers of America. He's on a cell phone. Good morning, sir.
LARRY COHEN: Good morning. Great to be with you.
INSKEEP: Glad you're with us. Sanders sounds like he's still running. Is he really?
COHEN: Well, from the beginning, our message was every vote, every delegate. It's never been just about Bernie. It's been about how do we work inside and outside the Democratic Party for progressive change. I don't think that's changed. I'm a D.C. resident, also a superdelegate. D.C. folks are going to vote for Bernie because they want to see change. They want to...
INSKEEP: Well, that's right. There's still the Washington, D.C. voting to go, true. But he has lost in the delegate count it would seem.
COHEN: Yeah, but we're going to go to the convention with 1,900 delegates. I can - you can count on a major role, not for Bernie - not just for Bernie - that's not the most important thing. But for these 1,900 delegates, our goal is to change the platform, make it clear to the president - no TPP to the Congress, get rid of superdelegates. I'm a superdelegate campaigning to get rid of them. It's a disgrace, the role superdelegates played in this entire year - to get big money out of the nominating process at least. Let's end super PACs in the nominating process. And so it's about reform of the Democratic Party. It's about a platform that makes it more of a populist party so that we win votes not just for Hillary Clinton or the nominee, but up and down the ticket.
INSKEEP: You mentioned a couple of things having to do with campaign reforms, and then you said the TPP. You want the platform to say that the Democratic Party is formally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this trade deal that President Obama has negotiated and supports.
COHEN: Yeah, and more than that, we want the platform to say the president shouldn't send it to the Congress. It will divide the country once again. And quite frankly, politically it's a wrecking ball in terms of Democrats running for office. And Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump will go after her connections to Obama and the TPP as secretary of state. It needs to be finished for the year.
INSKEEP: Mister Cohen, has Bernie Sanders, in your view, been treated with proper respect by the president and by Hillary Clinton up to now?
COHEN: Well, we had a campaign. So, you know, I don't think our issue would be the respect from the president or from Hillary Clinton. We would have issues about how the process worked, particularly the superdelegates, but also the nominating process in many of the states.
INSKEEP: I guess what I'm driving at is whether Sanders and his supporters are really ready to fully throw themselves behind Hillary Clinton here.
COHEN: I think what you heard Bernie say yesterday is that we will be fully engaged to defeat Donald Trump and, assuming she is the nominee, yes, to support her as well.
INSKEEP: OK, well, Mister Cohen, thanks very much, really appreciate it.
COHEN: OK, glad to be with you.
INSKEEP: Larry Cohen is a senior adviser to Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.