"Pressure has been on Sanders from the very beginning,” Rall said, observing that the Sanders campaign has been an uphill battle since the Vermont Senator first announced his intentions to run last summer. “It really began with a widespread media blackout, and, as the process continued and it became clear that he was garnering tremendous momentum and drawing huge crowds and winning primaries and caucuses, that he needed to be stopped."
Rall suggests that the Democratic Party establishment has colluded to weaken Sanders’ campaign. "The DNC, which is largely controlled by allies of Secretary Clinton, created a debate schedule that was meant to deprive [Sanders] of oxygen. Scheduling them on Saturday nights on obscure channels where nobody was likely to be watching," Rall said.
"[The Clinton campaign] had to open up in response to the Sanders phenomenon, because it’s become increasingly clear that without Sanders’ supporters, no Democrat is going to be able to effectively challenge Republican nominee Donald Trump."
Loud and Clear host Brian Becker pointed out that Clinton has refused to debate Sanders in California before the state’s primary, and asked Rall, "This is really just trying to squeak through to the finish line isn’t it?"
Rall responded that Clinton’s refusal to debate is another tactic designed to imply that she has already won the nomination, and that a recent Associated Press poll adds a veneer of legitimacy to that claim. The reality, he says, won’t manifest quite so neatly.
"It’s very unlikely that either Sanders or Clinton will have enough delegates to go into the convention as a presumed winner." Rall said, "The presumption that Hillary Clinton is going to be the winner is based entirely on a poll of superdelegates," he explained, adding, "Superdelegates amount to about one-sixth of the Party’s delegates…So if everybody told the truth in that poll and they don’t change their minds… then they will vote at the convention to put Hillary Clinton over the top, but the point is, that hasn’t happened yet.”
Rall asserted, "I don’t know of any election that’s been decided by polls."
Becker noted a recent shift in Sanders’ rhetoric, saying that a few weeks ago Sanders seemed poised to capitulate to Clinton under the auspices of ensuring a Trump defeat, but now is saying more clearly that if Trump is to be defeated, it could only be with him as the Democratic nominee.
"It is a conflicted message, or maybe it’s more of a reversal," Rall said, suggesting that, "at this stage I think he kind of believes both. He does think the party needs to do whatever it takes to defeat Trump, but at the same time he is not convinced that Hillary Clinton is the best person to do the job."
Sanders has been emboldened by recent primary victories in swing states like Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio, and will use that momentum to counter doubters in the DNC, Rall said.
"Sanders is pushing back more and more. He had come into this somewhat as a protest candidate, but now that he can smell the possibility of victory, now he’s taking it far more seriously and is refusing to get stomped all over."