Clinton to take hard line with Sanders, say allies

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE won’t bow to many demands from Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE, according to her supporters. 

Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee after a dominating performance in Tuesday’s primaries. She holds a huge delegate lead over Sanders and is focused more than ever on the general election. 

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Sanders says he’ll stay in the primary fight, but has also signaled a change in his campaign by laying off campaign staffers and talking about the importance of the party platform to be written at the Democratic National Convention. 

The signals are the early moves and machinations of a negotiation typical in Democratic contests. 

Clinton will want Sanders’s help in winning over his diehard supporters and unifying the party — and Sanders will want something in return. 

The Vermont senator has been trying to push Clinton and Democrats to adopt positions on free tuition at public colleges, and to break up the nation’s six largest banks to lessen their dominance in the credit card and mortgage business. 

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. 

“I don’t know what’s left to extract,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a Clinton supporter, said in an interview with The Hill. 

He said the Democratic primary moved the discussion “farther to the left than most moderate Democrats would like to see.

“Some would say it even endangers a victory in November because the further you go to the left or right, the further you frustrate independents,” Cleaver said. “He’s already impacted this election probably more than anyone else including Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE.”

Another ally bluntly said it will not be possible for Clinton to compromise with Sanders on some policy demands. 

“We can’t do it,” the ally said. “But there’s going to be a place for him to weigh in on the campaign and at the convention and he should have the satisfaction that he raised some issues that have been a part of the conversation.” 

Sanders allies are frustrated with what they see as recalcitrance by Clinton to offer more. 

“He can't demand anything but she'll want his full cooperation,” one Sanders ally said. 

In the short term, Sanders wants a couple of things. 

He wants to “shake up the Democratic Party and turn it upside down” because he feels as though it is in the hands of those with deep pockets and no longer represents working class Americans, the source close to the campaign said.

Sanders also wants to shape the agenda for the rest of the election, which is a major reason why Sanders will continue to fight in the primaries through June 7, and pick up more delegates when voters in California and five other states vote.

The more delegates Sanders wins, the more power he believes he’ll wield at the convention and in talks with Clinton. 

Clinton allies say Sanders has already pushed Clinton to the left on issues such as trade, where the former secretary of State now opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Clinton has also inched toward agreeing to a $15 minimum wage, saying at the last Democratic debate that she would sign legislation mandating the $15 minimum if Congress sent it to her.

Sanders supporters say they’ve seen encouraging signs from Clinton just this week. 

In a get-out-the-vote speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Clinton said the next president must “keep our troops out of another costly ground war in the Middle East” and “that Wall Street can never again be allowed to threaten Main Street.” 

She also added a line that is becoming a familiar part of her pitch: “Whether you support Senator Sanders or you support me, there’s much more than unites us than divides us.” 

Political talk show host Bill Press, a staunch Sanders supporter and a former Democratic Party chair in California, said the senator could have been standing behind Clinton on Tuesday holding up a sign that said ‘Mission Accomplished.’

But Press said Sanders’s success over the course of the primary illustrates there is a “profound dissatisfaction with politics as usual” and that Clinton should make some concessions to engage those backing Sanders. 

He said she could start by more firmly saying she’s for a $15 minimum wage. While tuition-free college might be tough for her to swallow, he said she should  “work in that direction.”

“For Hillary to move back to the center or fail to take the progressive torch and run with it would be huge mistake,” he said.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Monday, Clinton said Sanders should take a page from her own playbook in 2008, when she supported then Sen. Obama without conditions. 

“We got to the end in June and I did not put down conditions. I didn’t say, ‘You know what, if Sen. Obama does W, Y, and Z maybe I’ll support him,” Clinton said. “I said I am supporting Sen. Obama.”

But after top surrogates asked Obama to help retire Clinton's campaign debt, amounting to more than $22 million, he asked  many of his campaign bundlers to chip in to help his former rival. 

During the current election cycle, Clinton and Sanders should “start managing their relationship.” And Sanders should continue to run, Cleaver said, but begin to bring his people over to Clinton’s side. 

“It’s kind of like buttermilk, the longer it sits, the more bitter it becomes,” he said.