Trade War

Sanders Keeps Up Pressure on Trans-Pacific Partnership

Sanders is hoping that he’ll be able to influence the Democratic Party platform to mirror the populist ideals that fueled his campaign.

Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg

As Barack Obama joined Hillary Clinton in their first joint campaign rally Tuesday, Bernie Sanders was doing his best to make sure the president's signature trade agreement would go down in flames.

“The Democrats must go on record in opposition to holding a vote on the TPP,” Sanders said in one of several Twitter messages Tuesday aimed at derailing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact championed by the Obama administration. 

While Sanders kept his tweet storm against the TPP, his top political aides were touring the facilities of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where the Vermont senator plans make a high-profile stand on the issue. 

Sanders is hoping that he'll be able to influence the Democratic Party platform, using his nearly 1,900 delegates to create a document that mirrors the populist ideals that fueled his primary campaign, and throughout his campaign he, like Donald Trump, portrayed TPP as an American job killer. 

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As Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager, toured the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, it was clear that the candidate and his top brass have no intention of ceding any influence over convention planning. But Weaver said that “there was no discussion of program,” despite Sanders himself having expressed interest in speaking at the convention.

Some Clinton allies have tried to use the promise of a prime time speaking spot to encourage Sanders to drop out of the race and endorse the former secretary of state.

DNC convention officials, who didn't immediately respond to e-mails, are still busy finalizing convention speaking slots as well as logistical information for where delegates will be situated during convention proceedings.

While Sanders won many concessions in the draft platform released July 1, including language promoting a $15-an-hour minimum wage, the document doesn't come out against the TPP. A platform opposing the trade deal would put the party in direct opposition of its leader, Obama.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has made his opposition to the TPP a central pillar of his campaign. Sanders has called on the committee to adopt his amendment against the TPP when the full platform committee meets on July 8-9 in Orlando, Florida. If the amendment doesn’t pass there, spokesman Michael Briggs said the campaign has the “option” to present a minority report at the convention if 25 percent of the committee’s 187 members back his opposition to the trade deal.

“If both Clinton and I agree that the TPP should not get to the floor of Congress this year, it's hard to understand why an amendment saying so would not be overwhelmingly passed,” Sanders wrote in an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer after the draft platform was released. In the same essay he promised to reach out to “grassroots America” to oppose the trade deal.

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