Democrats backing moderate presidential candidates are rejecting an argument put forth by front-runner Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDNC warns campaigns about cybersecurity after attempted scamOvernight Health Care Presented by American Health Care Association Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of ‘unknown’ origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency fundsBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C.MORE (I-Vt.) that the candidate with the most delegates heading into the convention, even if its not a majority, should be the partys nominee.
Democrats are closely watching how things shake out during the South Carolina primary on Saturday and the 14 state contests four days later on Super Tuesday. But several Sanders critics said they would probably try to deny the Vermont independent the nomination if he fails to reach the required 1,991 delegates on the first ballot at the convention in July, even if he has more than any other candidate. 
If a candidate does not secure a majority of pledged delegates on the first ballot, so-called superdelegates members of Congress and other party officials would be able to cast votes for any candidate during subsequent rounds. That presents a range of possible scenarios, including one in which remaining centrist candidates collectively have more pledged delegates than Sanders.
Some supporters of moderate candidates are already declaring they have no intention of voting for Sanders if a second ballot is needed.
Im going to vote for who I see as the best representative of Democrats and, most importantly, the person I see as most likely to beat Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buckOvernight Health Care Presented by American Health Care Association Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of ‘unknown’ origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency fundsTrump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: ‘I try to bail out as much as possible’ after sneezesMORE, plain and simple, centrist freshman Rep. Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsBloomberg builds momentum on Capitol Hill with new endorsementsVulnerable Democrats fret over surging SandersDemocrats¬†tear into Trump’s speech: It was a ‘MAGA rally’MORE (D-Minn.), a supporter of Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C.The Hill’s Campaign Report: Gloves off in South CarolinaLawmakers grill Ticketmaster, StubHub execs over online ticketingMORE, told The Hill on Thursday. Right now, I dont believe it is Bernie Sanders.
At this stage, I dont envision backing Sanders on a second ballot, Phillips added.
Two Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergGiuliani: Bloomberg ‘jeopardized’ stop and frisk by ‘overusing it’Bloomberg calls on Trump to implement firearm background checksThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Gloves off in South CarolinaMORE backers also told The Hill they would not vote for Sanders on a second ballot.
I cant see that right now, said Rep. Scott PetersScott H. PetersVulnerable Democrats fret over surging SandersBloomberg lands Utah’s lone Democratic rep as sixth congressional endorsementFifth congressional Democrat backs Bloomberg in 2020 raceMORE (D-Calif.), who represents a San Diego area district. Were not bound by anything. Thats the way the rules work, and were just following the rules.
Were going to vote for Michael Bloomberg right now, added Rep. Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.), the Queens Democratic party boss. It depends on whats the deal, whos still in the race, whos not in the race. I reserve the right to make the determination of what I would do.
The comments come after House Democrats attended a briefing at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters a few blocks from the Capitol about the convention delegate rules.
Thursdays hour-long briefing, led by DNC staff, served to give lawmakers a refresher on the process. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump passes Pence a dangerous buckOvernight Health Care Presented by American Health Care Association Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of ‘unknown’ origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency fundsStone judge under pressure over calls for new trialMORE (D-Calif.), who requested the briefing, downplayed it as strictly a housekeeping meeting and really just a reading of the rules.
Attendees said there were no fireworks.
Pelosi, in an effort to maintain her neutral stance, declined to say if she would back whichever candidate had the most pledged delegates at the convention.
The person who we nominate will be the person who has the majority plus one. That may happen before they even get to the convention. But we’ll see. The people will speak, and that’s what we’re listening to, Pelosi said at a press conference ahead of the briefing.
At last weeks presidential debate in Las Vegas, Sanders was the only candidate to argue that whoever has the most pledged delegates by the Milwaukee convention should be the partys nominee.
The 2020 convention rules are a result of a change, advocated by Sanderss team after his 2016 primary loss to former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDNC warns campaigns about cybersecurity after attempted scamBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C.Stone judge under pressure over calls for new trialMORE, to reduce the power of superdelegates. Previously, superdelegates could vote on the first ballot, awarding influence to party insiders in the establishment.
Sanderss position this time around is a reversal from 2016, when he called for superdelegates to override Clintons pledged delegate majority that she won in the primaries. Veteran Democrats are now only too happy to draw attention to Sanderss involvement in rewriting the convention rules.
The rules provide that you have to have a majority. He wrote the rules, said Rep. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenHillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company’s databaseHillicon Valley: Democrats cancel surveillance vote over pushback to amendments | Lawmakers grill Ticketmaster, StubHub execs over online ticketing | Democrats cancel surveillance vote over pushback to amendmentsMORE (D-Calif.), the House Administration Committee chairman who has not endorsed a presidential candidate.
The rules were set up primarily as a concession to [Sanders], added Meeks. Were going to follow the rules and the rules say we have to have a majority.
But Sanders supporters in Congress argue that, assuming he continues to rack up delegates like he has in the first three states, whoever is closest to a majority should win the nomination.
If you have somebody who has 45 percent of the vote, 47 percent of the vote, and the next person has 20 percent of the vote, then I think it’s important for that second round of people to consider the will of the voters, said Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats cancel surveillance vote over pushback to amendments22 studies agree: ‘Medicare for All’ saves moneyBand Portugal. The Man to join Sanders at campaign event in TacomaMORE (D-Wash.), a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
She suggested that lawmakers open musing about voting against Sanders at a contested convention even if he has a plurality of pledged delegates reeked of a double standard.
If any other candidate had gotten 47 percent of the vote in Nevada and had the kind of turnout that Bernie Sanders did, I think that perhaps some people would have a different reaction to exactly what we should be doing right now, Jayapal added. So let the voters vote. Let’s stay and allow these contests to continue. And let’s see what happens.
The last conventions where a candidate didnt win the nomination on the first ballot were in 1952, for both Democrats and Republicans.
The unsettled 2020 field is increasing speculation among Democrats that they could face a contested or brokered convention this summer.
I think it could be a second ballot, said Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenClinton advises checking your voter registration during Trump’s State of the UnionOcasio-Cortez, Pressley to boycott State of the Union10 Democrats to boycott Trump State of the Union addressMORE (D-Tenn.), who has not endorsed a candidate. I don’t see that the candidates and the money that are involved, anybody having a majority after the first ballot.