Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won’t win their party’s nod, but that doesn’t mean his campaign has been in vain.
“He’s coming back to the Senate. I think that he has the ability to be a tremendously more powerful senator in our caucus than he was,” he said in an interview that aired Saturday. “He was no patsy to begin with. But he can be something much more than what he was.”
Reid, a senator from Nevada, said Sanders has been an important part of his caucus and helped him with the Affordable Care Act. He also said he appreciates the direction in which the Vermont senator has pushed the Democratic Party.
“I have a lot of positive things to say about Sen. Sanders, but again I believe that the people around him need to be more positive about what his contribution can be and should be,” he said, alluding to the uproar at the Nevada Democratic Party convention earlier this month.
Sanders supporters had argued that the Democratic National Committee heavily favored former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the ensuing commotion received widespread coverage.
Afterward, Sanders released a statement dismissing the allegation that his supporters have a “penchant for violence” as “nonsense.” He reaffirmed his commitment to nonviolent change and reiterated some of the claims made by his supporters.
“If the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned.
Reid said he does not think a similar controversy will erupt at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July, where former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is likely to accept the party’s nomination.
“I really feel everything is going to be OK. And my conversations with Bernie Sanders… I just hope the people who surround him, his campaign advisers, give him the right advice,” he said.