Allies of Hillary Clinton say that she feels no pressure to debate Bernie Sanders in California because as far as they are concerned, the race is over.
“There’s nothing to debate,” said one longtime ally and confidante. “There’s nothing new. You can run these debates on loop. The attacks are all the same. And we cannot tolerate his tired, old attacks that continue to disunite the party at a time when it’s supposed to be united.”
A former Clinton aide said Sanders should be allowed to finish campaigning in the primary but he should also give Clinton the space she needs to focus on the general without creating “more friction.”
“It’s basically over,” the former aide said. “He needs to work on uniting the party, not scheduling another debate.”
The talk of Sanders needing to work on “uniting the party” is a bit overblown. The party isn’t as fractured as some think it is. Bernie Sanders has plenty of time to get his supporters behind the cause of beating Trump in November.
The bigger question is what would a California debate accomplish? I think it was a great idea when it was originally proposed because the debate could have been huge if Sen. Sanders still had any chance of catching up to Hillary Clinton. Now that Sanders has no chance of beating Clinton in pledged delegates or the popular vote, there is no reason for a debate in California.
Fox News was pushing hard to host the debate because they would have liked nothing more than to generate questions about Clinton’s emails and Benghazi, but there is a reason why it has been a decade plus since Fox hosted a Democratic debate. Sen. Sanders wants the debate because it would have provided his cash-strapped campaign with tons of free national media and an avenue to directly appeal to California’s voters, but it would have been out of character for Clinton to agree to this debate.
Hillary Clinton has moved on to planning for the general election, and there is no indication that she will take a step back into the primary and debate Bernie Sanders on Fox News in California.