Politics

Hillary Clinton seizes the Democratic nomination and a decisive victory in California's primary.

Democrats nudge Bernie Sanders toward party unity as he returns to Capitol Hill

Democrats appear to be engaging in soft diplomacy as they celebrate Hillary Clinton's history-making presidential rise while quietly nudging rival Bernie Sanders to call it quits — but only when he's ready.

Sanders is heading to Capitol Hill to speak Thursday with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and hold an afternoon rally ahead of the District of Columbia's primary next week.

Top Democratic leaders said they were confident Sanders would unite behind Clinton.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the incoming Democratic leader, called Sanders a "very constructive man."

"We have a mutual goal, which is to make sure that Democrats stay in the White House," Schumer said Wednesday.

"We're on a path to unity," Schumer said. "The Democratic Party will shortly be unified for two reasons: One, we know what would happen if there were a President Trump. And two, we know the good things that would happen — getting middle-class incomes moving, bringing America together — if there's President Clinton."

Even Sanders' allies among progressive leadership in Congress said the time was approaching to end the long primary campaign.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a Sanders backer who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said he expected the Vermont senator's pursuit of superdelegates to subside.

“The reality is unattainable at some point," Grijalva told the Washington Post. "You deal with that. Bernie is going to deal with this much more rapidly than you think."

The lone Sanders supporter in the Senate, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, told the Post it's time for the Clinton and Sanders teams to unify the party.

“This is the moment when we need to start bringing parts of the party together so they can go into the convention with locked arms and go out of the convention unified into the general election,” Merkley said.

Clinton ally Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said of Sanders: "I have a lot of faith in him. He has pledged that he wants unity."

Potential vice presidential pick Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia tweeted his own call to unity, while Sen. Claire McCaskill praised Sanders' contributions to the party.

“I think we need to give time," McCaskill told CBS' "This Morning." "I have so much respect for what he's done and for his supporters. He's elevated the debate of our party. I think we are stronger because of it. And I think over time, over the next few weeks, this will all come together."

One key Democrat, though, has been noticeably quiet Wednesday: Elizabeth Warren.

Requests for comment from her office were not immediately answered.


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