Clinton and Sanders to Discuss Future of Democratic Party in Private Meeting

PHOTO: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders shake hands during the democratic presidential debate on CNN.PlayLouise Wateridge/Getty Images
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After more than 12 months of competing against each other for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will, for the first time all year, sit down with each other in person and talk.

Sanders headed back to Washington, D.C., this morning for the much-anticipated meeting with Clinton, now the likely Democratic nominee.

Sanders plans to meet with Clinton one-on-one, according to his staff, who have been working to arrange the meeting since the California primary last week. The sit-down is expected to take place this evening, after polls close in the District of Columbia, which is holding the final primary in the Democratic Party’s nominating process.

Prior to the meeting, Sanders plans to speak to his colleagues in the Senate and then attend a picnic for members of Congress and their families at the White House.

What Bernie Wants

Sanders spent the weekend in his hometown of Burlington, Vermont, with some of his top advisers and supporters, strategizing about his next steps. During interviews Sunday morning, Sanders said he was hoping to hear “a commitment” from the former secretary of state during their meeting about changes to the party and its priorities going forward, ranging from Wall Street reform to party fundraising.

Sanders and his supporters feel as though they have earned the right to a few concessions from the presumptive nominee.

The campaign’s top brass says that Sanders wants reassurances from Clinton that she will not inch back to the center-right during the general election.

Will Sanders Suspend His Campaign?

There is also ongoing debate about whether the senator will at some point need to – or whether he should – formally announce that he is endorsing Clinton or suspending his campaign. Some of his staff and surrogates worry that a move like that could undercut his ability to negotiate on policy ahead of the convention, while others think it could be necessary down the road.

On Tuesday morning, the Sanders campaign announced the Vermont senator would address supporters via a LiveStream video message on Thursday night. According to campaign spokesman Michael Briggs the message will be: "The revolution continues."

Over the weekend, the senator himself said only that he was taking his campaign to the convention.

“We are going to take our campaign to the convention with the full understanding that we’re very good in arithmetic, and that we know, you know, who has received the most votes up till now,” he told reporters.

He refused to comment on President Obama endorsing Clinton as the party’s presumptive nominee, saying only that he was shifting his focus beyond his bid for the White House and promising to carry on his “political revolution” against the status quo.