I’m already seeing columns and editorials declaring that if Clinton loses to Trump in November it’s Sanders’s fault because he won’t drop out and give her an unequivocal endorsement.
My Facebook buddy Bob Brigham wrote,
“A lot of otherwise smart people have a major blind spot on this. Bernie Sanders isn’t a fad, there is no cult of personality. Bernie is simply a vessel for pent up rage against our corrupt oligarchy. Pissed off progressives won’t vote for Hillary in November because Bernie says so. The only way is for Hillary to earn it.”
I also wrote earlier today, on Facebook,
Because I’m not actually psychotic I believe that Clinton will be the Dem nominee, and if Trump is the GOP nominee she will beat him. Frankly, the Dems could nominate a can of soup and beat him. He’s horrible enough that (I suspect) even the die-hard “Bernie or Bust” people probably will change their minds by November.
However, if the GOP manages to substitute another Republican (other than Ted Cruz) — growing more unlikely but still possible — all bets are off. Clinton would be about the worst nominee imaginable against a more establishment Republican, and in that event she’s going to need every Sanders supporter’s vote she can pick up.
Clinton supporters and media people have a weird idea that if Sanders would just say the word, his supporters would all fall into line and support Clinton. I don’t think so. The Sanders campaign has been less about him than about what he represents. The frustration and antipathy toward the establishment — including, possibly especially, the Democratic Party establishment — was long brewing before Sanders stepped up and declared his candidacy. To simply transfer support to establishment darling Hillary Clinton would be a betrayal of everything Sanders’s supporters had hoped to accomplish.
That said, I think Sanders will help Clinton if he can. He’s said more than once that she’d make a better President than any of the Republicans. He is absolutely not going to attempt a third-party run in November. But she’s got to dial down the arrogance and be willing to give him something, policy-wise, before he can do that. If he simply throws his support to her without her making that effort, it won’t mean anything to the Sanders voters. This campaign was never about his personal ambitions but about what he represents that Clinton doesn’t.
As I said, especially if Trump is the nominee a lot of people who are yelling “Bernie or Bust” now probably will change their minds by November. But Clinton and the Dems can help themselves a lot by how they handle Sanders from now on and at the convention. They’re going to have to be very careful. They’re going to have to treat him respectfully and give him a seat at the table, so to speak, and not shove him away like some fringe candidate weirdo. I hope Clinton realizes that.
I personally think Clinton would be a pathetic excuse for a candidate to not beat Trump. But if she doesn’t, that’s on her. Well, her and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
After New York, and yesterday, I think it’s going to be close to impossible for the GOP to deny Trump the nomination, however much the establishment may want to do that. The vote gap is too big. So it probably is going to be Clinton-Trump. Which is good for Clinton, because her whole campaign has been based on “vote for me, or you’ll get President Trump.” If someone else gets the nomination it’s going to throw her off.