Sanders supporters: By all means, keep fighting for what you believe in. However, take care to fight smart and not stupid.
As I write this, with 92 percent of precincts reporting in California, Clinton leads with 56 to 43 percent of the vote. This is seriously bad. This result pretty much erases any chance Sanders might have had at going into the convention with serious leverage. I do not doubt that there are all kinds of reasons (such as the “no party preference” ballots) why this result does not accurately reflect the will of voters. But here in Real World Land those numbers are all that matter.
The reality is that at the DNC convention Hillary Clinton will officially receive the nomination on the first ballot, and that will probably be one of the first things the convention does. There will be no “contesting.” Sanders simply does not have the leverage to contest anything. Had he won California, or had the vote even been a close second, things might have been different. But they aren’t.
(Note that massive street demonstrations in Philadelphia won’t give Sanders the nomination, either. And if such demonstrations turn violent, they will discredit Sanders and any movement he might lead going forward. I’m not saying don’t go to Philadelphia to demonstrate, but I am saying that if you go, be disciplined and be careful.)
In fact, he probably has more leverage right now than he will later, since the Democratic Party will be just about frantic to get him out of the way asap. The convention is supposed to be a celebratory rah-rah occasion. Clinton will want to be choosing and announcing her running mate and otherwise be getting ready for the big party. So if there’s anything he still hopes to achieve regarding the party platform, convention speakers, or senate committee assignments, IMO he’s got a better shot at getting those things now than he will in July.
So if he does announce that he is suspending his campaign later this week, or after the final primary (DC) next Tuesday, I hope you don’t think less of him.
I’ve also been saying all along that Sanders is not going to run as a third party or independent candidate in November. Because of the way we run elections, such candidacies have no hope of winning and have never accomplished anything but generate meaningless publicity for the candidate. Such an attempt is a prime example of stupid, IMO.
Of course, I don’t know the man personally, and he may continue to campaign, and he may choose to run third party, but IMO those would be terrible misjudgments on his part and would tell me he’s not as smart as I think he is. But we’ll see.
In any event, I urge everyone to get involved in the Brand New Congress movement that some former Sanders staffers started, aimed at having a big impact on the 2018 midterms. Bernie will still be in the Senate, where he can continue to provide leadership. Don’t think of this presidential campaign as a failure, but as a start.