Bernie Sanders is the first candidate since the major reformation of the primary system to persist even though he lost. And he’s doing it on the pretense of winning some concessions at the convention. The problem is that he doesn’t have the leverage to do this even though he did and that he doesn’t realize this just underscores why the problem was less with his far left ideas than with the man himself and his terrible strategic decisions.
Who is the most influential member of the Obama administration that ran against him in 2008? It would be tempting to say Hillary Clinton, who became his secretary of state. But that’s because you forgot that Joe Biden ran in 2008 as well. Joe Biden got the maximum result by dropping out early. This is the counterpoint to the Clinton/Obama scenario.
Sanders doesn’t need to stay in the race to be influential. He has influence. Simply staying in the race to win some on-paper concessions on the platform is a waste of his time and his supporter’s time. But outside of his speeches, the news reports hint at a darker reason. Sanders appears to be seeking personal revenge against Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Barney Frank, and Daniel Molloy, the Connecticut governor, as his top priority. His second priority? To change the primary rules that he thinks defeated him. All of these noble progressive policy planks seem to be a distant third in what he hopes to achieve.
This is yet another disgusting act by a man that has been given all kinds of plot armor by a horserace hungry press and an idealistic youth who is on a spin cycle between admiration for the fan based on his ideas and then ideas based on the man, having completely lost sight of where it all started. Only in such a vortex of personality could idealistic lefties excuse a flip-flop on Superdelegates, the data theft then blame the victim dance with the DNC, or the continual denigration of progressive heroes who didn’t support the “revolution” meme.
Another thing not on Sanders’s list? Gun control. Neither in his Thursday night speech nor in his reported lists of ransoms did he list gun control. Since he was apparently so butthurt by Clinton’s attacks on him for his record on guns that he broke his vow about negative campaigning, you’d think he’d try and do something especially in the wake of yet another horrible incident.
And that’s not even the icing on the cake. The icing on the cake is that this man, who has come to take literally the polite language included in the eulogies for his campaign, could have had an awful lot of these things if he was smart enough to identify the point of maximum leverage with any precision.
That moment came when Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee unexpectedly quickly, received the backing of the party unexpectedly quickly, and narrowed his polling gap with Clinton quickly. In that moment, Sanders could have had his ransom. But by persisting with the result of being destroyed in California, he lost it. In that same stretch of time, Clinton has opened a 10-point lead over Trump, a lead wide enough to obviate the need for state-level polling.
Only the most paranoid Bernie cultists are following him down this march of lemmings. Hillary Clinton is going to win this election with or without them. If it’s without them, and with the help of moderates, the progressive agenda will be even more irrelevant to the incoming administration as she looks to be reelected with the same coalition.
Chances are this is what will happen. The victim/martyr/purity complex of this group will be better served by that result anyway. They are constitutionally incapable of being part of the people in charge anyway.