I vented in a prior post about Bernie Sanders supporters who are vowing to stay home on election day rather than vote for Hillary Clinton. The result of such action, of course, would be the to position the GOP to retake the White House and put in place policies that would be the antithesis of what Sanders claims to support. Now, a column in the Washington Post argues that Sanders himself will back Hillary after he drops out of the Democrat nomination contest. If Sanders truly cares more about the causes he has championed rather than his ego, I believe the column is on point. , Here are column highlights:
Eight years ago, I spent an election night in a basement gymnasium in Manhattan, watching Hillary Clinton and her campaign advisers create an alternate reality.It was June 3, 2008, and Barack Obama had just clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, making official a victory that had seemed inevitable for months. But Terry McAuliffe, then the campaign chairman and emcee of this Clinton “victory” party, recited a list of Clinton’s primary wins and introduced her as “the next president of the United States.”
Clinton, too, made no mention of her defeat, boasting that she had won “more votes than any primary candidate in history.”
Yet four days later, Clinton graciously bowed out of the race. In a concession speech at the National Building Museum in Washington, she said she and her supporters would “do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States.” Some in the hall booed — but Clinton delivered her supporters to Obama in November.
Recalling this serene end to the bitter 2008 Democratic primary battle, I’m not inclined to join in all the hand-wringing about the damage Bernie Sanders is doing to Clinton’s chances in November by remaining in the race.
It doesn’t matter if Sanders continues his candidacy until the last votes are cast in June. What matters is that he quits gracefully, and there should be every expectation he will, for a simple reason: Sanders is not a fool.
Sanders sounded like an extortionist Monday night when he answered a college student’s question about whether he would encourage his supporters to back Clinton if she secured the nomination. He said Clinton would have to earn their support by embracing single-payer health care, free college tuition and a carbon tax — all things Clinton rejected in her (successful) campaign against Sanders.
But seconds later, the forum’s moderator, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, rephrased the question: “If it’s incumbent on her, what role do you have?” And Sanders gave a very different answer. “I will do everything in my power to make sure that no Republican gets into the White House in this election cycle,” he said.
That’s the crucial point. Sanders wants to exert maximum leverage to the very end to move Clinton toward his populist policies. But he is a practical man, and he certainly doesn’t wish to see a President Trump or President Cruz. This is why there’s no cause for all the fuss over him remaining in the race until he is mathematically eliminated.
Even before Tuesday night’s results from the Northeast, he needed to win 59 percent of remaining delegates, or 71 percent if you include super delegates. That isn’t going to happen.
And so it will happen this time. Sanders, when he quits the race, can justifiably declare victory in moving the debate — and Clinton — in his direction on trade, Wall Street, income inequality, campaign finance and energy. His campaign has exceeded all expectations, and he isn’t about to jeopardize his movement by handing the presidency to Trump.