The Democratic Primary is essentially done. Hillary Clinton will win the majority of Pledge Delegates. She will win the majority of Super Delegates. She will also win the popular vote. There is no way that Bernie Sanders can catch her in any of these categories. He cannot win. He will not win. He has no hope. It is all over but the shouting which he promises to continue all the way to the convention. But what happens then? What happens to all of Bernie’s plans and his ambitious agenda if he just can’t stop running for President even after everyone knows he has lost? There is a way forward for Bernie, but first he must be willing to lose in order to win.
Bernie Sanders says he wants to change the Democratic Party platform. He says he wants to make the nominating process more democratic. He says he wants the Democratic Party to better serve the millions of young people and working people who came out to vote for his agenda and his ideas. Even as a loser, he will probably have the votes to get all of this done. He will have his delegates, of course, but that won’t be enough. He will also need the support of at least some of Hillary’s delegates as well. They will likely be with him on his process proposals and the platform even if they are not with him as the nominee, but he won’t get their support if he comes into the convention still challenging Hillary Clinton for the nomination. If he is still trying to subvert the will of the people and take the nomination away from Hillary by hook or by crook, then he will find himself losing not only the nomination but also any chance to affect real and meaningful change within the Democratic Party. Only by accepting Hillary’s victory and his defeat can he gain the respect and support he needs from her delegates to get his agenda passed. Otherwise he will just end up looking like a sore loser, a disruptor and a foolish angry old man tilting at windmills.
For Bernie, there can be no room for ego or self-righteousness. He will need to stop putting Hillary in the crosshairs of his bombastic rhetoric and step down off of his moral high horse. He will have to think strategically instead of ideologically. In other words, he will have to give up being a zealot and start acting like a politician. It will be difficult. It will be galling. Bernie really does believe that he would be a better nominee and a better President than Hillary Clinton. Millions of people agree with him, but millions more do not and that is a reality that he will have to live with if he wants a better Democratic Party and some kind of progressive path forward within that party for the people who support him.
So Bernie has two choices. He can fight to the bitter end and lose everything or he can fully support Hillary as the nominee before the convention and see many of his principles and positions codified into the party platform and the party structure. It may not be the victory he wanted, but it’s the only one he’s going to get.
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