WASHINGTON, June 8, 2016 — Critics don’t understand the heart of Bernie Sanders. They misunderstand his motives.
Sanders is not refusing to leave the field out of defiance. It isn’t petulance that drives him. Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, but Sanders sincerely believes that she’s wrong for America. His socialist revolution is an old idea that he believes will be new again. It is the coming political wave for America, and it will come despite Clinton.
Democratic political bosses and media naysayers have discounted the enthusiasm of his millions of followers; they don’t see what his followers see, so they think his followers will fall into the party line. Clinton is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Period. It’s time for Sanders’ followers to shut up and support Hillary.
Clinton reportedly made a conciliatory phone call to Sanders on the night of her California win, which officially put her over the top in total delegates. But Sanders, who became a Democrat on paper in order to launch a historic movement he began the year before, was not buying what Clinton was selling. He pledged to his supporters that he would take his fight to the convention in Philadelphia, and they roared their approval.
How, even with Clinton’s definitive, insurmountable delegate lead, does Sanders hold onto his notion that this is not a campaign, but a revolution? What should he expect from the power-brokers in the DNC or from the White House?
President Obama suggested a confab with Sanders at the White House later in the week. The Democratic Party leader probably wants to apply his Oval Office, Chicago-style influence on Sanders and make him an offer he can’t refuse. Obama wants Sanders out so that Clinton will have a smooth presidential ride against Donald Trump.
If there is any clue that Obama will be more effective than Clinton in convincing Sanders to bow out, it isn’t obvious. Sanders said clearly and emphatically on Tuesday that he will take his revolution/campaign on to the final primary next week in the District of Columbia. Then, he said, he will “take our fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”
For Sanders and his revolutionary campaign, simple math does not apply. A revolutionary is not a bean counter, toting up delegates on a ledger. And he does raise an interesting point to argue that he is still mathematically in the race for the nomination.
According to party rules, a candidate needs 2,382 delegates to win the Democratic nomination. According to Real Clear Politics, the tally of bound delegates right now gives Clinton 2,184 to Sanders’ 1,804. She leads the Vermont senator by 280 bound delegates, but is still shy of the necessary 2,382.
It is only her 571 super delegates that push Clinton over the 2,382 threshold.
Sanders argues that the system is rigged and that the super delegates are not bound to anyone; they can legally change their mind at any time, including at the convention.
Sanders’ point got a boost when the Associated Press unexpectedly announced on Monday evening that Clinton had captured enough delegates to reach the 2,382-delegate threshold. Political forces supporting Sanders were furious and publicly raged that the media fix was in, when the news organization indicated that previously unbound super delegates had thrown their votes to Hillary.
Whether the fix was in or not, Sanders had some reason to celebrate on Tuesday night with projected wins in the Montana primary and in the North Dakota caucuses.
In the end, perhaps Philadelphia may be the end of the line for the lifelong socialist, or the birth of a liberal, democratic socialist or social-democratic movement that Hillary cannot run away from in the general election. The revolution will be televised.