Hillary’s landslide win in California puts a punctuation mark on her campaign to become the Democrat nominee for President. Sanders last gasp effort to carry California couldn’t overcome a better ground game, a better party network, and Clinton’s strong ties to both the Hispanic and black communities.
Hillary is going to beat the Chump, and with momentum, keep the Senate in Democrat hands, and possibly take the House back. I think the American voters have had about enough of whack job, wild eyed extremism – and it is time to take the trash out.
I also believe that in order to keep that majority, Hillary and the rest of the Democrats had better pay rapt attention to the sort of economic changes sought by both the Bernie Bros., and which feuled the Chump’s rise.
Time for Bernie and co. to quit pouting, and go home – until the convention, where they certainly can have an impact on the Party Platform, help energize the faithful for the upcoming vicious battle against the Chumpazoids, and start building a consensus for Progressive candidates at the national level in the house and senate.
During his barnstorming rallies to massive audiences, Bernie Sanders is fond of declaring “enough is enough!” And after the latest round of primary results, many Democratic party leaders will be hoping Sanders now feels similarly about his own campaign.
Sanders and his team should take immense pride in what they’ve achieved over the past 12 months. On July 8 2015, the RealClearPolitics polling average had the Vermont Senator on a mere 14.3%, almost a full 50 points behind the apparently bulletproof Clinton. To the extent he was noticed at all, Sanders was treated by the press and Clinton supporters as a benign but crusty uncle, well-meaning but toothless.
One year on, Sanders has emerged victorious in more than 20 states, and at one point in April he reduced the gap in that same average to just 1%. And those victories are just half the story.
Most importantly, Sanders and his followers have played a role in forcing Clinton to embrace her own progressive instincts rather than taking to the safety of the centre ground. He has also ensured that “socialism” is no longer a taboo word in American politics, at least not in a Democratic primary. Meanwhile, Winnie Wong, the digital strategist behind #FeelTheBern, will probably never want for work again.
Despite all these achievements, Bernie has fallen short. So what should he do now? If we look to the recent past, there are a few well-trodden routes he can take.
Path #1: unity at all costs
Sanders doesn’t have to set his own example of how to unify the Democratic party after a divisive and close primary campaign. Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton herself showed everyone how it’s done.
After an equivocal statement on the night of the last primaries, Clinton formally dropped out four days later and gave Obama a full-throated endorsement. Later that month, in a symbolic gesture, the two former rivals made a joint appearance in the aptly-named New Hampshire town of Unity, where they had both captured 107 votes in the state’s primary.
And to cap it all, it was she who stopped the (well-choreographed) roll-call of delegate votes at the Democratic convention to formally seal Obama’s nomination. She then used her convention speech to declare: “Barack Obama is my candidate, and he must be our president.”
Despite the lingering bitterness of a rancorous nomination battle, her friendship with Republican nominee John McCain, and the encouragement of hardcore supporters (rallying under the slogan Party Unity My Ass), she then hit the trail and worked hard to help secure Barack Obama’s victory.
Path 2: Berning down the house
Another option for Sanders is to act as a disruptive force and weaken Hillary Clinton ahead of the general election, as Senator Ted Kennedy did to President Jimmy Carter in 1980.
John F Kennedy’s younger brother had already shown he cared little for party unity by challenging a sitting Democratic president, and he continued to show contempt for the principle even after Carter won enough delegates to secure the nomination.
Path 3: viva la revolución!
Perhaps the best parallel for Sanders is the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who ran two trailblazing campaigns for the Democratic nomination in 1984 and 1988. Sanders, mayor of Burlington at the time, was one of the few white politicians to endorse Jackson’s 1988 run – and like Sanders today, Jackson was hardly beloved by the Democratic establishment, but on his second attempt he finished a surprisingly strong second place to the eventual nominee.
The culturally and racially diverse “rainbow coalition” that Jackson formed in 1984 helped propel Democrats to victories in the 1986 midterms, and his strong performance in 1988 suggested that the power of the coalition was only growing.
While Jackson hoped to become the first African-American to run on a national ticket, Dukakis refused. He nonetheless enjoyed a primetime speaking slot at the convention, and his campaign secured changes to primary rules that made the voting process fairer and more proportional. These changes are now credited by some with opening the door to Obama’s victory a generation later.