What are Bernie Supporters Doing?

A common belief being aired by Bernie’s most vocal followers is that people who vote for Clinton are either corrupted or ignorant, which is about as self-righteous and condescending as you can get. Even if you ignore the potential racial undertones of that argument, given the makeup of the Clinton electorate, it is still a profoundly smug thing to believe.

Sanders cannot win because a major of Democratic voters chose someone else. Clinton benefitted from the system, yes, because it is a system of democratic elections that she won a majority of. Sanders is now asking for Democratic powerbrokers to disobey the people and give the nomination to him, anyway. Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and state fair winning horse teamster, said in an interview on NPR that he’s known Bernie for 40 years and it’s hard for him to lose an election gracefully. It shows.

The idea that since Bernie does better than Clinton in polls against Trump, and therefore super delegates should disregard the primary results, is obviously a bankrupt argument:

First, the premise is probably wrong. Clinton has not hit Bernie particularly hard, and Republican Super PACs have run pro-Bernie advertising. Do you honestly think Republicans would try and help nominate a stronger Democratic candidate? If he was nominated, he would be defined quickly and negatively by the Right in a way that the Clinton brand is inoculated from. It’s easy to forget that many conservative Republicans claimed they would support Obama over McCain during the primary season until Obama was defined as liberal. In West Virginia, a majority of Bernie Sanders voters wanted the next President to be less liberal than Obama, which was not the case for Clinton voters. In a General Election, Sanders would be defined by his socialism, and not have the crossover appeal his supporters assume, especially against another populist.

Second, the “Bernie or Bust” argument is the same narcissism his supporters hate about Hillary. Sanders should stay in the race, take his message to the convention, and seek real changes to the platform; he’s earned that. But he also needs to start a conversation with his supporters about binding up the wounds of the party. It’s difficult to lose so narrowly, especially in a primary contest when the voters are people that generally agree with you. Perhaps the reason Clinton has been so gentle with Bernie is because she understands the pain of being so close to the nomination, and probably the Presidency, and falling just short. Hillary actually received more votes than Obama in 2008, and still stepped aside, because she understood the rules, played by them, and lost. This is not about one man or one woman, but the country, and “bust” is Donald J. Trump.

Senator Sanders needs to admit that he wasn’t robbed, as he knows he wasn’t. He’s losing the popular vote (56% to 43%), number of contests won (27 to 22), and the number of pledged delegates (1771 to 1499). I’m sorry, that is not within robbing distance. Berners may very well #BernTheConvention or bolt the party, but they would do so not as the fleeced majority, but the petulant minority. In a revolution, when you don’t get what you want peacefully, you turn to violence. That’s been the problem with Bernie’s rhetoric from the beginning. Revolutions must be forcible takeovers. They need not be democratic.