Stop telling Bernie Sanders to drop outBottom Highlights, Politically Aware Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Commentary: Politically Aware
A friend quipped that Sec. Hillary Clinton has “all the personality and inevitability of winter.” It’s hard to disagree, but I still support her for the Democratic nomination. She is the most qualified presidential candidate in years. For those who think she bends the rules, as president she’ll have no reason to bend them for anyone but the American people. Barring a cataclysm, I believe the delegate math is prohibitively in her favor.
That said I have a request for the rest of us “with her.” Stop telling Sen. Bernie Sanders to drop out.
I know the argument: “Sanders can’t win … so he should drop out … and Clinton can focus on the general election.”
Let’s break this reasoning down, because it is Trump-esque in its salesmanship. It appears to create a cascade of events that depend on each other. They don’t. The first and last statements are equally true or false.
Don’t believe me? Drop out the middle. “Sanders can’t win … and Clinton can focus on the general.” True statement. You can add the original phrase or it’s opposite (“he shouldn’t drop out”) and it still works. If Sanders can’t win, Clinton is free to campaign for November whether he drops out or not. Maybe he gets a few extra delegates, but who cares?
Now let’s flip the negatives. “Sanders can win … and Clinton can’t focus on the general election.” Equally true and still makes sense if you add “so he shouldn’t drop out” On the other hand “Sanders can win … so he should drop out … and Clinton can’t focus on the general” is gibberish.
Which brings us to the truth: the people calling on Sanders to bow out are afraid Clinton could lose. They know that the only way to make a true statement of “Sanders can win … and Clinton can focus on the general,” is if Sanders drops out somewhere in between. Whatever the claim about consolidating endorsements and donors, the real motivation is fear.
To those of us who believe Clinton is a lock, the Sanders campaign has little downside. While Sanders’ attacks on Clinton have become more personal, they have still been about issues. Overall, the Democratic campaign continues to be a refreshing exchange of ideas compared to the Republican contest, which has degenerated to a point where it might best be solved by comparing size in a bathroom.
Meanwhile, Sanders’ candidacy has a ‘uge upside. Few doubt that the enthusiasm generated by the Clinton/Obama primary helped the Democrats in November 2008. Sanders can clearly engage voters that Clinton doesn’t reach, and despite their aspersions to the contrary, they will line up behind Clinton as fast as Clinton’s PUMAs (Party Unity My A**) came to support Obama in 2008. So let Sanders alone. He’s earned the right to quit on his own terms. Smart Democrats know there’s nothing better for long term growth than a controlled Bern.
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