No, despite Slate.com’s recent snarky headline “Bernie Sanders Officially Announces He Will Run for President Forever,” he won’t actually run for president forever.
Bernie’s last chance to be able to sway the Democratic Party super-delegates to his side at the party convention in late July was to have a big win in California’s primary election on June 7, but he lost California (which, despite the conspiracy theorists’ angst, is not shocking, as Billary Clinton also beat Barack Obama in the 2008 California primary; I don’t know what’s wrong with Californians [well, I do have an inkling, actually, but that’s another post…]).
Even that plan (to win over the super-delegates after having won California) was a long shot for him, but now, Bernie’s only hope for the presidential nomination would be if Billary, say, had a major stroke or a major heart attack or died in a plane crash or bus crash or was indicted for some crime.
Bernie won’t win the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination unless one of those kinds of scenarios comes to pass, but he does have the right to continue through the convention. He has more than earned that. Against a deck stacked against him, he garnered 45 percent of the pledged delegates (the delegates more-or-less-democratically elected in the primary elections and caucuses).
Think about that: a 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist from Vermont with glasses, wild white hair and a Brooklyn accent whom most Americans have known for only about a year now garnered 45 percent of the vote against Billary Clinton, who has been around longer than has dirt, and whose resume includes first lady, U.S. senator, U.S. secretary of state, and two-time presidential contender. (She is great at holding titles, but interestingly, she sure doesn’t have any real accomplishments to list on her resume.)
The Democratic Party establishment didn’t go down this time, but next time, it certainly can (and probably will); from having blatantly ignored the needs and the desires of us, the people, because for decades now it has been too busy catering to the desires of the corporatists and the plutocrats, the Democratic Party establishment is weak and is ripe for toppling.
For Bernie to drop out now would be to forestall that long-past-due toppling, which he apparently recognizes. (See this pretty good piece on Vox.com on this topic.)
An associate of mine has the theory that Bernie won’t drop out between now and the Dem Party convention because he wants to prevent another Dem convention conflagration like we saw in 1968. Maybe, but perhaps such a conflagration is unavoidable anyway; it has, after all, been that kind of presidential election cycle.
Although this protracted primary battle has been a bit fatiguing, I’m not mad about Bernie taking it to the convention, and if you’re mad at him, reflect upon the fact that not even a year ago, Billary Clinton proudly publicly proclaimed that she is “moderate and center.”
Were Bernie to go away now, Billary would return to the center-right even more quickly than she most likely is going to do anyway. At the very least, Bernie can force her to have to at least pay lip service to progressive values, beliefs and ideas at least through the convention.
If Billary were trustworthy and had integrity and didn’t have a center-right, Democratic-in-name-only, Repugnican-Lite record, Bernie could have exited already, knowing that she’d keep any promises to be more progressive.
So blame Billary for being a DINO, and don’t blame Bernie, for his hanging in there for as long as possible.
If Bernie if nothing else successfully changes the party’s presidential nominating process, such as by eliminating super-delegates and requiring open primary elections in all of the states that hold primary elections (that is, allowing at least independents as well as registered Democrats to vote)** — as he is trying to do — then with his presidential campaign he will have achieved something significant.
Bernie Sanders has run a valiant campaign, and the nation owes him gratitude that he probably never will receive (Americans aren’t very good with the gratitude thing).
The weeks before and the months after the Dem Party convention are going to (continue to) be dismal. As the Democratic Party establishment has done next to fucking nothing for us commoners over the past many, many years, their only “message” will be a message of FEAR of DONALD TRUMP!!!
I’d say that we deserve better than that, but since we don’t fight for more than that (true, some of us do, but most of us don’t), it probably is exactly all that we deserve.
*California doesn’t certify its June 7 primary election until July 15, but as I type this sentence, Bernie has 44.5 percent of the vote that has been counted thus far in California, which is in line with how he has done nationwide.
Alas, California is a reliably blue state, but it isn’t as far to the left as are the other two Left Coast states (Oregon and Washington), both of which went to Bernie.
**The caucuses probably should go, too, as they are open to too much chicanery and don’t allow people who must be at work and people who can’t easily leave their homes to have their voice heard. The caucuses should be replaced with primary elections, and I’d rather that we have one nationwide primary election day rather than spreading the primary-season voting out over several months, but these two latter reforms are more unlikely to occur any election cycle soon than are the reforms that Bernie is suggesting now.
Also, of course, the Electoral College needs to be scrapped. We should have scrapped it long ago and replaced it with a simple popular vote. If it’s good enough that we choose our governors and U.S. senators by a popular vote, then it’s good enough that we choose our presidents with a popular vote, too.
If we chose our presidents by a popular vote, you could say with at least some credibility that when I don’t vote for Billary in November (I’ll probably vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein again) I have helped Trump, but since we have the winner-takes-all Electoral College, my not voting for Billary in November won’t matter at all, since I live in a solidly blue state and all of its 55 electoral votes already are assured to Billary.