At a Bernie Rally
When I heard the Senator say that at his rally in Santa Cruz on May 31st, I couldn't contain my giggles at the enormous irony. Sanders lied in his very promise to tell the truth. There is no conceivable way that he wins. Of course my muffled giggles were quickly drowned out by roars of applause. Bernie was telling the truth, Bernie would win. Was I the only sane person in the room? Probably not. But the only one who had checked the numbers? Maybe.
I had seen the rally advertised on Memorial Day, while I was staying in Aptos, California, and I knew it was an opportunity I could not turn down. The morning of the event, my grandma woke me up an hour earlier than I expected. "Fox News is showing clips of lines around the block," she told me, "We need to go earlier." We ate a quick breakfast, then drove to the Kaiser Permanente Arena, about an hour before the alleged start. After securing our spot in line, we were told that the doors would open an hour later than expected, and that Senator Sanders would not be there for another two hours after that. I have been to events like this before, so I knew that this was how it goes, but I still expected the man of the people to show a little more respect for the working man's time. While waiting in the sea of tie-dye, marajauna smoke, and girls with green hair reading Ché books, I was told by some sort of Bernie-roadie that I would literally be feeling the "Bern" inside. I am not sure how I felt about that.
Of course none of these zealots seemed to realize that the campaign was struggling, nevermind on life support. I wrote this weeks ago when I published Musings on Bernie. I was criticized at the time, but it was true then and remains true now. But no one even seemed to be slightly aware of this fact, as if they were watching a separate election cycle.
However, Senator Sanders has a plan to make his pipe dream a reality. First, winning every upcoming state plus DC, then "marching in to the Democratic convention . . . With incredible momentum and [marching] out with the Democratic nomination." Not unlike the Senator's economic models, this relies on some seriously faulty assumptions. He first assumes a victory in California, as long as he can get good turn out. This, in all likelihood, will not happen. Sanders must know that Fivethirtyeight puts his chance to win in California at a mere 8%, and even lower in their augmented model.
And California may not even matter. Since Secretary Clinton is less than 100 delegates away from clinching the nomination, she may well be declared nominee following the New Jersey returns where she is expected to win before the Californian polls even close. While this would include the infamous Super Delegates, this does not demonstrate some media conspiracy against Senator Sanders. President Obama was declared nominee counting Super Delegates in 2008. Sanders claims he has a chance at flipping these delegates, but it is quite unrealistic. The Super Delegates are compromised of notoriously loyal Democratic insiders who have been faithful to Clinton for years. But even without the super delegates, and even if we use conservative assumptions from the delegates Clinton will win in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, she will clinch the nomination with just 40.5% of the New Jersey delegates. The race is over, and both Sanders and his supporters fail to accept that.
Instead, Sanders has been touting the notion that the process has been "undemocratic." Which is apparently bad, unless its good-undemocratic, like caucuses. Indeed caucuses are where Sanders has done the best, as opposed to primaries where Clinton has succeeded. So really, it is Sanders who has been capitalizing on undemocratic election processes. To be fair, we should also consider closed primaries, of which Sanders feels he has been victim. Yet regression analyses shows that even if all of the primaries were open, Clinton would still be winning. And if all of the primaries were closed, she would still be winning.
Instead of owning up to his predicament, Sanders has continued to slam Clinton. As a member of the Right, it is always hard to know how to react to this. On a gut level, it is fun to watch, from each joke and slam showing that the opposition is divided. Yet, the more mature parts of me watch this and see acts of incredibly poor statesmanship. It is valuing a personal agenda and ideology at all costs, wholly distinct from the GOP's Trump-led civil war—which is over irreconcilable ideologocal and moral differences. Sanders is not an enormous ideological deviation from Clinton; the fight more seems to be over one of pragmatism and patience versus radicalism and revolution. Yet, Sanders is willing to hurt Clinton over this superficial divide. Having two strong parties is good for our democracy, and Sanders is undermining both his party and our democracy. His supporters are complicit. So while it will be fun at times to watch the lead-up to the convention, this is despicable behavior. It demonstrates that Bernie is no better than the rest.
Photo Credit: Santa Cruz County for Bernie Sanders