While there are some die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters out there who think he can still catch Hillary Clinton to become the Democratic presidential candidate, most realize that this race is pretty much all but over. After Sanders went 0-5 on March 15th, the writing was clearly on the wall. Then after a rather sound defeat in New York, and losing 4 of 5 states on April 26th, even the recent tone of Sanders’ campaign clearly indicates that he realizes his “path to victory” went from unlikely, to improbable to nearly impossible.
That being said, there’s been a lot of talk concerning his decision to stay in the race until California. Some have questioned the move considering he would need more than just a “minor miracle” to catch Clinton.
Well, as an open Hillary Clinton supporter, I’m glad he’s staying in.
Because he’s earned that right.
Not only that, but Bernie Sanders has a message that needs to be heard all the way until the convention. While I don’t agree with all of his policy stances, I do agree with the entire premise of the message of his campaign and what he stands for. As Clinton said on Tuesday night, while there’s a divide between the two candidates on some issues, there’s much more that unites them than divides them.
Sanders probably won’t achieve his goal of winning the Democratic nomination, but I’m not entirely sure if that was his main goal to begin with. Sure, he wanted to win – but I think his overall objective with this campaign was to make certain his message was heard on a national stage. He wanted to transform the Democratic party, push it back to its roots and even make Clinton a better candidate (which he most certainly has) if she ultimately defeated him.
Let’s not forget, Sanders is an idealist. His primary goal isn’t just a quantifiable end result such as winning the nomination, but to inspire a movement that ultimately (and hopefully) brings about real change. He has most certainly done that, and his movement deserves to be represented until the end. He’s earned that with the number of votes he’s received, states won and unprecedented amount of money he’s been able to raise the right way.
In a lot of ways, because of the impact he’s had on Clinton and the party as a whole, if she becomes president he will be represented in her administration simply because of his campaign’s influence on her.
I’m hoping that he’s going to use these next few weeks to help mend fences and unite a party that’s still very divided right now. And I think the best way to start doing that is by him continuing his campaign and shifting his focus from some of the more negative tones we’ve seen recently back toward a more pure message-centered one like we saw at the start.
I also think this is an opportunity both he and Clinton can use to actually work together to try to undo the negativity that had dominated the campaign over the last few weeks. I personally believe that will be easier to do with Sanders still in the race. Had he suspended his campaign following his losses on the 26th, I think a rift would have been created that would have been much more difficult to mend. Now, as I said before, he can use these next few weeks to transition from Democratic presidential candidate to leading figure for the Democratic party to help the likely nominee, Hillary Clinton, beat whatever clown the GOP ultimately nominates.
Oh, but I know, the “Bernie or bust” crowd. I’m not even going to attempt to reason with those folks because they’re unreasonable. Many of these people are every bit as rabid, hateful, vile and conspiracy-driven as any tea party Republican I’ve encountered in all my years covering politics. I hope many realize just how much is at stake this election, but I’m not going to waste a great deal of time with people who don’t care about facts.
Thankfully, the vast majority of Sanders supporters I’ve dealt with realize how important this election is and (even though some will do so begrudgingly) have said they’ll support Clinton because of what’s on the line this November.
I’m a straight, white Christian male – I’ll most likely be fine if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz become president. But if you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans who are either gay; care about keeping the Supreme Court from becoming ultra-conservative; transgender; poor; only got health care because of the Affordable Care Act; have a pre-existing condition; a woman; support abortion rights; want to protect Planned Parenthood; don’t want to end up at war with Iran; want a higher minimum wage; want to protect net neutrality; don’t want to see inhumane mass deportations; support common sense immigration reform; want to continue combating climate change; and many… many more things – then a Republican winning this November will be an absolute catastrophe.
Especially one of these Republicans.
So, while I know there will be calls for Sanders to suspend his campaign prior to California – he shouldn’t. Bernie Sanders and his supporters have earned the right to see this thing out through to the end even if it ultimately won’t turn out how they hoped it would.
But win or lose, Bernie Sanders definitely changed everything.
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