I know that everyone from the conventional media to Hillary Clinton is racing to discount Bernie Sanders in the 2016 race for the nomination, insisting that the “math” is already against him.
What they don’t seem to understand is that the “math” is of little consequence to Bernie’s supporters who are focussed on issues of economic and social justice; and the only way progress will be made on those issues is if we bring them all the way to the convention.
Personally, I think that Bernie should continue doing exactly what he has been doing. Campaign on the issues that are important to most Americans and contrast his record with that of Hillary Clinton. Every voter in every state deserves an opportunity to weigh-in before the convention.
This is doubly important in a turbulent election year like 2016, when so many new voters are engaged in the conversation. There will never be a better chance to move progressive values forward in the political dialogue.
Were Bernie to simply fold his tent and steal silently into the night, as President Obama and the conventional pundits so fervently desire, not only would Hillary Clinton suffer the immediate uptick of slings and arrows from Donald Trump, she would also be likely to seek the conventional security of a centrist position. This would mean death to the forward-looking face of the 2016 Democratic party which has excited so many new voters.
It would also mean that Hillary’s campaign would languish in the ‘old news’ department, relegated only to responding to each outrageous new attack that DT slings her way. This is not the way any candidate wants to capture voter attention. Better she should be forced to flesh-out her positions on important issues in response to Bernie’s legitimate questions and that Barack Obama remains neutral a little longer. His interference would not exactly burnish her progressive credentials and could further alienate Bernie’s not inconsiderable bloc of loyalists.
The fact is that the president’s endorsement will not serve to peel away any support from Bernie since Bernie’s supporters are inclined to be disappointed in President Obama’s underwhelming performance on some key progressive issues.
If our democracy is to limp forward with any hope of regaining public confidence, it is necessary that the Democratic party do just as much soul-searching as will be required of the Republicans.
The writing is on the wall. We can’t keep shorthanding the political process to the advantage of just a few big power brokers and high rolling lobbyists.
It’s time to recognize that this not your father’s horserace.