Home 2016 elections Can Anyone Stop Bernie’s Breaking Bad?

Can Anyone Stop Bernie’s Breaking Bad?

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Note: I write as one who has supported Bernie from the beginning, and voted for him in the Virginia primary.

Various good commentators are noting that Bernie has lately been campaigning in a way that fails to deal honestly with the reality that the race for the nomination is over and that is making more likely the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. (For example.)

The failure to come to grips with the reality that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee — Bernie will not win the remaining primaries with the necessary blow-outs, and the superdelegates are not going to switch to him — is being combined with feeding in his followers an essentially inappropriate sense of grievance. This combination is threatening a degree of division that would hand the election to Donald Trump.

Bernie Sanders has said most emphatically that a Trump presidency absolutely must be prevented. That alone should be reason enough to motivate Bernie’s way of campaigning to one that attacks the GOP and its presumptive nominee more than the Democratic Party and its presumptive nominee.

But if a second source of motivation for such change is necessary, there’s another one readily available: Bernie is in serious danger of turning what would have been a positive, even heroic legacy — for his movement going forward, and for his place in history — into a shameful one.

Is there someone in a position to deliver this message to Bernie so that it has the necessary impact?

Senator Merkley (D-OR) — the only member of the U.S. Senate to have endorsed Bernie — said yesterday that he absolutely opposes the plan, bandied about by Bernie and his people, to take the fight to the convention.

That’s a start. But more may be needed. Who has the clout — in terms of relationship with Senator Sanders, and in terms of their status — to be able to provide it?

Would Joe Biden be the man for the job? As a long-time colleague, and the Vice-President, would Biden be able to bring Bernie back to a clearer picture of the larger battlefield, and of what is now called for from him?

Would Elizabeth Warren coming out publicly at this late date to endorse Hillary and call for party unity provide the necessary wake-up?

I’ve loved Bernie. But the contest for the nomination has been decided. Bernie’s conduct is already visibly eroding the Democrats’ position, as registered in the futures markets, as the Republicans consolidate around Trump and as Bernie is widening rather than narrowing the divisions on the Democratic side.

It is sad to see Bernie lose his way on this homestretch, when a shift rather than an escalation is what is clearly called for.

But it would be more than sad, it would be an absolute disaster for America to so thoroughly lose its way as a nation as to hand all the powers of the presidency to a fascist demagogue.

Can anyone stop Bernie’s breaking bad?

  • Anonymous

    After California, HRC will begin rolling out strategically timed endorsement. It’ll be Biden one day, Warren the next, then maybe Kerry and culminate with Obama and Hillary on-stage somewhere (maybe even Virginia, if we’re lucky!) endorsing and talking up the general. I think this will suck any wind out of the Sanders sails, particularly if he loses in California. This would likely give Sanders a real opening, though, to end his campaign and endorse Clinton while saving face. Party unity would be being talked up and any meetings with Biden or Obama to mediate would likely include Clinton adopting some Sanders positions. That and if Bernie were to drop out, I’m sure he would like to be able to do it at a giant rally with the President and Clinton on hand and all camera on him.

  • Andy Schmookler

    Here’s an example of how a segment of the Bernie supporters are simply failing to see just what this is all about. It’s about something bigger than Bernie and Hillary.

    Consider what one commenter wrote about this on my Facebook page::

    “What has Clinton done for Bernie to “cease and desist”? Perhaps if she takes an unequivocal stand on the progressive issues Sanders has made the cornerstone of his campaign, he would. Personally, I need more of a reason than “compared to Trump, I’m the lesser evil” to vote for someone who voted for the Iraq War and the bailout of Wall Street, along with her ties to Wall Street (speeches, ect).”

    And here’s my reply:

    “This isn’t about Hillary Clinton EARNING Bernie’s working to make sure that Trump doesn’t become president. Bernie himself has indicated that Trump in the White House is absolutely unacceptable.

    “Bernie needs to unify the party not for Hillary Clinton’s sake but for the good of the nation, and for the good of all those things that would be damaged if Donald Trump becomes president. Trump being elected president means that Trump appoints the ninth justice to the Supreme Court, and gets this atrocious GOP control over all branches of government, and refuses to do anything about the urgent challenge of Climate Change, or even to acknowledge the reality of the climate crisis,, and becomes commander-in-chief of our armed forces and our nuclear arsenal.

    “Those are plenty reason enough.”

    • MeteorBlades

      Yes. I am a good deal to the left of Sanders, behind him since before he declared and voting for him June 7, and I agree with what you’re saying here at 95%.

  • Elaine Owens

    Never forget that Bernie Sanders has no political loyalty to the party because he has never been a Democrat, at least not until he conveniently joined the party last year in order to run for the presidential nomination. What the party needs to do is remind him that he enjoys positions of power in Congress because of the generosity of the Democratic Party leadership he now calls corrupt. He won’t get the nomination, and I am sure he won’t be the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee unless he changes his behavior, and soon.

  • Andy Schmookler

    Another exchange from elsewhere, this one from the Daily Kos. This time, the commenter and I were on the same page.

    He wrote about Bernie: “What’s unknown is if he’s capable of accepting the inevitable. A well
    balanced intelligent person would’ve known this was over after NY voted
    and begun to adjust.”

    And I replied:

    “Yes, I have been surprised by Bernie in this. I had seen him as more fully grounded than he is now proving himself to be.

    “I have a bit of a theory on this. My theory — or perhaps fantasy — is
    that Bernie has always dreamed of leading a righteous army, but never
    until now has he really had the chance to do so. Now he has become
    addicted to the role, and he has difficulty putting the fulfillment of
    his dream in the proper perspective of the larger drama that he is part
    of.”

    I will be writing soon about the kind of leadership we need from Bernie from here on out. He definitely has an important role he can play, if he’s willing to take it on.

    Even if he is not on the ticket — and I don’t think he should be VP or will be — he can be an important speaker in the campaign. It’s a matter of saying the right things to mobilize his forces to defeat Trump.