Who would’ve thought that treating your own political party like it’s the enemy would result in a rejection by the voting members of said party?
Apparently, Bernie Sanders didn’t. His strategy of attacking the “establishment” of the Democratic Party was a disastrous failure. Instead of coming off as attacking billionaires and corporations, it came off as an attack on the Democrats’ base, composed of African Americans, suburban women and moderate working class people. Sanders never seemed to get it and it got him in the end.
After Tuesday, March 10, (aka “Mini Tuesday”), Sanders is (for the most part) finished. Unless he decides to “Bern it all down” again, like he did in the 2016 primary election, Sanders should be conceding the election to Joe Biden, give his endorsement and work on uniting the Democratic Party. If Sanders chooses to drag this fight until June, he’ll hurt his own legacy more than he will Democrats’ chance to beat Trump.
As of now, it’s obvious that Biden will win not only a plurality, but the majority of Democratic delegates going into the convention in July. Sanders, unlike last time, painted himself into a corner here, in his own words saying that the Democrat who gets a plurality of delegates should win.
It’s over for Sanders. Now, he can either support Biden or he can go back to the Senate and become the independent socialist from Vermont again.
If Sanders’ goal is to beat Donald Trump, then he should begin dowsing the fires he set after his Super Tuesday losses. When he and his subordinates went extra-negative on Biden, it was a blessing for Trump. Trump essentially turned the Sanders campaign into a wing of the Trump 2020 election campaign by taking their claims and making them his own. Now, Trump is using Sanders’ supporters to spread his message of Biden’s alleged senility and pervertedness, not to mention absurd claims that he wants to cut Social Security. A self-described Democratic Socialist should not want their legacy to be getting Trump re-elected.
Sanders, if he goes on, risks marching the movement he led into irrelevancy and dragging his most ardent supporters along with him.
Although the votes of Sanders’ hard left supporters would be a nice cushion for Democrats to have, they might not even be needed if the overwhelming victory of moderate candidates in the Blue Wave of 2018 is a sign of what’s to come in 2020. In 2018, when Democrats took over the House, the Sanders-inspired Justice Democrats and Our Revolution lost almost all of their primaries. Those few that made it, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for example, would be elected in overwhelmingly safe Democratic Districts.
In that same election, moderate and Blue Dog Democrats not only pummeled their primary opposition, but would go on to replace Republicans in districts that supported Trump in 2016. That should have been a signal to the Sanders’ left, that they were in danger of being left behind by the Democrats. The moderates were able to expand the Democrats’ map when Sanders couldn’t.
Sanders has not grown his base since 2016. Worse for him yet, his base has been eclipsed by the new and returning Democratic voters who ushered in 2018’s Blue Wave. As it stands, the Democrats may not even need the 10 percent of Sanders supporters who voted against Clinton in 2016.
Look at is this way: Are the young, angry Sanders supporters who couldn’t even bother to turn out for the primary really key to victory when Democrats have shown they are able to take chunks out of Trump’s 2016 base?
It’s all up to Sanders. He can be a team player and think about the long game, starting the slow integration of his supporters into the Democratic fold, which will probably not be complete until he is long out of politics.
Or, he can be the purist revolutionary, always fighting the establishment and finding himself and his supporters shut out of the political process.
In the end, it’s up to Sanders himself. He can guide his supporters into the current political reality or keep condemning the system until he burns out and fades away.