As it stands now, it seems almost inconceivable that Sanders could become the Democratic nominee -- unless the FBI indicts
But by staying in the race, Sanders is clearly hurting Clinton. A raft of new polling has Trump either tied or beating Clinton. If Sanders got out and supported Clinton, many of the "Never Hillary" liberals would come home to the Democrats, just as many anti-Trump conservatives have made peace with the presumptive nominee. The polling suggests that a unified
And yet Bernie just won't go. Why?
Part of the answer is personal: He's simply having the time of his life. This is a man who was kicked out of a hippie commune in 1971 for talking about politics too much when people were trying to work. The young socialist liked chatting about revolutionary labor more than actually laboring for the revolution.
After spending decades as a gadfly on the periphery of national politics, suddenly he's the belle of the ball. Millions of people are hanging on his every word rather than trying to escape the conversation. That has to be a heady thing for someone so in love with his own voice. It's like he spent all his life hanging around minor league baseball and, in his golden years, somehow become a sensation in the majors. Why quit? To preserve his viability to run when he's 78 or 84?
More important, he really believes in his "political revolution."
As a result, it looks like Sanders is creating a liberal tea party movement within the
At this point, the smart thing to do from the purist-progressive perspective would probably be to continue fighting within the
What if Sanders does neither? What if he concludes that the party rigged the game against him and bolts to run as the independent he is? Would the
One might assume that the obvious effect of a Sanders independent bid would be a Trump victory in November. Indeed, Trump, with his trademark subtlety, has encouraged Sanders to run as an independent for the obvious reason that doing so would doom Clinton's candidacy.
But in this season where the standard playbook is as outdated as the instruction manual for a Commodore 64 computer, Sanders' third-party bid could well encourage a fourth-party bid from an authentic conservative, such as Romney or
Trump just wants to win. Sanders wants to smash the status quo in both parties. The opportunity is staring him in the face.