This post probably won’t make my fellow Bernie supporters happy but please hear me out and know that when I say that politics isn’t emotional for me, I’m being earnest.
Bernie might win California tomorrow (that’s a big maybe). He will definitely lose New Jersey. He most definitely will not overtake Hillary in the pledged delegate count. He would have to win two-thirds of all the votes in both New Jersey and California in order to do that. It’s going to be over for him tomorrow. It is my sincere wish that Bernie gracefully exits the race next Tuesday, after the last primary ballot is cast in DC.
I know what my fellow Bernie supporters are thinking right now: It was rigged so he should take the fight to the convention! Yes it was rigged, but not nearly as much as you think. Here’s a little reality check:
- Of the nineteen open primaries, Hillary won eleven to Bernie’s eight. Of the twenty-three closed primaries, Hillary has won fourteen to Bernie’s nine. The percentages were roughly the same, although Hillary did a little better in the closed primaries.
- Hillary keeps claiming that she’s gotten three million more votes than Bernie. Shaun King made a case that this number is a lie. He’s right. It’s not an accurate number, but it’s not nearly as inaccurate as he claims. If you take the percentage of votes cast in the caucuses for each candidate, and extrapolate those numbers out to the number of voters each caucus goer represents, Bernie doesn’t even pick up three quarters of a million votes because Hillary would also get more votes by doing that.
- The voter suppression was real, and the long lines we saw over and over again for the first time in a democratic primary were no accident. We have a systemic voting problem in America, and both parties are guilty of creating the problem. But to assume that every single voter who was turned away, was going to vote for Bernie is absurd. The correct assumption is that the voters who were turned away would have voted in roughly the same proportion as the votes that were cast. You would have to practice some utterly baseless kind of magical thinking to assume that Bernie would have won if all the votes were counted (and cast). Hillary’s lead was just too insurmountable for that to be possible.
I will say this though; Hillary supporters who were fine with what happened in this election with polling locations closing or mysteriously moving without notifying anyone, voter rolls being scrubbed, and the rest of the fuckery that went on here should be ashamed of themselves. I’m ashamed of you. I now know that you were full of shit in 2000 and 2004 when you were screaming, “Voter suppression!” We should all be incredibly offended when any American’s vote is taken away from them. But not you guys. No, you’re the sorriest group of so called liberals I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter.
But I digress. My point is that Bernie didn’t win, and no amount of Cirque Du Soleil like acrobatics you try and do on the data will ever change that simple fact.
So back to my point. I emphatically believe that Bernie should not push for a contested convention. He simply has no basis with which to make his case. He didn’t win the popular vote, nor did he didn’t win more pledged delegates. While it’s true that every single poll shows that he’s the strongest candidate to defeat Trump in November, he can’t make that case without being a massive hypocrite. That argument basically tells super delegates that the voters made a mistake, so they should subvert the will of the voters and select him for the sake of the party. Selecting the nominee is not what super delegates should do, and Bernie has been saying that all along. To turn around now and ask them to select him would make him look like just another craven politician who will do anything to get elected and that will disillusion a lot of his voters.
Bernie did something extraordinary here. He inflamed and mobilized liberals who have figured out that the democratic party doesn’t represent us. He shed a bright light on the corporate corruption of our government, and managed to break through the republican framing of the issues that we’ve accepted for thirty years. For thirty excruciating years, we’ve been talking about low taxes, big gubment, and defense, defense, defense! Remember when Bill Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over!”? Well that was the last nail in the liberal coffin, and Bernie is the first politician in thirty years to pull the fucking lid off that coffin. He ran on a platform of raising your taxes in order to provide you with more cost effective health coverage. Could anyone have imagined that running on a platform of raising taxes would garner 46% of the vote in any election in America?
I would hate to see this movement damaged by Bernie angling for a convention fight that will ultimately get him nowhere. He’s not going to be the nominee, and the super delegates aren’t going to select him. He literally has nothing to gain by angling for a contested convention, and Hillary is just going to pummel him and the media with the data I shared with you above. Pushing for a convention fight is a move that includes no gain, and nothing but pain. It would be a terrible idea.
I believe that the best path forward for this movement is for Bernie to leave the race and endorse Hillary on June 14th. He should spend the next five months campaigning for real progressives running for congressional seats all across the country. We should all be focused in giving Hillary a significantly bigger progressive caucus to have to deal with than the one we have now.
Yes, I’m going to advocate for supporting Hillary but I’m not going to share my reasons just yet. Emotions are running too high, but trust that I have reasons that aren’t what you think they are.
This movement didn’t start with Bernie, and it isn’t dependent on Bernie becoming president. The numbers clearly show that we don’t have enough people with us to take the white house yet. But there are certainly enough of us to make a difference in state and congressional races. That’s where our focus should be.
Time is on our side. Hillary’s base is the fifty-five and older demographic. This has never been a particularly liberal demographic. I recently saw a tweet that said, “Hillary is pulling her voters to the right”. Bullshit. Hillary’s voters were once proud Reagan democrats. They were always right of center. That’s who the baby boomers are. But Gen X is clearly to the left of them, and the millennials are even further left of Gen X. We know which direction the electorate is headed. We just need to be smart about plotting a course forward right now.
I strongly believe that our path lies in down ticket candidates. If we can find more progressives to run, and to support, we can take over the democratic party. But damaging this movement with a convention fight is not going to help to advance the cause in the short term.
I hope Bernie is going to be smart about this. He was smart enough to run as a democrat, rather than an independent. He was smart enough to take 46% of the vote away from Hillary, despite all the money she had collected before last summer was even over. I sincerely hope that he’s going to do the smart thing next week.