Thursday, March 12, 2020

Will Sanders unite behind Biden or play the angry old man out to spoil the election for Dems

In the Washington Post, columnist Dana Milbank reports that The Bernie Sanders spoiler campaign begins.

My subtitle would have been “Do the math - It’s all in the numbers.” That’s why, as the AZ Blue Meanie quoted, for Bernie Sanders, “It’s Over.”

The question that remains is whether Sanders will live up to his word and support Joe Biden or will play the role of the picked-on grumpy old man out to spoil the campaign even at the cost of handing Trump a reelection.

Milbank voices his concern that Sanders will do the spoiler thing. Following are excerpts.

Thankfully, Sanders’s tone was not as caustic as it has been. But it takes a certain amount of chutzpah for a guy to cite polls when the polls that actually matter — primaries — have gone emphatically against him. It takes even more chutzpah for a guy who has held office for 40 years (30 in Congress) to pretend he’s not part of the political firmament. And it’s the pinnacle of chutzpah to suggest that he alone speaks for young people when there’s little evidence of the youth revolution he advertised.

Sanders could have declared victory Wednesday and dropped out of the race. He has succeeded in pushing the Democratic Party to the left, and his differences with Biden are less about ends than means. As Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a Sanders supporter, said this week: “Bernie Sanders won the idea primary.”

Yet Sanders, instead, extends the fight. Only ugliness this way lies.

There will be more of the suggestions from Sanders’s supporters that the gaffe-prone Biden is senile. There will be more conspiracy theories about the hidden hand of the establishment — not actual voters — powering Biden’s victory. And there will be more of what Elizabeth Warren called the “organized nastiness” from Sanders’s supporters.

In exit polls on Tuesday in Michigan, Missouri and Washington, 8 in 10 Sanders supporters said they would support the eventual nominee. If the goal is to beat Trump, Sanders should be persuading the two holdouts to support Biden, not encouraging bitterness among the eight.

Khanna and others who endorsed Sanders now risk being enablers of his spoiler campaign. They ought to remind him of the promise he made just last month: “If I, or anybody else, goes into the Democratic convention with a substantial plurality, I believe that individual, me or anybody else, should be the candidate of the Democratic Party.”

With that I will let Sanders have the last word. And I hope he will honor his own promise.

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