If the Sanders campaign follows through with a strategy even remotely resembling the one laid out by Jeff Weaver on MSNBC tonight, they will be doing so on the coattails of Donald J. Trump. (Before I go on, let me hopefully predict that they won’t do that—that they will, in fact, begin to wind down the campaign tomorrow.)
The openly stated premise of Ted Cruz and John Kasich’s continued presence in the race is that Donald Trump is so uniquely terrible, so patently inconceivable as a general election candidate for the presidency, so cataclysmically embarrassing as the nominee of the Republican Party, that all bets are off—i.e. he must be stopped at any cost. Cruz can only win by “stealing” the nomination at an open convention; Kasich has stayed in despite having a 0% chance of being even the second-place finisher in the delegate count.
Sanders’ campaign is attempting to capitalize not so much on any real schism in the Democratic party (there isn’t one) as on this chaos. They are benefitting from a Trump-induced sense that primaries are all-out warfare where the victor is simply the last man standing, regardless of how he got there.
This of course, is utterly contrary to the arguments Sanders and his supporters were making just weeks ago when they couldn’t stop bitching and whining about superdelegates. Hillary Clinton, of course, has never even needed superdelegates to secure the nomination. Her pledged delegate lead makes them as irrelevant as Sanders wanted them to be.
Oh but wait now he wants them to tip the election to him.
The only way to make that argument is to not-so-subtly insinuate that Hillary Clinton is every bit as horrifying a prospective POTUS as Donald Trump. And that’s where I stop listening because only a very unserious and/or ideologically deranged person would suggest such a thing. This is when you go from being a charmingly idiosyncratic old crank with important things to say to being a delusional, Naderish fishwife with the potential to actively hurt the very people you purport to be fighting for.
This is when a sense of shame should act as the antidote that turns the zombified BernBros back into rational human beings.
I’m not going to waste time making the case that Hillary Clinton is not the Democrats’ Donald Trump. If you can’t see that without squinting hard, you’re well beyond my ability to persuade. If you can see it, now’s the time to get some perspective and start working to prevent the unthinkable.
Continue to support Bernie, by all means. Continue to talk about issues that need to be talked about. But do it with the full knowledge that the race is over and Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president and that any elbow grease you put into tearing her down will be an in-kind donation to the Trump campaign.