Ber-llary: Merging Hillary and Bernie

Hillary's victory in New York was big and important. She reminded us of what we like about her, and actually connected with people. She effectively focused attention on what she did well as a Senator and a candidate. She put it together smartly, but there's a "Thank you Bernie" needed as well.

Bernie's primary campaign has saved Hillary. She's been tested, she's moved, she's finally getting her legs under her, all because of Bernie and his minions. The minor hoo-hah about Bernie's attacks will disappear. What will stay is his powerful ability to define both the politics and policies of 2016. He's leading a movement, not just running for a job.

Bernie took the insights and the cri de couer of Occupy Wall Street and gave them structure and political stature. Sort of like what FDR did with Norman Thomas, Bella Abzug did with Betty Freidan, and Obama with Dr. King and Malcom X. It's a traditional American dynamic and refreshes the body politic every time.

There's a dark side to the politics of 2016 that underscores the danger that both Hillary and Bernie face. Trump is a serious threat in November. He's not a right-wing ideologue, selling supply-side snake oil. His economic populism on trade, out-sourcing, taxing hedge funds, and maintaining Social Security and Medicare enrages the Kochs, Cruz, Fox News and the Conservative Establishment. But it resonates with voters who are focused on their economic condition. The outrageous language and ideas about immigration, punishing women, gender and orientation equality and the like are likely to drag him down in the end. But on the battlefield of the economy, he's a tough nut to crack.

Bernie's movement has the muscle, breadth and economic ideas to counter-punch Trump effectively. Will they?

Bernie will try, no doubt. He understands that no good can come out of baying at the moon after the convention. His foot soldiers, not so much. For the aged among us, we remember the consequences of abandoning Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 campaign against Nixon, and the Nader effect on 2000's Bush-Gore contest. Something has to be done to avoid a third debacle.

Imagine the consequences for peace, prosperity and justice of President Trump. Even so, it will be hard to scare the Berners into supporting Hillary. The responsibility is on her by word and deed to welcome the movement into her campaign. Symbols will matter. Ideas will matter. She can't win without the energy and votes that support Bernie.

She needs to do more than a pro forma welcome the losing camp into the fold. It's hard to predict the mechanics of a Bernie-Hillary merger. Offering the Veep spot, keynote speeches, lots of joint campaigning are all necessary, but not sufficient. We'll need a little magic as well.

There are Clinton camp forces that will advise her to do little, the same forces that gave us Bob Rubin and repeal of Glass-Steagall. Hillary has to figure this one out for herself and move decisively and smartly to keep the progressives together. Not easy. Possible. Necessary.