In the weeks since losing the June 14th Democratic Primary in the District of Columbia Bernie Sanders managed to turn the goodwill and power he won from running a strong campaign into an overall loss for himself and what he says he believes in. Until then he was seen as a winner because he actually gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money.
Here was a 74 year old man, with a disheveled look and not many actual successes to his credit, who excited a younger generation with his Anti-Wall Street, single payer healthcare, and free college message. They treated him like a rock star with thousands coming to his rallies chanting Bernie! Bernie! Thirteen million came to the polls and pulled the lever or connected the arrows to vote for him. They saw him as their vehicle to send a message to the establishment in Washington they wanted change.
It was a great campaign destined to come up short but that shouldn't take away from its power. Bernie himself managed to do that by his actions and statements since the primaries ended. He alone is diminishing the chances to accomplish what all those millions of people who donated their $27 to him sought to do. Success and accomplishment in politics are an art. One part is the ability to get elected, something Sanders has been able to do for the past thirty-three years, and for a short time it even looked as if he would come close this year. But the art and finesse needed to get something done after the campaign apparently still escape him.
He had the chance to be a hero and a mensch at the same time. He should have taken a cue from how Hillary handled her loss to Obama in 2008 when she came away looking like a star, and a star with power. Instead he frittered away his chances, rather whining his way close to irrelevance.
He said he will vote for Hillary and work his hardest to defeat Donald Trump. Then went on to parse his support by explaining the difference between saying he will vote for her and endorsing her, which hasn't happened yet. Then he had a conversation with Vice President Biden apparently telling him he will endorse Hillary and Biden repeated the conversation on national television. Sanders should know telling Joe Biden is like telling the world. One of Biden's greatest charms is his lack of a filter in what he says. On Saturday in Aspen an affable Biden gave rave reviews to Newt Gingrich as a VP candidate for Trump; then backtracked to make it clear he still wouldn't endorse Trump.
Bernie's most ardent supporters, the 'Bernie of Bust' crowd, saw their leader give up the clout they worked to give him. Real progressives among Sanders' voters, even those in the 'Bernie or Bust' contingent, will end up voting for Clinton because they understand electing Trump would end the chance of getting anything they claim they want accomplished.
The end to Bernie's campaign is likely the best example of turning a win into a loss I have ever seen. Some are calling it an extreme case of 'white privilege' and sexism.
Lauren Rankin writes "If Bernie Sanders is such a progressive revolutionary, why does he insist on undermining an eminently qualified female presidential candidate who can beat a fascistic demagogue?" She goes on to write "Moving the Democratic platform to the left is a laudable goal, but it isn't one that he alone has led. There have been many movements, including the movement to end the Hyde Amendment, the "Fight for 15," and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, that have pushed the Democratic Party to the left. But Bernie Sanders is presenting it as if he himself is the leader of this progressive revolution, as if he and his candidacy have been doing all of the work. This is privileged ignorance at best, and sinister appropriation at worst. Sanders has constructed himself as the progressive revolutionary savior that we have all been waiting for, a privileged and entitled point of view if there ever was one. He is unwilling to stop mansplaining to the country that he's right because either he believes so deeply that he is right and we are wrong or does he sense that this is the one time that he will ever be this relevant to American politics and his male ego is unwilling to let this go?" I go with the last explanation.
Hillary Clinton is probably the most prepared person to ever run for President. She is brilliant and hardworking. She has worked for The Children's Defense Fund and a Congressional Committee. Been recognized as one of the top 100 lawyers in the country; was First Lady of Arkansas; First Lady of the United States; two-term Senator from New York; and Secretary of State.
For twenty-five years Republicans have attacked her and spent over a billion dollars of their and the governments money trying to prove Hillary is evil and dishonest without ever proving anything. Yet the attacks have left their mark and a majority today wrongly see her as dishonest and untrustworthy. Still Clinton leads Trump by more than two-to-one when people are asked who is more prepared to be President. Nate Silver gives Hillary an eighty percent chance of becoming the 45th and first woman President of the United States.
So whatever becomes of Bernie Sanders my prediction is Hillary Clinton will be sworn in as President on January 20, 2017 and people's views of her will once again become positive as they always do when she is in office and not running for office. She will continue to be seen by Americans as the most admired woman in the world as has been the case for the past twenty years.