OK, Bernie -- Time to Face Reality and Urge Your Supporters to Do the Same

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during his five state primary night rally in Hu
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during his five state primary night rally in Huntington, West Virginia, U.S., April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Marcus Constantino

Bernie, the time has come to face reality; your chance of becoming president is over. You and your supporters should take solace that you ran a great campaign and came much closer to winning than you or anyone else ever thought possible.

You touched a nerve in the Democratic Party and used that to great advantage. You brought the issue of income inequality to the fore and calling for breaking up big banks, free college and a single-payer healthcare system found a receptive audience. But as of April 26, with your losses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Connecticut your Don Quixote like quest for the nomination has become the 'impossible dream.'

Now is the time to begin uniting the Democratic Party and reaching out to independents who share your understanding that Republicans Donald Trump or Ted Cruz would be a disaster for the nation. They would end any chance to move your progressive ideas forward. Worse they would take us back to the 18th century running on a platform to suspend voting rights; take away a woman's right to control her own body and healthcare; deport millions of immigrants; and take away the hard fought-for rights of the LGBT community. They even think income inequality is a good thing as it serves their purposes.

With her wins on Tuesday, Hillary is the presumptive Democratic nominee. She has 3.2 million more votes than you and a lead in pledged delegates of about 325. Instead of superdelegates moving towards you, we will see more coming out in support of Hillary.

Bernie you need to stop the attacks and help your supporters understand buying into 25 years of Republican attacks on Hillary is counterproductive to what they want to accomplish. You know Hillary actually has a very progressive record with a myriad of successes benefiting the people you want to help. From children's health care, to education reform, to speaking out around the world on women's rights and LGBT rights; Hillary has fought the good fight and in doing so moved the nation and the world forward.

The woman who you and some of your supporters call establishment was once labeled a radical feminist. She was excoriated by the right and many in her own Party and her husband's administration for going to Beijing and speaking out for women. Hillary is a feminist. She was the big breadwinner in her family, a respected attorney, an activist for progressive causes including education and civil and human rights, and a great mom. She was vilified when in response to questioning about her work and independence she once said "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas."

It was Hillary who went undercover in the south for the Children's Defense Fund to investigate segregation in schools; and with Bill managed the George McGovern campaign in Texas in 1972. It was Hillary who was appointed to and then elected Chair of the Legal Services Corporation; and it was Hillary who fought for universal healthcare in the early 90s and took the slings and arrows that came from attacking the big insurance companies and big pharma.

Anyone in politics understands the period of grief that comes when you realize the dream of winning has ended. You worked hard 24/7 and you can only do that if you believe you will win. Thousands of young people cheered you at huge rallies, yelling "Bernie! Bernie!" making it nearly impossible to consider you would lose. I remember working on campaigns where that happened. For Bella S. Abzug (D-NY) who eventually lost a close senate primary to Pat Moynihan (D-NY) and for Hillary in 2008 who kept winning primaries and piling up actual votes even when it was clear she wasn't going to be the candidate. Thousands cheered her wherever she went and it was a close race. You need to take a lead from how both these women handled it when it was clear they couldn't win. Though they didn't agree with all the positions of their opponents they understood for the good of the country they needed to support and campaign for the winner and they did.

I know you will do the same. Your statements all indicate that. You said more than once you will support Hillary if she is the candidate and you will do all you can to make sure Donald Trump or Ted Cruz aren't President. Your campaign manager has said you will stay a Democrat for life. That shows you do understand to accomplish any of what you have campaigned so hard for Democrats need to keep the White House and take back the Congress.

Of course you will try to negotiate some platform issues and what role you will have at the convention and in the campaign. Those negotiations will be more successful if done in private. You will get more and look like a winner.

Bernie you have a big role to play in uniting the Party because you have been successful. It doesn't necessarily mean ending your campaign immediately as when you do that is your decision. It does mean changing your rhetoric and tone to ensure after the convention in Philadelphia Democrats will move forward united and go on to win big in November.