What Hillary Clinton Said About Bernie Sanders On 'Ellen' Might Just Be Wishful Thinking
Democratic frontrunner (is it too soon to say presumptive nominee? Has that term lost its meaning yet?) Hillary Clinton went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday, where Ellen brought up her impending nominee-hood and relationship with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Ellen points out the obvious, that its "like 99-percent sure" she'll be the nominee – and so, does she think Sanders should drop out?
Sanders has said repeatedly he's going to take this thing all the way to the convention (the final ballots will be cast in Washington D.C. on June 14). Just on Monday, he told the Associated Press that the Democratic convention was going to get "messy." As his campaign progresses — or doesn't, depending on your point of view — he's appeared to grow increasingly frustrated and more hostile, including famously suggesting Clinton was "unqualified" for the office. He's complained more and more openly about how the delegates are rigged in her favor. And he's not given any indication that he understands or cares about how he's potentially setting up the party to be divided come November. Yet Clinton told Ellen that she believed when the time came, Sanders would endorse her and be in her corner, as she herself did for Obama in 2008.
Clinton and Obama have obviously not always gotten along, and the working relationship they have now seems largely due to her time in his cabinet; it wouldn't have been fair to expect that same politeness when they were rivals on the campaign trail. And it's not as though there was no nastiness or shade –– Clinton aides were known to use Obama's middle name, Hussein, The New York Times reported. But when Clinton dropped out in 2008, she endorsed Obama forcefully, with no equivocations.
Sanders has not, of course, had the opportunity to give his concession speech, so it's only fair to give him the benefit of the doubt here. But he's painting himself into a smaller and smaller corner — when the time comes for that speech, which Clinton seems to believe will be as rousing and supportive as her own in 2008, it'll be hard to believe when he says "just kidding, she's totally qualified." The only reason for him now to change his tune and support her is because that's just what politicians do at this stage in the game. It still raises a few eyebrows each time some former #NeverTrump-type falls in line behind the Donald; if we judge, say, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his newfound loyalty, how will we feel about a candidate whose whole platform is built around a supposed cornerstone of moral integrity and political "outsiderness"?
The alternative, though, is that Clinton was wrong in her prediction to Ellen, and that Sanders will go cantankerously into that good night and take his supporters with him (or, rather, to Trump). June 14 is coming up fast, and there hasn't been any sign that Sanders will be for Clinton what she was to Obama.