Will Bernie Sanders Drop Out After California? His Campaign Staff Is About To Shrink

For months now, the Democratic primary had been ultimately hinging on one state — California. Sanders has been adamant that he will not drop out of the race before the July convention, insisting that there is still a path to victory in Philadelphia for his campaign, but Clinton is the presumptive nominee by a large margin when superdelegate counts are included, and effectively declared the primary race over Tuesday evening. The New York Times also reported Tuesday evening that Bernie Sanders was reportedly planning to lay off half of his campaign staff by Wednesday. So, will Bernie Sanders drop out after California results come in Tuesday night?

Sanders really needs to stay in the race to keep his word and his integrity, and that seems like the most likely scenario. There were multiple points in the race when he could have dropped out to make things easier on himself — after Super Tuesday, after New York, after Indiana — but he stayed in just like he said he would. Sanders' candidacy has brought hope for a different kind of politics to millions of people, and giving those believers any less than a full campaign to the end will tarnish the reputation of his unexpected and inspiring success.

Plus, at this point, the campaign is about much more than Sanders himself, but about the progressive, independent movement it has engendered, which has a better chance of staying alive the longer he is around to fan its flame.

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But there's an undeniable argument for Sanders to drop out, too. He has said in the past that he would not pursue a third party candidacy so as not to fracture the Democratic party, but the longer he stays in the race, the more fractured the party becomes anyway. There is a clear and striking difference between the liberal and progressive arms of the Democratic party that will be tough enough for Clinton to unite without Sanders still in the picture, and Clinton needs time to sure up her base before the general election in November. The sooner Sanders drops out, the more time Clinton has to strengthen her campaign against Donald Trump, a goal on which both campaigns are fully agreed.

Ultimately, it's incredibly unlikely that Sanders will be the nominee — the question is whether he will drop out or concede the nomination, which makes a surprisingly big difference. One keeps alive the independent spirit of his campaign, while the other makes a graceful acquiescence to the unfortunate realities of party politics.