Bernie Sanders' Revolution Is No Longer Cool With House Democrats
Wednesday is the one-month anniversary of Hillary Clinton clinching enough delegates to secure the Democratic nomination for president. And yet, following her first joint rally with President Barack Obama, Clinton is lacking something that Obama enjoyed at this point in the campaign eight years ago: the unqualified support of her main primary rival. Bernie Sanders is now entering the second month of the mathematically-impossible period of his stunning and game-changing campaign, but the Vermont senator is still showing no signs of officially quitting. His resilience may be pleasing to his supporters, but its earning him the ire of his fellow Congressmen, some of whom reportedly booed Sanders at a meeting with House Democrats Wednesday morning, according to POLITICO.
POLITICO reported that Sanders was asked by lawmakers when he would formally get out of the race and back Clinton, to which Sanders responded, "The goal isn't to win elections, the goal is to transform America," according to what multiple lawmakers and aides present told the publication. While in theory this is in keeping with the rhetoric Sanders used throughout the campaign, with the stakes as high as they are in 2016, winning should be a fairly high priority, especially for House Democrats, who could perhaps maybe possibly be just within reach of winning a majority.
While Clinton's campaign is barreling ahead anyway, it's starting to get a little uncomfortable that Sanders hasn't fallen in line. He's had several moments where he could have done so, including Clinton's victory in California on June 7 (despite the endless ballot counting that is still going on there), or her victory in the final Washington D.C. primary, or even after FBI Director James Comey announced the agency wouldn't be recommending charges over Hillary's private email server. Sanders is now like the opposite of a houseguest who overstays his welcome — it's time for him to come in and join the party.
Admittedly, his actions are in keeping with the outsider-status Sanders has maintained since he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1991. While he was rewarded for fighting against the party establishment during the primary, his breach of politeness protocol betrays not only his stubbornness but also reveals what might have ended up being a political liability had he been the party's nominee.
This gets to a crucial function of political parties, which is to marshal collective political interests in order to provide sufficient electoral support so that those interests might be served. And while I found many of Sanders' positions fantastic (some of which are being embraced by Clinton) and his tenacity admirable, they'd all be pipe dreams in the bizarro-world of a Trump presidency.
Finally, though, let's for a moment engage in a thought experiment where 2008 Clinton waited nearly two months drop out of the race and endorse Obama at the convention — I'd imagine she'd be getting a lot worse than "boos." It's time for Sanders to pack it in: his party needs it, his country needs it, and maybe most urgently, his own image needs it.