Sanders Says It's Not About Ego, But It Kinda Is

I’m not sure exactly who at this point is waiting on the edge of their seat for Bernie Sanders to endorse Hillary Clinton for president. We’re all, like, 98 percent sure it’s going to happen, because it has to happen. But we’re also resigned to the idea that Sanders is going to drag this out as long as possible. But if the current absence of an endorsement still sparks agitation and a feeling of urgency in you, know that Sanders has kinda, sorta said it’s going to happen. Soon. Definitely soon-ish. Most likely.

On Wednesday, the Vermont senator told Chris Hayes on MSNBC that he might possibly endorse within the week. He also referred to Clinton as the “presumptive nominee,” which is possibly the only time that phrase has been employed in the last two months while still retaining any sort of meaning. Sanders congratulated Clinton on her higher education platform, and said that the two were “working on some other ideas” together. When Hayes asked him to confirm the rumors about a possible endorsement, Sanders said “that’s correct.”

Kudos to Hayes for asking if this was about ego, and more than once. Sanders said he respectfully disagreed with that assessment, and pivoted to his bit about how a year ago, no one took his campaign seriously, started from the bottom now we here, etc. — plus some Donald Trump-y stuff that, to me, came off as “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers.” But no, he said. This is not about ego.

And yet ... Politico reported that when colleagues wanted to discuss how he planned to help keep presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump out of the White House, Sanders replied that “The goal isn’t to win elections, the goal is to transform America,” which is one of the most breathtakingly stupid things I have heard all week.

At moments like this — and they have occurred with alarming frequency in the last two or three months — it’s very hard to remember what I once saw in him, and why I still sometimes try to give him the benefit of the doubt and keep my former Sanders faith on life support instead of just pulling the plug. Sanders can deny that this is about ego, but it’s hard to get around the point that if this was a 100-percent selfless venture, he would recognize that Clinton is better for the country than Trump, and that since he will not be the nominee, he best start pulling his voters to her. The goal has to be to win elections. What does Sanders think he, or any of us, will be able to accomplish under Trump, whose goal is very much to win elections? There is no transforming America — at least, not in the direction Sanders is talking about — without a Democrat winning this election. There’s not much room left for both his ego and the practical implementation of at least some version of his liberal goals. He’s going to have to choose one.

Image: Bustle/Caroline Wurtzel