by Judy Ferro
Bernie Sanders won 22 state primaries and caucuses with over 11 million votes. It’s a major accomplishment. Yet, with only 20 more delegates to be allotted, he has 1816 pledged delegates to Hillary Clinton’s 2197. Also, 75% of the 751 superdelegates have declared for Clinton.
Ironically, those superdelegates that have been an obstacle to Sanders’ nomination are now making it possible for him to remain in the race. They are not pledged and can change their minds at any time so there is a slimmest of slim chances that Sanders could still be nominated.
Still, a Sanders victory seems so impossible that few would have surprised if he’d pulled out after Clinton’s California victory last Tuesday. He didn’t—and people are puzzling why.
Some say his ego won’t let him quit. The fact that the man waited until he was 73 to make a presidential bid makes that implausible, but not impossible; audiences of 10,000 and more may change a man.
Some—mainly FOX viewers—say Sanders persists in case Clinton is indicted for not telling President Obama about her e-mail server. I’m betting that Sanders—like most Democrats—doesn’t pay attention to the smokescreens that Republicans spew. It’d be more likely that Clinton asked Sanders to stay in so the media pays some attention to the Democratic race rather than giving Donald Trump all the headlines.
Certainly, Sanders is seeking concessions from Clinton. Maybe he wants to name the vice president or have Clinton pledge to work for a Wall Street tax or free junior college. His 11 million supporters give him leverage, and Sanders won’t waste it.
I’m betting that the convention itself is a reason Sanders is still in the race. His delegates will get to meet him and to cast their votes. Just as important, he will be able to address voters across the nation in his concession speech.
Education is a major part of Sanders’ mission. He wants people to know they do not have to accept business as usual, but that, acting together, they can change the system. His non-concession speech rang with the message which 78% of Idahoans who attended Democratic caucuses supported.
“The vast majority of the American people know that it is not acceptable that the top tenth of 1 percent owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent; we’re going to change that. When millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, we will not allow 57 percent of all new income to go to the top 1 percent. We will end a corrupt campaign finance system.
“Democracy is not about billionaires buying elections. We will end a broken criminal justice system. We will break up the major banks on Wall Street. We will join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all people as a right. We will bring about real immigration reform and a path toward citizenship. We will tell the billionaire class and corporate America that they will start paying their fair share of taxes…
“Whether Wall Street likes it, whether corporate America likes it, whether wealthy campaign contributors like it, whether the corporate media likes it, together we know what our job is. It is to bring the American people together to create a government that works for us, not the 1 percent.”
Will Sanders then declare himself a third-party candidate? Not likely. He doesn’t want to throw the election to Trump. Yet, at 74, it is unlikely that he will be a nominee in the future. Sanders has lit a torch that others must carry.