Following up on Tom’s post this morning, I want to say a couple of words about the Sanders’ campaign.
I’ve been lucky in that the last two contested Presidential primaries, my preferred candidate won. In 2008, I was basically happy with either Clinton or Obama but finally went Obama about a month before my state voted. If the results were reversed, I think that by the time Obama wrapped up his concession speech and I had finished my second beer of the evening, I would be on board with voting for Senator Clinton and e-mailing a good friend who was one of her regional organizers about where they needed a volunteer data geek to help cut turf.
I don’t begrudge Senator Sanders running for as long as he did. The Presidential primary process for candidates who aren’t selling books or getting in on the grift is effectively a single iteration game with effectively winner take almost all pay-outs. Promises made by the winner to everyone else have weak enforcement mechanisms. From this perspective as long as a candidate has resources and a plausible path to victory, I understand why they stay in. I understood why Senator Clinton stayed in for so long in 2008. Odd events (such as the John Edwards fiasco or a heart attack) happen, so playing a bad hand that is not yet a guaranteed loser of a hand is logical.
Furthermore, as campaigns go on, especially campaigns that aren’t going too well, there is often an incestuous feedback loop. Romney in 2012 believed that the polls were skewed and he was a favorite going in to Election Day. None of his advisors were able or willing to break through the bullshit that campaigns tell themselves every day that there really is a plausible path forward to victory. Campaigning for most people sucks (Bill Clinton exempted) as it is exhausting, repetitive, stressful work. The hope that it will pay off provides motivation for the candidate, for the senior staff, for the field organizers and for the volunteers. Election results are a clue by four towards reality. Re-adjusting to the actual reality instead of the hoped for reality takes time and at least for me, one or two stupid statements.
Today is a recovery day for Senator Sanders and his campaign. Tomorrow is a reassessment day with a meeting between Senator Sanders and President Obama who can gently deliver any needed clue by fours and provide credible guarantees towards policy/platform enforcement mechanisms. I would be totally happy for Senator Sanders and his campaign to finish out the string in Washington DC next weekend and then start a wind-down with a concession by the middle of the following week. It takes time to mourn a loss and organize a wake, so fellow Clinton supporters, give the Sanders supporters that time please.