After thumping Senator Bernie Sanders in Puerto Rico yesterday, Hillary Clinton is just 25 delegates shy of the prize, with delegate-rich New Jersey and California voting tomorrow. That means that after polls close in New Jersey at 8 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow, the networks will likely tell us that Hillary Clinton has amassed enough delegates to become the Democratic Party’s candidate for president.
It won’t be official until the convention, of course. But the primaries will be effectively over tomorrow — even for the folks who’ve been basking for weeks on the sunny banks of De Nial. The only remaining drama will be what Sanders chooses to do when confronted with the latest inescapable math. The signs have not been encouraging. But there’s still time for Sanders to do the right thing.
And that matters to me, not because I give a crap about Sanders’ future in the Democratic Party or believe that we’ll need the Bernie-or-Busters onboard to defeat Trump. The political fate of a single senator doesn’t much interest me, and I am convinced that the vast majority of Sanders voters will be with us this fall, consigning the Busted to the irrelevancy that was the well-deserved fate of their PUMA predecessors.
But I do care about mainstreaming some of the ideas Sanders brought to the table. I’d like to see “democratic socialism” become as acceptable a political concept to Americans as the much less reputable “evangelical conservatism” already is. I’d rather us take a more evenhanded approach to the Israeli-Palestinian question. I’m for getting PACs and corporations out of politics.
Even though he will not be the nominee, Sanders has succeeded in his original aim: He got his issues front and center and demonstrated that a candidate can credibly compete without big money donors. It will be a damned shame — and a setback for the party — if he undercuts those accomplishments with a pointless nomination fight.