June 4, 2016 - 8:00 pm
All due respect to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but he’s really not helping his party here.
Reid — who simply cannot help meddling in political races from the White House to Congress to the state Legislature — was all over the news last week, suggesting that now is the time for Bernie Sanders to pack it in. According to Reid, Hillary Clinton’s insurmountable delegate lead (currently 2,313 for Clinton to 1,547 for Sanders) is too high a hurdle for the Vermont senator to overcome.
“I’ve never been too good at math, but I can figure that one out. I think he better do a little mathing,” Reid told the Associated Press on Thursday.
Although Reid generously allowed that Sanders has the right to keep campaigning all the way to the July convention in Philadelphia, the Nevada senator discouraged that move.
“No, I don’t think he should,” Reid said. “I don’t know what that’s going to prove. Sometimes you just have to give up. I’ve lost before. The numbers aren’t there.”
Meanwhile, across the country, another few thousand people just went online to donate their $27, to pick up some Bernie merch on his website and to gas up the car for a trip to the next Sanders rally.
Feel the Bern!
Even Reid knows he’s a flawed courier for the “Surrender Dorothy” movement that’s trying gently but firmly to crowbar Sanders out of the race. “I don’t think I’m the one to deliver that message. If he calls and asks me I’ll be happy to, but I’m not going to go chasing him around to tell him what math is,” Reid said.
Yeah, don’t wait by the phone, senator. The last person on Earth Sanders is likely to ask for advice is a man who has endorsed Clinton and who has a leadership position in the entrenched, calcified political party that Sanders is trying to implode so a new, sleek and more progressive successor can rise from the dust and debris.
In fact, that goes for pretty much every Democratic party leader, consultant and pundit on TV. Every time one of them urges Sanders to quit, the man from Vermont vows to continue for another hour, another rally, another day. Polls show he’s within a couple percentage points of winning the mighty state of California on Tuesday. Why would he give up now? Even if Clinton on Tuesday wins the remaining 70 delegates she needs, becoming the presumptive nominee, Sanders could get a powerful boost and reason to continue his campaign.
Sanders said long before he ever decided to run that his goal was to ensure no one would be able to dismiss his agenda because of a poorly run campaign. He didn’t want to fail in such a way that people would say, “See? No one cares about universal health care, rebuilding our infrastructure, free tuition at public universities and colleges, taking the political system back from billionaires and millionaires or raising the minimum wage.”
Mission accomplished. Because the Sanders campaign has always been about building a political movement that cannot be denied, a wave of change that — even if it doesn’t carry him into the White House — will forever transform modern politics, first in the Democratic Party and then throughout the United States.
So while the party establishment goes about “mathing,” while they wring their hands and call him the political reincarnation of Ralph Nader circa 2000, while they warn that Donald Trump is gaining ground while Clinton is still fighting her primary battle, Sanders continues with his revolution. He’s proved it’s possible for a progressive to mount a credible, legitimate national campaign and win (20 states and counting).
Time to give up? Are you kidding? Bernie Sanders is just getting started.
Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist and co-host of “PoliticsNOW,” airing at 5:30 p.m. Sundays on 8NewsNow. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or reach him at 702-387-5276 or SSebelius@reviewjournal.com.