At some point it is time to admit albeit reluctantly that the party is over. It is time to call it quits. Each and every campaign ends. It is hard to admit defeat, it is painful. In a way, it is like when a football player who has seen his best days, can not admit that his time is past. He still wants to play. He remembers the good old days, when he was on top of the world. “Put me in coach.” But, alas, the coach pats him on the back, and smiles wistfully remembering what it used to be like.
For the Bernie Sanders campaign he has seen the heady days of the campaign when he was on top of the world. As each day passes, he knows in his heart of hearts that it is over, but he reluctantly pushes on, refusing to call it a day. Is he doing so to preserve what was good about his campaign. One could understand it if he were holding out to have a say at the convention. It would make sense if he was holding on to make sure his issues are part of the platform.
His campaign was wonderful. He brought excitement and energy to the campaign. Young people brought their idealism and passion. The slogan, “Do you feel the Bern,” will go down in history! His issues resonated with millions of people.
But now he is like the relative who stayed too long. His contributions to the history of politics in this country will be sullied by the later days of his campaign and by one inexplicable habit that his campaign has encouraged. He has found an excuse for every loss and he has blamed the system for having rigged the election.
It is simply not true that the election has been stolen from him. You have rules that have been in existence before he got in the race. You deal with the rules as you find them. We may change the rules later, but it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of your young supporters to moan and complain that that life has been unfair and your loss is not a loss but rather a theft and you and your followers did not really lose the election.
Senator Sanders took advantage of the system when it worked to his advantage. Most of his triumphs came in caucus states. Caucuses are a miserable example of what democracy should look like. But no he complains bitterly about closed primaries, closed to people who are democrats. After all, it is the Democratic nomination, he is seeking, democrats should be the ones deciding this. He wants everything his way, to his advantage, that is why he wants an open primary, open to people who are not democrats.
He has dismissed in a condescending manner his defeats in Southern States, as if the Southern primaries do not matter. For the primary states that have a diverse electorate, he was somehow cheated of victory, when the real reason for his defeat is that for one reason or another, Hillary Clinton is more popular among women and minorities.
The moment he ran a negative campaign his support among democrats declined. His effort to turn Hillary Clinton into a person to be reviled and hated was a huge mistake. You can be for something without trying to destroy a persons character.
I choose to remember what his campaign was like when Senator Sanders spoke eloquently in the early debates about his issues. He gift to all of us was the strength and passion that he brought with him regarding what mattered most to him.
He can bring his campaign to a close by bringing a degree of dignity back to his campaign by once again talking just about the issues. The memory of his campaign will then be one of a white knight who came within our midst trying to bring us together, united in the goal of improving the lives of all Americans. Turn out the lights and be that gentle knight and not an angry old man resentful of defeat.