After last night’s win in New York for Clinton, maybe its time Sanders ratcheted down his tone before he becomes the Trump of the left. It doesn’t seem too long ago that the media was wondering what responsibility the Trump campaign had, if any, over the violence in their crowds. Though Bernie has not espoused physical or emotional violence, campaign surrogates and supporters have repeatedly made remarks that seem to go too far.
From calling Clinton a “corporate whore” to throwing money at her as she drove by, the vicious and sexist-tinged attacks have come from Sanders supporters with no real comment from the campaign. All the while Sanders has flip-flopped on his tactics to get to the nomination and has embraced an openly negative campaign even though he promised an issues-oriented campaign.
This negativity has some real consequences, since the delegate math is hardly in Sanders’ favor. If Sanders continues his amped up negative rhetoric he risks not only dividing the Democratic party when it is likely to face the incredibly dangerous Trump candidacy, but also risks tarring Clinton with the brush her Republican opponents will use against her all summer and fall. Remember 2012? When the Obama campaign essentially borrowed the attack lines that Republican candidates threw at Romney to defeat him? Is this truly what we want? to weaken our presumptive nominee in the face of a Republican that could do serious harm to the country?
I understand that Bernie is popular and he is voicing genuine concerns about out county and democracy. But the way in which he is going about this could do much more harm then good. With the math this stacked against him, what purpose does it serve to continue to march down the path he has chosen, namely to contest this primary until the convention? There are so many more useful outlets that Sanders could use his energy and money for rather than continuing an ill-fated quest for a nomination he wont get.
He could throw his money into down-ballot races. He could create a movement to change the democratic nominating process (although his new-found reliance on super delegate math might undercut this). He could work to put his issues on the Democratic platform come July.
If Sanders really believes that he has a movement; a political revolution, then he should understand that it takes a long time to start a revolution and that it is a movement that could be more effective should he stop his candidacy. With his candidacy off the table and his focus on a political movement, more Democrats and independents could easily join him in his quest to push certain issues without the fear of imperiling their White House chances in November. Jeff Merkely would be on his side. So would Elizabeth Warren, Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison and Tulsi Gabbard. Bernie has the beginnings of a coalition in the Democratic party that could get real reform done. Maybe that is the political revolution he should aim for and not the weakening of Hillary Clinton and emboldening Trump.