Despite the devastating results from last night’s primaries, Bernie Sanders is holding on. Sanders declared his intention to stay in the race this afternoon in a press conference in Vermont. He will remain a candidate until after the next debate, scheduled for Sunday night at 8:00 pm EDT (CNN), and possibly longer.
Sanders, according to Nate Silver’s projections, has virtually no chance of reaching the 1,991 delegates needed to secure the nomination. He would need a miracle to get back into contention. That’s why Sunday’s debate sets up to be his Hail Mary moment.
It’s unlikely that Sanders has the moxie to force Biden into a corner during the debate. Both men are old, both have suffered debilitating health events. Both are certainly exhausted by nonstop campaigning. That said, this is Bernie’s best and last chance to hit his opponent relentlessly until Biden folds. Or spews some bit of nonsense so damning that even the sand-submerged ostrich heads that make up his base pop up and take notice of their candidate’s worsening dementia.
We’re talking about a Howard Dean squeal, a Dukakis tank ride moment. It has to be epically bad, like Biden’s dentures falling out of his mouth, or saying the n-word on national television.
Lets put the chances of such a moment occurring at 5%. It’s not much, but it’s not nothing. If anyone has proven to be a PR train wreck, it’s Biden. And that held true long before daily displays of fogginess. A Joe-plosion is Bernie’s only hope.
But will Sanders press Biden into a mistake? Unlikely, says a reporter who spent weeks with the campaign:
Meanwhile, a small group of senior aides had been pushing Sanders for months to go harder on Biden.
The problem: Sanders actually likes him. Personally, they got along better than he ever did with Hillary Clinton, aides have said. (The former vice president falls into an exclusive category for the Vermont senator: the people who were nice to Sanders before he mattered, as two aides put it recently.) Back in January, it was the candidate’s decision to personally apologize to Biden after one of his surrogates, Zephyr Teachout, wrote an op-ed about Biden’s “corruption problem.”
The Effect of Sanders Sticking Around
For Sanders to show some grit is important. If he folded the moment a win looked virtually impossible and went out with a whimper–some of his supporters would turn on him, and not the DNC/Biden machine.
All Americans should be disturbed by the DNC’s shameless meddling in the selection of the party’s candidate. Sure, it’s “their” party, but the candidate should be decided by the people who comprise the party, not its unelected bureaucrats.
Bernie voters angry with the DNC are more likely to write Bernie in as a candidate (indeed, #WriteInBernie is trending on Twitter today, as is #DemExit2020). Or they’ll stay home. And although it’s a small number, some will turn to Trump.
Sanders followers have gained unique insight into the dishonest media. They know what it looks like to have reporters fawn over their candidate’s rivals while ignoring his wins.
The longer this gets dragged out, perhaps more Berniebros will begin to admit to themselves that they have more in common with Trump than with Biden, the DNC’s tired, corrupt marionette.