You said it again last night: “This campaign is not just about electing a president. It is about making a political revolution.” Okay. Allow me to take you seriously. Allow me to believe you mean that. Allow me to have high hopes that this election isn’t just about electing you president, but about starting that revolution you talk about all the time.
And please allow me to speak honestly. You said last night that your campaign was partly “about dealing with some unpleasant truths that exist in America today and having the guts to confront those truths.” Bernie, one of those unpleasant truths is that you will never be president. I’m sorry about that. You’re a good and decent man. But Hillary Clinton now has over 1000 delegates. You have 371. Estimates are you would have to win almost 60% of the vote in all the elections to come in order to catch up with her. We both know, or should know, that just isn’t going to happen. So, I ask you this: why prolong the inevitable? Why give a speech last night in which you don’t even bother to congratulate your opponent, who is now, after all these years of your independence, a fellow Democrat? I have to admit that there was something about that touch of gracelessness that bothered me.
Still, though, I want to tell you that I admire what you have done so far. It has been fairly impressive. You have raised a lot of issues that all of us need to think about. And most of the time you ooze with authenticity. But I have to tell you that it disturbs me that your constant line of attack against Mrs. Clinton—essentially questioning her honesty and integrity—is exactly the line of attack that Republicans will use against her later this year. In fact, they aren’t waiting. Right-wing super PACs have spent months and a lot of money attacking her honesty and integrity. In fact, they are actually using your own words against her, and I haven’t heard a peep about that from you. Is that because you stand to benefit from those attack ads? I hope not. I hope you’ve just been too busy planning your revolution to notice how your attacks blend so nicely with those of our real political opponents, including Dangerous Donald.
Which leads me to the real reason for my appeal to you. You said last night your campaign “is about transforming America.” You know how you can really help do that, Bernie? By suspending your campaign and taking all those millions of dollars that those earnest, well-meaning Americans have given you and put it to good use, like helping Democrats win competitive House and Senate races, so that a Democratic president can actually get done some of the things that you and I want done. Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to become the country’s largest cheerleader for Hillary Clinton if you don’t want to. But you can become a cheerleader for Democrats at least taking back the Senate, so that a President Hillary Clinton can transform the Supreme Court for a generation. Isn’t that something you would be proud of? Wouldn’t that count as sufficiently revolutionary, especially since it has been 40 years since progressives have had control of the Court?
Today, as you know, the Court is considering the most important reproductive rights case in 20 years, a case out of right-wing Texas that will likely result in a 4-4 deadlock. Women need a Hillary Clinton and a Democratic Senate next year to get that fifth vote in some future precedent-setting case generated by anti-choice reactionaries in some other Republican-controlled state. I can’t think of too many things more transformative than establishing a choice-protecting majority, can you? Unless maybe it would be that same majority protecting the voting rights of minorities or overturning Citizens United. The point is, the revolution you speak of can begin with a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate actually having the power to stop Republicans around the country from turning back the clock on so many issues important to all of us who care about the rights of women, of minorities, and of ordinary citizens who, as you often say, live at the mercy of the millionaires and billionaires among us.
Think about it. You can have a tremendous effect in many strategic places around the country where Democrats facing purple electorates need the impressive enthusiasm of your young supporters. You could show up in targeted districts and states and campaign for the transformation you say you want. You can give much-needed money—money you got from folks who believe in your revolutionary spirit—to the Democratic National Committee so that candidates in those purple districts and states have the resources to defeat their wealthier opponents. In that way, Bernie, you could demonstrate that you mean it when you say this isn’t just about electing a president, but about starting a political revolution.
Finally, last night you said this: “Now, I know that Secretary Clinton and many of the establishment people think that I am looking and thinking too big. I don’t think so.” You are right about that, Bernie. You’re not looking and thinking too big, you are actually looking and thinking too small. You seem to be thinking only about your own candidacy, which faces the longest of odds and which, if you continue to the bitter end as you and your spokesman say you will, risks severely damaging the chances of Democrats keeping the White House, and will help Republicans keep control of the all-important Senate.
So, I am asking you to really think big, Bernie. Think about what good you could actually do for not only your new political home, the Democratic Party, but about the country that you have, up until now, so admirably served.
The Erstwhile Conservative