Almost two months ago I wrote to you. You ignored me. Fine. I can live with that. But I want to take this opportunity to remind you of what I said and try again to convince you that if you continue on as you are, you will sort of be, as a pundit on television said this morning, in “an unspoken alliance” with Donald Drumpf. Ouch.
It was evident, even back at the beginning of March, that you would not become the nominee of my—I mean, “our”—party. I urged you back then to accept that fact and not prolong the inevitable and to go out and actually help actualize the political revolution you keep talking about 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.
Well, you didn’t take my advice and here we are today. David Plouffe tweeted after the devastating loss you suffered in the New York primary more than a week ago:
Sanders has run a stunningly strong campaign fueled by passionate supporters. But raising $$ stating you have path to nomination is fraud.
Then you took another pretty good beating this past Tuesday and the “path” you keep talking about has now narrowed so much that only you, apparently possessing preternatural eyesight, can see it. At what point, Bernie, does it really become “fraud” to keep raising money by telling your small-dollar donors that you still have a chance to become the nominee?
Last night in West Lafayette, Indiana, you said,
I am very good in arithmetic, and I can count delegates, and we are behind today. But you know what? Unusual things happen in politics.
You know what would really be unusual? For you to see that instead of laying off hundreds of your campaign staffers around the country, you could give them a new mission: help down-ballot Democrats beat vulnerable Republicans.
You could redeploy some staffers to Illinois to help our U.S. Senate candidate, Tammy Duckworth, beat a very vulnerable Mark Kirk. Others you could send to Wisconsin, where the deplorable teapartier Ron Johnson is ripe for picking off the Senate tree. Wouldn’t it be worth some of your own time and effort to see to it that Russ Feingold—who lost to Johnson in that devastating 2010 election—becomes your colleague in the Senate again? Huh? Feingold, after all, has been trying to get something done on campaign finance reform for a long time. How about putting your money where your mouth is on that issue and help him?
Still other staffers you could send to New Hampshire, where Republican Kelly Ayotte will have to battle with a very popular Democratic governor, Maggie Hassan—she’s won twice statewide, Bernie!—and where you and your folks could really be a big help.
In Florida, Marco Rubio’s seat needs to be filled. Let’s fill it with a Democrat like Patrick Murphy, what do ya say? Granted, Murphy is no Alan Grayson, but that’s sort of the point, you know what I mean? Congressman Murphy disposed of the disposable Allen West, so, dammit, that’s worth giving him some help down there.
There are more Senate races in which you and your supporters could make a big difference. Believe it or not, John McCain can be beaten in Arizona. So can Pat Toomey, a Club for Growth kinda guy, in Pennsylvania. Rob Portman is a little shaky in Ohio. Chuck Grassley could be swept away in a Bernie-led landslide in Iowa. Richard Burr could be knocked off in North Carolina. Maybe you could even send a few devoted staffers to us here in Missouri, where Jason Kander is up against the lobbyist-loving Roy Blunt.
Besides all those vulnerable Republicans currently in the Senate, we have some big shoes to fill in Nevada. Harry Reid is leaving and Democrats could use a Bernie-boost to help Catherine Cortez Masto become the first Hispanic woman to sit in the U.S. Senate. Wouldn’t that be revolutionary?
Senator Michael Bennet needs some love in Colorado, a place where we always struggle to win. And since you talk a lot about goin’ to California, how about weighing in on which Democrat should replace retiring Barbara Boxer? (Hint: Attorney General Kamala Harris is big on the minimum wage and paid family leave!)
Yes, the Democrats could, with your sizable help, take back the Senate. It is quite possible, some say even likely, if our top of the ticket, Hillary Clinton, runs strong with a Bernie-wind at her back. And even though it would be much tougher—this is where we will need your revolution, Bernie—there are dozens of House races you could put your name to, put money into, devote some time to.
Can you see how using your considerable resources to elect down-ballot Democrats would be much better than holding out for some language changes in the party’s platform that nobody really gives a damn about anyway? Or much better than forcing Hillary to become Hillary Sanders by adopting all of your policy positions in exchange for your and your fans’ support? You said in Indiana,
We are in this campaign to win, but if we do not win, we intend to win every delegate that we can so that when we go to Philadelphia in July, we are going to have the votes to put together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen. Our goal, whether we win or we do not win, is to transform the Democratic Party, to open the doors to working people, to senior citizens, to young people, in a way that does not exist today.
Okay, I get that. You want to “transform” my, uh, our party. But that shouldn’t be a priority right now, not when there are so many Republicans we have to beat this November. You really want to help working people? Then help Democrats get rid of as many Republicans in Congress as we can. You really want to take care of our seniors and help young folks? Same thing. Your revolution, and the far-reaching social and political changes you and I both want, will only come, Bernie, if we control all three branches of the government. And although that might seem to some people like a quixotic undertaking, it isn’t nearly as quixotic as your quest to become president.
So, please, suspend your shrinking campaign and really think big. You passively said, “Unusual things happen in politics.” How about making those unusual things happen?
The Erstwhile Conservative