Okay Sanders Fanatics, Can You Finally Admit It’s Over?

Okay Sanders Fanatics, Can You Finally Admit It’s Over? June 8, 2016

I am not here addressing mere Bernie Sanders supporters, I am addressing that peculiarly irrational subset of them that seems to spend all day every day creating absurdly dishonest memes constructing increasingly ludicrous scenarios by which he could still win. He can’t. He lost. It’s over. It’s been over for quite a while now.


There were two big caches of delegates available Tuesday, 126 in New Jersey and 475 in California (pledged delegates only, not superdelegates). As expected, Clinton won by a landslide in New Jersey, a nearly 2-1 margin. That means she picks up about 75 pledged delegates there. And as of this writing, with 36% of the vote counted in California, she leads by nearly that same margin. It will likely tighten up over the course of the night as more votes are counted, but he almost certainly isn’t going to win California and even if he did, it would net him no more than a few votes more than her.

Bernie cannot win more pledged delegates than Clinton, nor can he win the popular vote. And while the fanatics’ rallying cry is now “but if we can flip the superdelegates to his side, we can win,” the irony there is almost overwhelming. Remember that for the last several months of primaries, the Sanders have supporters have been arguing that it is outrageous and undemocratic that any superdelegate would dare not vote the same way their state did (why state and not, say, congressional district? Who the hell knows). They shared memes about every superdelegate in every state that Sanders won, along with their phone number, telling people to call and read them the riot act for daring to act so undemocratically. So now what is the tiny little glimmer of hope? If we can just get them to act undemocratically and flip 95% of them, Sanders can win!

I half expect the epitaph on Sanders’ grave to say “We can still win!” (Though frankly, I think Sanders has known for a long time he wasn’t going to win, probably before he even began running, he just couldn’t say that publicly) And then some of his fanatics will defend that claim all over Facebook with memes like this:

He can still win! If someone invents a time machine, they could go back in time and sabotage the Clinton campaign and then Sanders would win! It could happen! Don’t give up hope! Don’t let the lying media tell you it’s too late!

I’ve had people ask me why I seem so bothered by all of this. The answer is simple. I don’t like tribalism, confirmation bias, motivated reasoning or any of the other habits of mind that undermine our rationality. I don’t avoid them entirely myself, of course, because none of us does. But I get frustrated when I am just bombarded with those things every day by people I have long considered allies against other forms of irrationality. I criticize this kind of thinking for the same reason I criticize simpleminded atheist memes, as I do quite often. Because I think it’s important to police our own. Because if we are going to take skepticism and rationality seriously, we can’t excuse it away when it occurs on our side of the fence. Indeed, that’s the time we should take those things more seriously.

I certainly hope reality now sets in, but I’m sure there will be plenty of fanatics who refuse to believe it. They’ll probably file a federal lawsuit against 5th grade math. Meanwhile, CNN showed this scene from Kappa Delta Sanders headquarters:

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