Why Bernie Sanders Should Stay in the Race

Why Bernie Sanders Should Stay in the Race April 21, 2016

Any call for Bernie Sanders to drop out of the Democratic race is just ridiculous. First of all, it’s not going to happen. Sanders is in it for the long haul. Unlike other candidates in previous elections, he has the money to stay in. Second, if he were to drop out, it would only hurt the party.

The Democratic Party needs the new and younger voters that Sanders has energized and brought to it. While a certain percentage of voters claim they will not vote for Hillary Clinton should she continue on to the nomination, the vast majority of Sanders supporters (excluding the outright Clinton haters) will probably vote for Clinton as long as they don’t feel disrespected. By telling Sanders to drop out now, many of these voters will also drop out, and I would not blame them.

Despite what some pundits say, Sanders has more to fight for than a nice prime time speech spot at the convention. If he drops out, there goes any remaining talk of social justice issues such as fair wages, economic inequality, and police brutality. I believe Clinton would run back to the right in a heartbeat if it weren’t for Sanders’ focus on issues that are more to the left of her usual concerns. By staying in the race, Sanders also has the opportunity to get some of his ideas into the party platform.

What has to happen now though, after Clinton’s unexpected large margin of victory in his native state of New York, is the beginning of a united party. Sanders has to dial it back a bit. He can continue to criticize Clinton’s positions but the vitriol needs to stop. Note I am not saying anything about his tone. His tone is part of his appeal, at least as far as I can determine.

Sanders and his tone are going to be greatly needed in the fall against Donald Trump. While I expect he will eventually endorse her, I don’t foresee a disingenuous Clinton and Sanders tour. Instead, I see Sanders being used as an effective attack dog against all things Trump. Will Sanders be willing to campaign for Clinton, someone who is the antithesis of so many things he believes in, or will he pull a Reagan 1976, and disappear? (Reagan’s lack of effort for Ford in that election helped Carter to the White House.)

What would Sanders do from now until November if he drops out? Continue to criticize Clinton, thereby undermining her campaign and ensuring a Republican victory? He does not seem quite that self-centered. Turn all his attention to the Republican front runner? He seems more committed to his agenda than he does to spoiling the Republican party. Staying in allows him to continue to raise money, get his message out, perhaps grow other candidates who believe in the same revolution he does, and keep the pressure on Clinton to not drift back right. Seems like a winning formula to me.

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