Bernie still won’t endorse Hillary. He thinks it matters.

    This June 23

    This June 23

    When Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren shared the stump in Ohio the other day, galvanizing the crowd with their centrist-liberal alliance, I had to wonder, “Whatever happened to Bernie Sanders?”

    And then I remembered. He’s still doing his best impression of a defiant Japanese soldier camped on a Pacific atoll circa 1948.

    He does this by surfacing for network interviews and insisting – even now, after being decisively beaten – that he cannot bestow his allegedly crucial endorsement unless Hillary agrees to craft the entire Democratic platform in his image. Which is quite a fascinating argument, because, under the rules of reality, it’s typically the winner who gets to call the shots. That’s one of the perks of, you know, winning.

    And with each passing day, he’s leverage is leaching away. He’s overplaying his increasingly weak hand. He needs to heed Kenny Rogers’ famous advice: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em / Know when to fold ’em.”

    On CNN last weekend, Bernie refused to endorse and said instead, “What we are doing is trying to say to the Clinton campaign, stand up, be bolder than you have been. And then many of (my) voters in fact may come on board.” Well, guess what. The glory days of the Bernie Bros are gone. Many of his voters have already come on board. One big reason why Clinton has opened a sizable lead against Donald Trump in national polls is because Bernie voters have shifted her way. If only to stop Trump.

    According to the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll, 81 percent of Bernie backers have heeded Hillary’s call for unity. No surprise there. The same thing happened in ’08 after the Obama-Clinton contest; Clinton’s most diehard supporters, after vowing to remain defiant in defeat (their slogan was “Party Unity My Ass”) shifted to Obama en masse and fueled his winning November coalition.

    But Bernie is still thinks he has clout. On MSNBC two days ago, Andrea Mitchell asked him, “How long are you going to wait before you make a decision about endorsement?” He replied: “You’re asking, I think, with all due respect, Andrea, the wrong question. It’s not a question of my endorsement. It’s a question of the American people understanding that Secretary Clinton is prepared to stand with them.”

    Um, hello? “The American people” – or, more precisely, the people who voted in the Democratic primaries – rejected him. Decisively so. We can all agree that he had had a good run, but all told he tallied just 43 percent of the votes. Clinton won 57 percent – defeating him (and often crushing him) in virtually all the big racially diverse states that will be crucial in November, including Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. And she won a majority of the pledged delegates – by a margin three times larger than Obama’s winning edge in ’08.

    Even so, the Clinton camp has bent over backwards to undulge Bernie by tilting the party platform leftward. The draft platform (which few people read anyway) calls for Social Security expansion, a higher federal minimum wage up to $15 an hour, abolition of the death penalty, and other Bernie-friendly planks. But he’s not getting everything he wants. Single-payer health care? No. A total ban on fracking? No. Because in the end, he lost and she won.

    And since when does a losing candidate get the right to dictate the platform of a party to which he doesn’t even belong?

    Bernie keeps saying, as he said again on Tuesday, that he will do “everything I can to see that Donald Trump does not become President of the United States.” So start doing it already – or risk getting left behind, because the train is leaving the station. With Bernie fans packing the coach cars.

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    Speaking of Trump (must we?), I could regale you with the latest exposed fraud – the so-called “Trump Institute” – but what was most delicious, these past 24 hours, was his reaction to the House GOP’s report on Benghazi. As I noted here yesterday, the report unearthed zip about Clinton wrongdoing, but that didn’t satisfy America’s Troll, who predictably typed this on Twitter:

    If you want to know about Hillary Clinton’s honesty & judgment, ask the family of Ambassador Stevens.

    Perhaps, before allowing his fingers to fly, Trump and his hapless staffers should’ve checked first with the family. Because here’s what the slain ambassador’s sister, the family spokesperson, said in remarks that were posted yesterday:

    (The GOP report) doesn’t look like anything new….I do not blame Hillary Clinton or (then-Defense secretary) Leon Panetta. They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.

    And this gem:

    Perhaps if Congress had provided a budget to increase security for all missions around the world, then some of the requests for more security in Libya would have been granted.

    Ah yes. That would be the Republican Congress. 

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    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1, and on Facebook.

     

     

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