No one expected Bernie Sanders to remain in the Democrat primary race this long. His longevity and surprising support has been much to the chagrin of rival Hillary Clinton, her own Super PAC the Democrat National Committee and the Democrat establishment in general.
Following a disappointing loss in New York last week and ahead of five primaries on Tuesday, Sanders’ campaign admits it is at a turning point — and that it may “have to re-evaluate” after Tuesday. “Re-evaluate” = code for “dropping out” or “suspending campaign”?
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is waging a campaign at a turning point. The New York primary earlier this week was essentially a must win. And he lost.
He’s still campaigning as hard as ever, hopping from state to state talking about a rigged economy and a political system ruled by millionaires and billionaires. But the candidate who started out as an underdog and rose to heights few expected has a math problem.
Sanders needs to win all the remaining contests by a 20-point margin to catch up to Clinton in pledged delegates.
Sanders supporters, such as the progressive group Democracy for America, maintain there is still a path for the senator from Vermont, though it’s “certainly gotten brambled.”
Unless something dramatic changes, Sanders and his campaign are going to face a moment of reckoning.
On Tuesday, five more states hold primaries, and polling suggests Clinton is in for another good night. When asked if there would come a point when Sanders tones down his criticisms of the front-runner, as Clinton did late in the 2008 race, Sanders senior campaign adviser Tad Devine said he’d see what happens on Tuesday.
“If we think we’ve made enough progress, then we’ll keep on the path that we’re on,” Devine said. “If we think we have to, you know, take a different way or reevaluate, you know, we’ll do it then.”
One could interpret the the campaign’s comments as a determination of how hard to keep pushing against his rival and presumptive Democrat nominee. However, we all have been around long enough to know “re-evaluate” often means hanging it up, going home, suspending one’s campaign.
Hillary and her supporters certainly are gunning for the latter, given the scars Sanders’ attacks may leave on her for the general election.
Right now, the Clinton campaign and other Democrats are getting worried that some of Sanders’ attacks are going to leave a mark that will hurt her in the general election, should she be the nominee. Sanders raised significantly more money than Clinton in March and has been able to outspend her on television ads in state after state. To maintain her lead, Clinton has to keep campaigning hard, running ads and not fully turning her attention to the general-election fight.
And for all of the reasons just stated, those of us in the #NeverHillary camp have reason to root for Bernie sticking around for a bit longer.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]