For far too long in this election cycle Democrats (myself included), moderates, and sensible Republicans believed that the Republican establishment would overwhelm Donald Trump. In fact, the dichotomy between establishment and insurgent Republicans is false. It was, after all, John McCain (then a four-term United States Senator) who, by picking the eminently unqualified Sarah Palin as his running mate, brought into the mainstream a particularly dangerous and deranged strand of politics. Republicans further stoked fear and anger to send to Congress far too many loud, boisterous, and politically intransigent individuals (often by defeating Republican members who had admirably served the country for long periods of time). It should be remembered that Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul are all part of this loud, boisterous, and politically intransigent group. Tellingly, the establishment is now trying to coalesce around Marco Rubio, who, in 2010, was the anti-establishment Senate candidate in Florida.
Events such as Chris Christie’s odd endorsement of Donald Trump have finally laid bare the fact that the Republican establishment is not the savior we hoped for. With the growing sense of inevitability surrounding Trump’s nomination, it is time for Americans to gear up and roundly defeat him. And that begins with Senator Bernie Sanders bowing out.
To anyone that is looking at the primary calendar and delegate math, it is abundantly clear that Sanders cannot win the nomination. For him to continue will be ruinous to the country.
Allow me to explain: Bernie Sanders’ populist and fantastical campaign is appealing not to the better angels of our nature, but to the same feelings of anger, insecurity, and fear that Donald Trump appeals to. That is not, in any way, to equate Bernie Sanders with Donald Trump. In the current election cycle, it is necessary to note that Sanders has a basic sense of human decency and an understanding of the institutions that make this nation work. And further, let me be completely clear: it is difficult to overstate how important of an issue economic inequality is, and Senator Sanders deserves abundant gratitude not only for bringing the issue to the forefront of this election, but also for fighting for economic justice over the course of his career.
But my point is that Sanders, like Trump, is playing with fire. And to the extent Sanders and Trump supporters overlap, Sanders continuing to campaign will serve only to further stoke these negative emotions.
Thomas B. Edsall cites an NBC/WSJ poll showing 6% of voters would consider voting for either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. That might seem like a small group of people, but considering that elections can be decided by small margins in a handful of states, it is hard to see what good a continued Sanders campaign does.
Sanders exiting the race of course will not erase the concerns surrounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Just like any campaign, hers is not perfect. But if you listen to Clinton’s speech from Saturday night in South Carolina, you will see that she is now beginning the difficult task of injecting some positivity in this unnecessarily dour and bizarre campaign. These are the themes we need carrying us into the future, not Sanders’ outlandish rhetoric, and certainly not Donald Trump’s bigoted rhetoric.
Tonight is Super Tuesday. I hope, first of all, that Donald
Trump Drumpf loses every primary. Beyond that I hope Bernie Sanders leaves the race and endorses Hillary Clinton. If neither of these things happen, I’ll be expanding these arguments over the next few days.