How can we miss you if you won’t go away?
Who knew that in the age of Kardashianism, a white-haired curmudgeon would charm us to the point where 28,000 people would turn out to hear you in Brooklyn without any sports team in the vicinity?
Who knew that college campuses would go nuts over a guy in bad suits with arms akimbo raging about 1-percenters?
Who knew that you would provoke some honest moments (well, a few) of human emotion in Hillary Clinton?
After your loss in the New York primary, you and your campaign gurus swore that you’d press on to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.
But, at this point, isn’t it all about ego, not message?
Bernie, we have loved your time on stage. We salute your energy and enthusiasm and dedication. But it’s time to go.
Why? We’re facing the Trumpster. Hey, man, this is serious!
Bernie Sanders became so enamored of his teeny-tiny chance of being president that he was convinced all the polls were wrong. He assured everyone he would surprise the world and win Clinton’s home base state. If he didn’t really believe that, then he lied. If he did believe it, he was delusional.
Sanders gave us something Clinton desperately needed – a rival for the nomination she thought she deserved and didn’t think she needed to fight for. Sanders showed us aspects of Clinton that we needed to see – she is moderately passionate but still hasn’t fully honed her political skills. He showed us that we are yearning for someone who articulates a vision and conviction for change that she does not have. And probably will never have.
But Clinton is far better than Donald Trump, whose path to the GOP nomination looks more and more likely unless all hell breaks out in Cleveland. And Sanders, a self-described independent and socialist, does not have a realistic shot at being president.
Sanders, who began his campaign in a quixotic frenzy to be heard, is now at that point where his once-astute political instincts are failing. When he began this race, he realized he had no serious shot at the White House. But he has been seduced by the adoring masses who flock to hear a message that no other national politicians have dared say – the rich and powerful are getting richer and more powerful because Washington not only permits it but survives on perpetuating it.
Sanders has been a powerful and compelling messenger, but he is not a change agent. He can urge upon us the wisdom and necessity of change, but he cannot make it happen. He would have no chance of bending a divided Congress to his will. And he has failed to come up with realistic strategies to achieve his Utopia.
Sanders has now acquired an almost pathetic desperation in his attacks on Clinton, insinuating campaign malpractices and failures of character that simply are not there. He had a chance to go after her on her bizarre decision to use a private server for her emails as secretary of state but refused to do so in a moment that seemed statesmanlike and chivalrous, but to political operatives, was a grave mistake.
There is little to be gained by Sanders’ ongoing quest to be president. His campaign speeches now all sound alike. The message has resonated (with the true believers and those eager for retribution against the haves). The young and frustrated who have flocked to him will only be further disillusioned and decide to opt out of the political process as it becomes more clear he is tilting at windmills, fighting a juggernaut he can’t win against – choose your metaphor for a hopeless cause.
Bernie, thank you, but goodbye. We look forward to your speech in Philadelphia at the end of July but it will not be a speech accepting the nomination of your party. Go back to the Senate and do good work. Your country needs you and your raspy, passionate voice.
And when you finally campaign for Clinton, go back on “Saturday Night Live.” A little more lively levity in this election; a little less tendentious Trump nonsense.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at email@example.com.
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