Bernie Sanders has yet to endorse Hillary Clinton, even though she is clearly going to be the Democratic nominee, and even though Sanders has said he will work with Clinton to “make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly.”
Paul Waldman wonders just who will care when Sanders finally hands over his endorsement.
One of the things Sanders had been holding out for was the writing of the Democratic Party platform, which he hoped would represent his views. The platform committee has finished working on the draft of the platform, and it looks to be the most progressive one the party has ever written, including calling for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment forbidding federal funds from going to abortions, a $15 an hour minimum wage, an expansion of Social Security, and the elimination of the death penalty. But because Sanders didn’t get absolutely every last thing he wanted (it’s almost as if somebody else won the party’s primaries!), he now cites the platform as another reason he can’t yet give Clinton his endorsement.
Not that too many people will actually read it (or that Clinton, if she becomes president, will be bound by it one way or the other), but I’m pretty sure that if most Sanders voters looked at the platform, they’d say, “Gee, that all sounds pretty good.” Nevertheless, there will be that vocal few who say it’s yet more evidence that anyone who supports Clinton is a Wall Street stooge. Liberal hero Elizabeth Warren got that reaction from an angry few when she endorsed Clinton, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sanders himself, whenever he finally does make his endorsement, will hear that he has sold out his own revolution.
But how many Sanders supporters are there who won’t decide to vote for Clinton until Bernie says it’s OK to do so? The number gets smaller every day. And if he waits long enough, he could find that almost none of them are still waiting with him.
Waldman’s article is titled, “The Last Berniebro,” which also happens to be the intended audience of Nate Cohn’s rebuttal to the exit poll conspiracy theory that Sanders was cheated out of the nomination. Cohn doesn’t take those allegations seriously because he knows the many ways exit polls can be flawed, including:
- Differential nonresponse, in which the supporters of one candidate are likelier to participate than those of another candidate. Exit polls have limited means to correct for nonresponse, since they can weight only by visually identifiable characteristics. Hispanic origin, income and education, for instance, are left out.
- Cluster effects, which happen when the precincts selected aren’t representative of the overall population. This is a very big danger in state exit polls, which include only a small number of precincts. As a result, exit polls have a larger margin of error than an ordinary poll of similar size. These precincts are selected to have the right balance of Democratic and Republican precincts, which isn’t so helpful in a primary.
- Absentee voters aren’t included at all in states where they represent less than 20 percent or so of the vote.
For the most part, the Sanders faithful have abandoned these conspiracy theories and shifted focus to defeating Trump. I’ve seen it in my personal life and on social media: those nasty flare-ups between the camps have been entirely extinguished.
Now is the time for party unity; and as Waldman points out, Sanders supporters are flocking to Clinton. Whatever lasting effect Sanders hoped to have on the Democratic Party dwindles with every #FeelTheBern tweet that becomes #ImWithHer. Now that the Democratic platform is all but finalized, it’s hard to say that it even matters whether or not Sanders endorses Clinton.
Without an audience, Sanders is just a man with a dream, yelling into the abyss.