So, those of us who don’t believe in fairies can all agree: the 2016 presidential election will be a matchup of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

That Clinton will win the Democratic nomination is now about as certain as anything gets in American national politics. For Sanders to have a shot at matching her tally of elected convention delegates (forget about Clinton’s huge lead in super-delegates) Sanders would have to win 58% of the remaining delegates to be elected.   That could be accomplished only with the intercession of fairies.

Sanders must know this, so sooner or later–probably sooner–he needs to confront his dilemma: how best, now, to further his cause? Naturally he wants, and has every right to expect, a major presence at the Democratic convention, with corresponding impact on the party platform. More than that, he wants his political revolution to continue beyond 2016. One way to pursue those objectives is to continue his campaign, holding out the chimeric hope that he might still be his adopted party’s nominee.   That would mean continuing to collect donations and deploying the labors of large numbers of volunteers on what amount to false pretenses. Or, he could acknowledge that Clinton is the presumptive nominee and stop fundraising but ask nevertheless that his supporters continue to work and turn out to vote for him in the remaining primaries. I think the second would be the more admirable course, but, human nature being what it is (and Bernie is, after all, human) he will probably choose the first.

OK, maybe you don’t actually have to believe in fairies to cling to the remote hope that Trump can be stopped at the GOP convention, but we are talking about very long odds. I wish the anti-Trump forces luck, but, as I said in my last post, the brokered convention scenario—essential if Trump is to be stopped—involves too much wishful thinking to be very plausible.

As disgraceful and embarrassing as Trump’s success is, I reiterate that it is not a cause for despair. The latest Wall Street Journal /NBC poll confirms my earlier point that Trump is the most unpopular politician in the country. He has now set the record for the highest net unfavorability rating in the poll’s history. (Hillary does none too well herself, but far, far better than the Donald.)   It’s easy to overlook that Trumpmania is actually a fairly limited phenomenon, reflecting the intense, angry bitterness of a relatively small segment of the population that happens to be heavily concentrated in the Republican primary electorate. * There is anecdotal evidence that Trump does have appeal to some normally Democratic blue-collar workers, but polling data indicates that the great bulk of his support is with low-information voters (I love that euphemism) who usually vote Republican in any case. The country hasn’t yet gone completely crazy.


*That is not to say that that anger and bitterness have no grounding whatever in legitimate grievances, but that would be a subject for another post.





  1. Elliot Linzer March 16, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Today(Wednesday), Trump threatened violence if he is denied the nomination at the Republican convention. He is looking more and more like a fascist each day.

    While Sanders’s campaign has gotten much further than any of us would have expected at the beginning, I am troubled by the fact that he has not built any sort of an ongoing organization, even in Vermont. When he moved from the HofR to the Senate, he was not succeded by another socialist, but by a traditional Democrat. Can you name another socialist in Vermont now?

    • tonygreco March 16, 2016 at 3:43 pm


      Good observations. I have often voiced the hope that Sanders’ campaign will lay the basis for future political activism, but I can’t say that I have any concrete reason to believe that it will.

  2. Jeremy Graham March 17, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    I would agree that Hilary is a likely result. I don’t agree that she is the only possible result. Where Sanders stands now is comparable to where Obama stood against Hilary at the same point in the cycle. In any case, I wish you wouldn’t use contemptuous wording. Its hard enough to come up with some constructive thoughts even without it, and it isn’t helping.

    • tonygreco March 18, 2016 at 3:10 pm


      I just re-read my post, and I don’t see anything that expresses contempt for anybody. I do think it unrealistic to continue to hold out hope for Bernie’s nomination. It is not correct that he stands comparably to where Obama stood at this point in 2008. Obama already had a significant delegate lead over Clinton by mid-March, though not as large as Clinton’s current lead over Sanders.

  3. Judy Robinson March 18, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    It’s frustrating to me to see how little attention is being paid to the legitimate grievances of Trump supporters by people in the Democratic party. These people get dismissed and ignored in part because of their racism and hatefulness, but also, I think, for class reasons. To the extent that they are the people who are no longer able to make a decent middle-class living through construction, factory, or farm work, I think they DO have a very legitimate gripe.

    Another indication of the depth of trouble they’re in is that this is probably also the part of the population (white males in their 30’s and 40’s, HS education or less)that has an unnaturally high death rate, due to suicide and various addictions. Rather than blame them for their “bad behavior”, we should be looking at the no-win position they’re stuck with, in the nation’s current economic life.

    Both Bernie and Hilary have come out against the TPP, but I don’t see much else that seems to recognize the urgency of these people’s needs (as well as those of individuals of any ethnic group for whom “good” jobs, requiring more education, are an unrealistic dream.)

    Tony, I hope you will devote another post to this important topic.

    • tonygreco March 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm


      Very good and important observations, with which I agree completely. As I hinted, I am thinking of doing a post on this topic.

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