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.