Team Sanders has offered every excuse in the book for why Bernie is losing: A primary schedule that front loaded the deep south, voter fraud, superdelegates, super PACs, the DNC, the “establishment,” a rigged system, he wasn’t really trying in some states, because Black voters don’t know what’s best for them, because poor people don’t vote. All of these excuses have been debunked. The latest excuse is closed primaries (pushed in recent days by Jane Sanders)—but this, too, has now been discredited.
The latest talking point Bernie Sanders, his staff, and his surrogates have been peddling to try to explain why he’s lost, to try to claim the system is rigged, and to try to delegitimize Hillary Clinton’s victory, is that closed primaries are undemocratic—and that if Independent voters had been allowed to participate, he would have won.
Vox crunched the numbers and it turns out that, while Bernie’s fortunes would have been slightly better had Independents been able to participate in the small number of closed primaries so far, he “would have won 41 more delegates than he currently has. Clinton is currently leading Sanders by 293 delegates (without even counting the superdelegates).”
Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight compares the Republican Primary rules with the Democratic Primary rules, and finds that Hillary’s pledged delegate lead would triple under the GOP rules: “The Democrats’ delegate allocation rules are more ‘fair’ than the GOP’s rules in the sense that vote shares are translated into delegate shares more faithfully and uniformly… If the Democrats used Republican allocation, Clinton would have wrapped up the nomination long, long ago.”
Another talking point bites the dust.
Bernie’s campaign has run out of excuses. The Democratic primary system is not “rigged” in Hillary’s favor. There are no grand conspiracies.
The plain truth is that what happened is the most basic story in politics: Someone wins and someone loses.
Bernie often opens his speeches by recounting how his candidacy was a long shot. How he was the underdog, with very little national name recognition and lacking the powerhouse fundraising capacity of his opponent. He boasts about how they have surpassed all expectations.
All of these things are true. He has had extraordinary success, and congratulations to him for it.
But his ubiquitous tale of his longshot candidacy must now complete its arc with some honesty about how long odds often don’t pay out. It was an uphill battle, and he didn’t quite make it to the zenith.
There’s no shame in that. There is, however, shame in continuing to insist that he is losing for any other reason than because his campaign simply didn’t resonate with as many primary voters.
At this point, Bernie needs to stop making excuses and say these words: Hillary Clinton is beating us fair and square. It’s the right thing to do.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)