A few months ago, Bernie Sanders was one of my favorite people. Sure, he was running for the Democratic nomination against the love of my life, but he had a lot of policies I could get behind, an amusing tone, plenty of heart.
Now he’s the grandpa who’s the last one at the dinner party, and he needs to leave so we can do the dishes.
Last night, Sanders gave a statement in which he alluded to his refusal to concede the nomination to Clinton by saying, “defeating Donald Trump cannot be our only goal. We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become.”
Au contraire, mon ami. I would go so far as to say defeating Donald Trump needs to be our primary goal until November. And the only way you, Bernie Sanders, can help with that is to give your support to your erstwhile opponent.
And maybe consider putting the Twitter hashtag #OurRevolution, where defeated Bernie supporters insist their campaign is not over, to less defeatist use.
Hillary Clinton is obviously going to be the Democrats’ nominee for President. Contrary to what Sanders and his hardcore supporters seem to think, in politics, you absolutely do need to know when to quit.
The time for Sanders to quit was easily over a month ago, probably after…well, I’ll let you fill in the primary you think clinched the nomination for Hillary. We each have a different point where we draw the line, but we all know it happened. Everyone except Bernie knows it happened.
Sanders’ refusal to concede is especially embarrassing, I must note, in the wake of the Orlando shooting. The reason I say this is that his Twitter (and other media) still reads like that of a Presidential primary candidate, but in the worst way possible. Recognizable by its oversimplified declarative statements, which are not about policy but rather about what Should and Should Not happen in our country, Sanders’ Twitter has been particularly awkward this week. The Senator, whose record on voting for gun control is abysmal for such an otherwise dedicated liberal, has sententiously tweeted statements like “We can’t allow guns to fall into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them” and “The weapon used in Orlando was legally purchased after a background check. Assault weapons like it should be outright banned.” While it’s true that in the last year or two he has voted against the sale of assault weapons, his longer Senate voting record shows a strong bias in favor of under-regulated citizen ownership of guns; in other words, he contributed to the trend that led to this event and now wishes to ally himself with those who made genuine efforts to control civilian gun ownership throughout their careers.
And he scorns Hillary Clinton for pandering. What exactly is he doing when he tweets, “If there is any silver lining to the terrible tragedy in Orlando, it is for us to bring people together to prevent violence of all kinds.” This from a man who voted to allow loaded guns in national parks and against mandatory background checks at gun shows. This is the kind of embarrassing hypocrisy Sanders could have avoided exposing by dropping out of the race when his number was up.
Bernie’s use to the Democrats was always as a gadfly, a voice pushing us to the left. The longer he stays in this doomed race, shouting about the Democrats’ primary process as if that was the reason he didn’t win, the more he compromises the ideals we admire in him. Bernie, bro, just stop.
I propose we open a retirement home for loud politicians that, to quote Shakespeare, o’erween their purpose. In this utopic place, Bernie Sanders and Barney Frank can put aside their differences—or, rather, their similarities—and play golf together into eternity.