What a difference five months makes. Back in January, before any of the votes were cast, Bernie Sanders was railing against the Democratic Party’s superdelegate system, claiming that it allowed the party bosses to circumvent the will of the voters. Now, having thoroughly lost to Hillary Clinton at the ballot box, Bernie Sanders is explicitly courting these same superdelegates and asking them to overturn the will of the voters in his favor.
The basic plan for Bernie at this point, as underlined by the Washington Examiner, is to use a victory in the California primary next week to convince the party bosses that they should vote for Bernie, the will of Democratic voters be damned:
A former political adviser to President Bill Clinton says there is “more than a theoretical chance” that Hillary Clinton will not be the Democratic nominee for president.
Douglas Schoen wrote in the Wall Street Journal late Tuesday that a Bernie Sanders win in California next week would remove the “inevitability” of Clinton’s campaign. That could force Democrats to realize that Clinton might be the weaker candidate in a general election.
“A Sanders win in California would powerfully underscore Mrs. Clinton’s weakness as a candidate in the general election,” he said. “Democratic super delegates — chosen by the party establishment and overwhelmingly backing Mrs. Clinton, 543-44 — would seriously question whether they should continue to stand behind her candidacy.”
Let’s set aside the plausibility of this scenario and instead look at what Bernie Sanders is actually attempting to do. He’s losing in votes cast (by several million), in pledged delegates (again, by a significant chunk), and he has no hope of reversing either of these facts, even with a convincing win next Tuesday. What he has now resorted to is asking the party bosses to save the Democratic party from its own voters, who have overwhelmingly chosen Hillary.
How would Bernie Sanders react if the roles were reversed? What would he be saying about the process he is attempting to put into place?
And for that matter, how would Hillary Clinton and her followers react if the Democratic party took this advice? Recall that in 2008, she actually beat Barack Obama in the popular vote total (if you include Michigan, which there is no reason not to do). She lost because of the Democratic party’s rules. Like a good soldier, she swallowed her pride and got on board with Obama under the assumption that this would not be allowed to happen to her again.
Now, she is beating Bernie decisively by any objective measure. If the party screws her again, does anyone think she will take that lying down? That she and her voters will actually forgive the Democratic party and vote for Bernie in the general? I don’t. Still, though, there’s quite a lot of popcorn eating value to be had at the upcoming Democrat convention, regardless of what happens in California.