A year ago, Hillary Clinton’s nomination was deemed to be inevitable. No one would have thought Clinton would spend months engaged in a hotly contested primary with a Democratic Socialist let alone lose nine states—some by large margins. In fact, many still believe Sanders actually won Iowa. Nevertheless, Clinton surrogates and many Democratic leaders, including President Obama, are now “suggesting” Sanders should drop out of the race so Clinton can focus on the general election.
These calls by Clinton surrogates are quite odd since Hillary herself refused to drop out until June in her contest with Barack Obama in 2008. For his part, Bernie Sanders says he has no intention of dropping out. In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Thursday, Sanders made that clear:
“The bottom line is that when only half of the American people have participated in the political process … I think it is absurd for anybody to suggest that those people not have a right to cast a vote. To suggest we don’t fight this out to the end would be, I think, a very bad mistake. People want to become engaged in the political process by having vigorous primary and caucus process. I think we open up the possibility of having a large voter turnout in November. That is exactly what we need.”
Pundits and pollsters agree with the narrative that Sanders has no chance of winning the nomination. Pundits have been wrong more than they have been right this election cycle, and pollsters totally got it wrong in Michigan. There is, in fact, a narrow path to the nomination for Sanders, but it depends on high turnout by young people and everything else going his way.
Nate Cohn wrote in the New York Times that the worst is over for Bernie Sanders and he should fare better over the second half of the primary season. He would need to win the remaining delegates by around a 58-42 percent margin. Polls show Sanders is clearly favored to exceed his target in six of the eight contests over the next month. That could give him momentum going in to other contests. But, he would need to win or keep it close and win California with its huge number of delegates.
Even if Sanders turns the tide, as it stands now he would still lose the nomination because of Super Delegates who are almost all supporting Hillary Clinton. However, if Sanders ends up winning most of the states outside the solid south, there will be great pressure on Super Delegates in those states to follow the will of the voters or face their wrath later on. This could lead to a contested convention on the Democratic side.
There are other more compelling reasons why Bernie Sanders should not quit. In fact, he should stay in all the way to the Democratic National Convention in July. The essence of Bernie’s campaign is to create a political revolution. One can do that even if they lose, but not if they quit. Sanders is more likely to get the Super Delegates in states and congressional districts he wins to switch if they must stand up at the Convention and vote rather than escape that moment of truth in a nomination by acclamation.
The chances of the Democrats holding the White House is greater if Sanders is the nominee. He does better in the polls against Trump and Cruz than Hillary Clinton. He would even turn red Arizona blue.
If Hillary is the nominee, her chances are much better if Sanders stays in all the way to the convention than if he is forced out by the establishment beforehand. His supporters are far more likely to vote for Clinton in that scenario than if Bernie is pushed out by the Democratic Party before all states have voted.
One needs to look at 1968 to see what happens when the Party establishment exercises its will behind closed doors and ignores millions of Democratic voters—many young idealistic first-time voters—who saw their hopes dashed at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. The result was riots and the election of Richard Nixon. Trump’s best path for victory could be through the Democratic Convention if it snubs millions of Sanders supporters in a manner that seems to be rigged. So, Sanders should not to quit the race. He has not lost yet.