So far on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton has won contests in South Dakota, New Mexico and New Jersey, while Bernie Sanders had won the North Dakota caucuses and Montana. California is still outstanding.
California finally got called about 6:15 this morning. It went 56-43 for her and was never seriously in play as the returns came in. Sanders was scheduled to address his supporters in Santa Monica at midnight, but ...
The Vermont senator arrived almost an hour late ... The crowd was as frenzied as ever and hung on his every word. Sanders basked in the adulation, with much of the rally made up of Sanders standing and shaking his head because he was unable to speak over his cheering supporters.
He was reflective.
“It has been one of the most moving moments of my life to be out throughout this state in beautiful evenings and seeing thousands of people coming out, people who are prepared to stand up and fight for real change in this country,” Sanders said.
So the path ahead still looks a little ... winding. Rocky even, maybe.
Sanders, who spoke with Obama on Tuesday night, will meet with the president at the White House on Thursday. He also has a meeting planned with Senate minority leader Harry Reid, a Clinton backer.
Also on Thursday, Sanders will rally supporters in Washington, D.C., in preparation for next Tuesday’s final Democratic primary here.
And Sanders has said that he will at some point return to Vermont to "assess" the direction of his campaign.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that Sanders will be laying off a significant number of staffers. And Politico released an embarrassing report detailing the inner strife of what looks like the final days of a losing campaign.
Pretty ugly. Recriminations galore, as always, on the morning after defeats. Chris Kofinis hits the right notes in this piece titled "Clinton hits magic number, here's why Bernie won't step aside":
Behind the scenes, emails and texts will undoubtedly flood top Sanders advisors, surrogate intermediaries will be used to carry messages to Sanders himself, and public pronouncements will be made by a host of political insiders, all in an attempt to prod, kick, or push Sanders out of the race (nicely, of course). Soon the chatter will begin: When will he endorse? When will he rally his supporters behind Clinton? Doesn't he realize how he is hurting her, not to mention emboldening Donald Trump? Etc., etc.
Maybe it will work, and Sanders will see the light, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Sanders to quit.
Tuesday night is only the beginning – if not for Sanders, at least for his supporters.
While it is easy to believe that this is about the 2016 nomination – it is not. Sanders can do the math. He knows it is over. He knew it was over months ago, unless one truly believes that superdelegates will somehow change course at the convention (and, short of an act of god they won't). So, you may ask, why does he keep pushing for something he can't have? Maybe because it's about something much bigger than this one election.
At 74, Sanders might not be of the fortitude to keep leading what's left of his revolution. But as with most revolutions, who do you trust to take over?
If you listen to what Sanders is saying and has said throughout this primary season, this is about a revolution. And real revolutions only end when things have dramatically changed (i.e. those who revolt win) or when they are crushed by the powers that be.
Well, we are far from Sanders-like revolutionary change, yet the movement is far from crushed, so that leaves only one option – a revolution that needs fuel to grow.
While pledged and superdelegate math has foiled Sanders' 2016 presidential ambitions, what his campaign has sparked, he is determined to see continue. It will not simply be absorbed by a Clinton campaign, or appeased by a convention speech. Right or wrong, Sanders and his supporters want the party to move far to the left. And, if the goal is to move the Democratic Party to the left, that campaign has only just begun.
While the party hasn't gone "full Sanders," it's headed more to the left than it is to the center. From trade issues to the minimum wage, the party has moved noticeably more to the left now that it was twelve months ago.
Indeed, he's accomplished -- at least until Clinton pivots right -- all that was believed he could. And quite a bit more. For one thing, he changed the paradigm on how presidential campaigns can be funded. (Vox lists four more ways.)
Does anyone really think this movement will now end on Tuesday?
Going forward, the huge challenge for Clinton is to embrace what Sanders is speaking about, not just to whom he is speaking to. In fact, in every political Democratic focus group my firm has conducted since 2015, Sanders' message moved people because it spoke to the economic anxiety people truly feel and the dramatic change they want – and that was true even among most focus group participants who supported Hillary Clinton.
In the coming weeks, the Clinton campaign must aggressively seek to tap this emotion and energy that has been unleashed. They can't take it for granted, even if it's logical to assume that most Sanders voters prefer her to Trump. Can they completely appease those who wholly believe in Sanders' vision of revolutionary change? Maybe, but probably not quickly. The most resolute Sanders voters will not be truly appeased unless the Democratic Party dramatically changes and speaks to their vision for the country and the world.
Regardless of when Sanders drops out, his supporters have only begun their fight to change the Democratic Party. And make no mistake: Sanders' supporters, and the others who want this "revolution," will be there watching and waiting to make sure that change happens – even if Bernie Sanders is in the U.S. Senate, and Hillary Clinton is in the White House.
If Hillary picks Elizabeth Warren as running mate, be assured that there has been a real impact made by the Sanders run. If she picks a Latino, the 2016 race galvanizes around the swelling opportunity that caucus presents for the Democratic party in future elections. I think she'll stick to that, but am less inclined to think the choice is named Castro. They're still too green for national politics (and much too conservative for my palate and certainly that of the Berners who might be on board with Warren).
Does Sanders lead the parade over to the Greens, or some other progressive party, perhaps one he starts himself outside the duopoly? Don't think so. His supporters might go that direction anyway, but he won't be pushing them.
So as we watch and wait for these developments to unfold over the next five months, Sanders gets to endure the second round of ad hominem from the poor sports among the winners. As long as he's bothering them to some degree, be it minor or major, I can be happy.
Agitation remains the order of my day.
Update: Mother Jones has a nice look back at how we got to this point.