It’s Over, Bernie

So, Bernie, I understand you’re going to “assess” your presidential campaign. Let me save you the trouble. In a word, it’s over. If this were a boxing match, the referee would’ve stopped it due to excessive pummeling. Trust me, I’ve seen enough sporting events in my day to know what a rout looks like, and Senator, you’re getting your ass handed to you.

As of this minute, Joe Biden has 1180 delegates to your 884. That’s a deficit of 296, just a smidgen under 300. As the final votes are tallied in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, that deficit will no doubt swell to well over 300. In fact, the only reason it isn’t over 300 already is because the Ohio governor, Mike DeWine, defied a judge’s ruling and closed all the polling stations in his state. If Ohioans had been allowed to vote yesterday you likely would’ve lost as soundly as you did in the other three states. If anything, you should probably thank your lucky stars that Georgia decided to postpone its primary next week because you’re trailing there by 40 points, as well. Hell, you’re even behind in Wisconsin, your favorite state not named Vermont. Starting to see a pattern here?

How bad are things, you ask? Well to put it in perspective, when Hillary Clinton bested you for the Democratic nomination in 2016, you finished 451 pledged delegates behind her. You’re well on your way to surpassing that number. The only thing that could prevent that from happening is if the Coronavirus forces the cancelation of the remaining primaries. And that’s not likely to occur. One way or another the people in those states are going to be heard from. And from the vote totals we’ve seen so far, I’d say they’re making their voices heard loud and clear.

Face it, Bernie, your revolution is kaput. Turns out it was never all that popular to begin with. This isn’t the GOP, where a grassroots movement like the Tea Party can take over the joint and transform it into its own image. We may be, as Will Rogers once observed, disorganized, but we ain’t batshit crazy. This isn’t Freedonia, my friend, even if at times it seemed as though you were doing your best impersonation of Rufus T. Firefly.

And here’s the scary thing: you almost got away with it. That’s right. As bizarre as it may seem, a month ago it looked as if your plan for winning the nomination with only 30 percent of the vote was going to succeed. The center lane of the party looked like a ten-car pile up on the L.I.E. in the middle of rush hour. Every Tom, Dick and Harriet not named Biden was vying to be the reasonable candidate that could stop you in your tracks. It clearly wasn’t working. While they were knocking themselves out, you were piling up delegates. I damn-near shit my pants after you won Nevada.

And then came South Carolina and Jim Clyburn’s endorsement of Biden, and like dominos, all the moderate Dems collectively did what Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Marco Rubio couldn’t bring themselves to do four years ago during the Republican primaries: they bowed out. Mike Bloomberg stubbornly hung on until after Super Tuesday, proving that a half billion dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to. I guess you were right about one thing, Bernie: money wasn’t going to buy the nomination.

Look, take my word for it: this country will never elect a self-described socialist for president. Never! Next to you, George McGovern looks like Bill Clinton. Think about it. Had you actually managed to pull it off and win the nomination, you would’ve suffered the same humiliating defeat Jeremy Corbyn did in the U.K. And unlike Americans, Britons are far more liberal in their views, so it’s quite possible your defeat would’ve been even more humiliating. I’m guessing somewhere between Bush-Dukakis and Reagan-Mondale.

Take a good look at how Biden is racking up the wins, Bernie. It isn’t just because of the African American vote, though to be honest that’s certainly a good chunk of it. He’s winning the suburban vote in droves, the same suburban vote, mind you, Democrats won in the 2018 midterms. In fact, Biden appears to be using the same playbook. Did you see the results in Michigan and Florida? You didn’t win a single county in both states. Four years ago, it was a different story. Hillary cleaned up in the cities and you were the suburban king.

It’s time to admit the obvious: a lot of the votes you received in 2016 were anti-Hillary votes more than they were pro-Bernie votes. I know it’s a tough pill to swallow, but numbers don’t lie. Apart from Millennials, there isn’t one demographic group that you are leading in. Not one. Okay, you want to say you’re winning among Hispanics? Fine, but the problem is that a majority of them are also Millennials, so I’m not sure that’s a winning argument. And even if it were, the fact is they aren’t turning out in the numbers you need to make this a close race. Maybe if you told them they were going to a Phish concert they might show up.

Okay, that’s a cheap shot, I know, but frankly I’m getting a little sick and tired of being lectured by a group of people who have no problem standing in line five hours to get the latest iPhone, yet can’t wait that long to exercise their basic right to vote. Even as a drunkard in my 20s, I still found the time to get up off my ass and pull a f*#king lever. And keep in mind I voted for two nominees – Mondale and Dukakis – that I knew in my heart were going to lose. The youth of today have no excuses.

Before we go any further, Senator, I want to make one thing crystal clear. I am not enamored of Joe Biden. He’s not the second coming of Barack Obama, despite being his veep for eight years. Hell, he’s not even the second coming of Bill Clinton. But he’s no Hillary. People actually like the guy. He doesn’t come across as smug and arrogant, like you do, nor polished and rehearsed, like the vast majority of politicians. Those gaffes that normally would’ve spelled disaster for him in years past, ironically make him look all that much more human. He’s the grandpa all of us wish we still had. And with what’s going on in the country these days, that could mean the difference between winning and losing in November. Given the chaos that surrounds this White House, there’s something to be said for a return to normal.

It’s time for you to be a team player for once in your life. Time for you to look at the overall big picture. If the goal is the removal of the sociopath in the Oval Office, then you know what you have to do. Too much is at stake to dick around any longer. There’s no path forward for you to win the nomination. Just look at the schedule. I bet you can’t find one state where you have a lead. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find one state where you aren’t trailing by double digits. The only thing you can possibly hope to accomplish by staying in the race is the one thing that, sadly, you’re very good at: sowing dissension within the ranks of the progressive movement.

Yeah, you’re a f#*king genius when it comes to that. You never met a lifeboat you couldn’t capsize. It’s your forte. You did it so well in 2016, you practically knee-capped Hillary coming out of the convention. True she didn’t exactly help herself by picking a running mate who was just as bland as she was in Tim Kaine. Maybe if she had chosen Elizabeth Warren, things would’ve turned out differently. Sadly, we’ll never know.

But what I do know is this: you have a golden opportunity to atone for your sins over the next few days. You can be the bigger man by crying uncle. Only you have the power to control the legions of Bernie Bros, many of whom are threatening to do what they did four years ago: stay home or vote for Trump. And don’t tell me they didn’t do that. You know they did. Stop making excuses for them. They are, after all, your supporters. Or should I say groupies.

Please don’t drag this out all the way to the convention, assuming we even have one. Don’t fracture this party any more than it already is over an agenda that you and I both know will never see the light of day. You’ve been in Washington for over 30 years. If at this point you still don’t know what’s possible and what isn’t, you’re more delusional than your supporters.

You have one decision to make. Either help the Democratic Party defeat Trump this November or forever be remembered as the man who all but guaranteed his reelection.

The ball is in your court, Bernie.

Author: Peter Fegan

Progressive but pragmatic. Lover of music, die-hard Giants' fan and reluctant Mets' fan. My favorite motto? I'd rather be ruled by a smart Turk than a dumb Christian.

What say you, the people?