After Tuesday’s clean sweep, Hillary Clinton has essentially locked up the Democratic nomination, and I write this as someone who once felt the Bern. After all, I am a liberal, Massachusetts college student who thinks weed should be legalized, public universities should be free (even though I don’t go to one), and Leo should have won an Oscar over a decade ago (unrelated but true). It’s tough for me to see everyone’s favorite uncle defeated by that distant family member who always comes to Thanksgiving with a gluten free casserole, old lady jokes, and a cool husband who occasionally hits on your sister. But alas, this is where we the Democrats have found ourselves.
However, there are still a few facts that could give the Bernie Sanders fans hope. The race is still young. There are several big primaries left and some of the upcoming states could favor Bernie. Bernie is just all around more likeable than Hillary Clinton. Yes, all of these are true but it still doesn’t change the fact that the number of Bill for First Dude signs will outnumber the Whatever-her-name-is Sanders for First Lady signs come November. While the math is still there for Senator Sanders to squeak out a win and continue his political revolution, it’s highly unlikely.
Unlike the Republican winner-take-all contests, the Democratic primaries and caucuses will continue to issue proportional delegates to candidates until the end of the election season. In normal person words, Bernie is shit out of luck unless he begins to “layeth the smacketh down,” as our patron saint/wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would say. While the Michigan results proved Bernie could win big states, he only won the Wolverine State by about one percentage point. Sure, we can chalk one up in the moral victory column for the Vermont senator, but it was really a tie since the candidates pretty much split the delegates. And in this race, ties are more Clinton victories than Sanders victories.
Since it’s March and the madness has begun we can think of it like this: it’s halftime and Hillary’s up by 30 points. Bernie can’t win by matching Hillary’s scoring in the second half. To stage a comeback, he would have to land some YUGGGE (as The Donald would say) blows and the other team would pretty much have to forget how to play the game. But because Clinton has been in the political sphere for 40 years, I don’t see her forgetting how to play politics in the near future. It would be like Coach K forgetting how to coach a motion offense: it just ain’t happening. A Clinton scandal could help Sanders’ chances but I’m pretty we’ve already seen every skeleton the Clinton closets have to offer.
Sanders’ fate was pretty much sealed Tuesday when he lost to the self-proclaimed “pantsuit aficionado” in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and Missouri (which was really a tie, but a technical and moral W for Clinton). Hillary’s dominant performance in Florida could be attributed to a 1985 video shown in the recent Miami Debate, in which Uncle Bernie claims Fidel Castro wasn’t all that bad. Yes, that Fidel Castro. The one who welcomed Soviet missiles 90 miles off the Florida coast and executed thousands during his decades in power. There are a lot of reasons this video could have resonated with Florida voters, 15% of whom identify as Latino. For starters they were likely confused as to how Bernie Sanders still looked like a crazy grandpa in a video that’s 30 years old. Secondly, and probably slightly more importantly, a lot of Cuban Floridians have very bad memories of the Castro dictatorship. So the Florida loss makes sense. However, the Clinton victories outside of the Sunshine State were surprising. After Michigan, Bernie expected to do well in rust belt states like Illinois and Ohio but Hillary had solid victories in both. The Sanders economic message seemed to be perfect for these states but the voters disagreed Tuesday.
Bernie supporters shouldn’t fear a Clinton third term. Sure she lacks Bernie’s arm waving enthusiasm, authentic Brooklyn accent, and general likability, but she’s got some good traits too. They’re just a little harder to see and a lot harder to hear. But in all seriousness, Hillary may be the perfect moderate politician to navigate the current partisan waters of Washington. Her more practical stances could stimulate economic growth and help us solve some of the most pressing issues facing our country.
Bernie promises to stick around until the convention – which he should – but I don’t see Uncle Bern winning this one. Sorry to all the Bernie fans but we lost this one. If #NeverTrump means casting a vote for Hillary count me in. Bernie for Labor Secretary 2016 maybe?