To Bernie Sanders: The Improbability of Unicorns

I continue to be gobsmacked by watching Sanders and his surrogates insist that Sanders’ “momentum” ultimately will convince the Democratic Party’s super delegates to flip their support from Clinton to Sanders, which is conclusive proof that the Sanders campaign has succumbed to its own spin, smoked too much of its own dope, and bade farewell to all contact with reality.

I’m not saying this because I favor Clinton or oppose Sanders, but because – math.

While it’s true that “anything is possible,” as in, “it’s possible that unicorns exist in some exceedingly remote part of the world where mankind has yet to set foot,” now that Clinton lacks only about 50 delegates to secure the nomination, it is a near certainty is that Sanders will not be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.

The fantasy of flipping the super delegates is just that. Because facts:

  1. Sanders has done nothing but attack the super delegates and the entire Democratic primary system;
  2. Sanders not only has fallen farther and farther behind Clinton in the pledged delegate count, but he’s fallen some 3 million votes behind Clinton in the overall popular vote, and
  3. A majority of Democratic notables are heartily sick of Sanders’ willingness to damage Clinton in pursuit of his fever dream of winning the nomination.
  4. The super delegates are not going to ignore those facts, whatever horse race polls might show about how well Sanders — who’s never yet experienced the full force of negative advertising — might do against Trump in the fall.

So while it’s possible that a miracle could happen, just as it’s possible that unicorns exist somewhere, Clinton will have a good chance of beating Trump soundly in the general election, and she’ll have a chance of switching the Senate – and maybe the House – into the Democratic column.

Sanders now has only two realistic choices:

  1. He can continue to savage Clinton to no purpose but suppressing turnout among his followers and giving the GOP more juicy attack lines against her or
  2. He can pivot toward influencing the party platform and using a prime speaking role at the Democratic convention to unify the party in order to defeat Trump and turn Congress blue.

The first choice increases the frightening possibility that Trump may win the Presidency. It also endangers the probability of Democratic victories down ballot in the fall. The second would increase the probability of a Democratic President, a Democratic Senate, and maybe even a Democratic House. Were those things to happen, the achievement of Sanders’ and Clinton’s common legislative goals would be far, far more likely.

As the sports/crime writer/philosopher Damon Runyon once said, the race may not be always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet. Play the odds, Bernie. The improbability of unicorns is approaching 100%. If your policy goals are more important than your ego, play the odds.

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