Attempts by nervous Democrats to get Bernie Sanders to back down after the chaotic scene in Nevada last weekened seem to have backfired. A report by the New York Times published Wednesday evening says Sanders is now focused on winning California so he can arrive at the Democratic national convention with maximum political power:
After sounding subdued if not downbeat about the race for weeks, Mr. Sanders resumed a combative posture against Mrs. Clinton, demanding on Wednesday that she debate him before the June 7 primary in California and highlighting anew what he asserted were her weaknesses against Mr. Trump…
While Mr. Sanders says he does not want Mr. Trump to win in November, his advisers and allies say he is willing to do some harm to Mrs. Clinton in the shorter term if it means he can capture a majority of the 475 pledged delegates at stake in California and arrive at the Philadelphia convention with maximum political power.
The kicker is that even Clinton’s camp admits he might be able to pull it off:
Privately, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers said Mr. Sanders could win California but emphasized their confidence that Mrs. Clinton would still win the nomination. She now has a total of 2,293 pledged delegates and superdelegates; she needs 90 more to win the nomination, although superdelegates can shift their support up to the convention. Mr. Sanders has 1,533 pledged delegates and superdelegates.
As I pointed out yesterday, this is a nightmare for Democrats. The reason so many party elders–Harry Reid, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Barbara Boxer–have been leaning on Sanders after the events in Nevada last weekend was to pressure him to dial things back, i.e. to get his supporters ready for a smooth hand-off over to Hillary Clinton at the convetion. To their dismay, Sanders is instead ramping up and refusing to guarantee he will ask his delegates to support Clinton.
And that determination by Sanders to come screaming into the convention at full tilt is what has Senator Feinstein worried we could see a replay of 1968.