At the debate, Bernie Sanders sealed the deal with a thunderous “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.” That rendered the issue officially off-limits to all Democrats. File closed. End of story. Of course, it will be featured in the general election, but we’re talking here about her getting the nomination.
In gratuitously granting her absolution, Sanders garnered points for high-mindedness. But he’d already cornered the high-mindedness market. Sanders was right to call this move dumb politics. His declaration simply and definitively conceded the race to Clinton. Leo Durocher said nice guys finish last. Sanders will finish second, which in this case is the same thing.
Clinton won the debate because it didn’t change the dynamic. It froze the race, and she’s far in the lead. It doesn’t matter that her lead has shrunk from 50 points to 20. Twenty points is a landslide.