No, you drop out: Why all of Bernie's rivals are stubbornly staying in the race

To start, none of the candidates want to get out before any of their peers, if they can still conceive of some sliver of a path to victory. No one apart from Sanders has an especially convincing case to make about what his or her victory would look like — and each camp acknowledges that the party isn’t split into clear pro- and anti-Sanders lanes like many pundits imagine. After all, the Vermont senator is widely popular in the party, so he would likely continue to pick up a substantial share of support from any candidates who stepped aside. Still, all the campaigns are convinced they are the one that’s best positioned to take on Sanders one-on-one. Some of the Biden donors, for example, told the Bloomberg aides calling to scold them that the former mayor is hardly one to talk if he’s accusing Biden of helping Sanders…

“People have this idea — and Sanders stokes this — that there’s a Democratic establishment that’s meeting and figuring these things out. [The truth is] there’s a bunch of people who have different interests,” one top party operative explained after Sanders’s wide margin of victory in Nevada became clear. The only pressure being exerted right now is informal, through statements made on cable news or to reporters. For example, many strategists have sought to highlight the point made by former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on MSNBC Saturday night: It’s time for each of the candidates to define for themselves what their realistic path to victory looks like. But, of course, that’s not much of a political-pressure campaign.

What about the possibility that some party leader could seriously influence any candidate’s ability to stay in the race? “The only people it could be, in theory, are Obama, Schumer, and Pelosi,” the operative continued. “They have the stature to do it.” But there’s less than no indication that they will do so — or would even consider it — or that the candidates would even respect any effort to push them aside. The former president, for one, has made it clear to the campaigns that he won’t weigh in.

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