Will Bernie bail out tomorrow night?

It was barely a month ago when tomorrow, June 7th, was being heralded as the big date on the Republican calendar. Back then, Trump was still in a fierce battle with Ted Cruz over every delegate which could be found and the experts on each news network were predicting that if The Donald was going to wrap up the nomination with 1,237 delegates, it would be by the slimmest of margins and it would all come down to California. My, what a difference a month makes.

Now California is looming large, but only for the Democrats, and even then it’s more symbolic than anything else. After a weekend romp in the Virgin Islands, Hillary Clinton needs less than two dozen more delegates in tomorrow’s contests to secure a majority of the pledged delegates to the convention in Philadelphia. (Superdelegates not withstanding, of course.) Since all of their primaries are handled proportionally, that won’t be much of a challenge since this is how many are on the menu:

  • California 172
  • Montana 27
  • New Jersey 51
  • New Mexico 24
  • South Dakota 29

So what happens tomorrow night when it’s all over but the crying? Bernie Sanders is still publicly vowing to fight on to the convention, but we’ve seen this movie a few too many times to take that for a given. On the GOP side, we heard similar speeches from Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich less than 24 hours prior to their respective exits. Is Bernie getting ready to bow to the inevitable at last?

Clinton’s team is acting as if they know something about it, with predictions that Sanders will move to unify the party after the polls close in California. (Washington Post)

Bernie Sanders should end his campaign and begin convincing supporters to line up behind Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee, Clinton said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Clinton said that in 2008, some supporters urged her to battle Barack Obama to the convention but noted that she decided to cede to Obama rather than fight because they shared similar policy goals and values. When this year’s primary season largely ends Tuesday, she said, “I expect Senator Sanders to do the same.”

That would enable the party, she added, “to go to the convention in a unified way.”

Sources inside the Sanders campaign are currently fighting over whether or not to hang it up and call it a day, according to the Wall Street Journal. But will he really go the party unity route before the last light goes out? I suppose it’s possible, but Sanders hasn’t been running a conventional campaign since day one. In most other scenarios we’d have seen him drop out already because the math is so daunting and he can’t have really expected to virtually shut out Clinton in the remaining contests. (He’d need almost 100% of the vote at this point to pull it off.) So why is he still hanging around?

Just to toss in my two cents, I’m not ruling out the possibility of Bernie calling it quits tomorrow night, but it’s far from a sure thing. Every week that goes by brings us one step closer to another important, but as yet unscheduled date. At some point, the FBI will finish their investigation and decide whether or not to recommend an indictment of Hillary Clinton and turn it over to the Justice Department for prosecution. Is it so crazy to think that Sanders is waiting for that shoe to drop and, if it happens, expecting the superdelegates to come along and beg him to save them from the sinking ship of Clinton? By now Bernie knows that he’s not going to be getting much out of the platform committee beyond what’s already on the table and he’ll just be viewed as an angry spoiler if he rides this train to the end of the line and Clinton gets the nod anyway. What does he have to lose at his age? This is his one grab at the brass ring and James Comey may still deliver the nomination to him with a bow tied around it.

My money, in a very small amount and by a slim margin, is on Sanders sticking around after tomorrow night. He’s not risking much and it’s a gamble which may pay off in a big way.