A couple of months ago, I had this reaction moments after Bernie and Hillary wrapped up a South Carolina town hall:
I meant it then and I still mean it now.For many, Bernie will be a folk hero.— Hillary HQ (@Hillary_HQ) February 24, 2016
For everyone, Hillary will be a president.
That town hall occurred in the wake of Clinton’s crucial win in Nevada and with landslides looming in South Carolina and several Super Tuesday states, so it was already becoming clear where the race was ultimately headed. That night I once again saw a man who was a powerful spokesman for crucial issues of our day...and a woman who was going to be our next president.
A smart, competent, tough, progressive and historic Democratic president.
Some people don’t believe me when I say I’ve liked Bernie for many years, but it’s absolutely true. Even though I’ve always steadfastly believed that Hillary would be the best possible president, I attentively listened to his entire announcement from Burlington as well as another big rally speech shortly thereafter. At that time, I didn’t think he would be a real threat to my candidate (boy was I wrong) but I was definitely interested in what he had to say. Because I liked him.
And by the way...even when it was clear that he was making a real run for it late last summer, I was still posting stuff like this.
Since Sanders entered the race, my main problem really wasn’t with him but rather the slash-and-burn campaign against my staunchly Democratic candidate propagated by a lot of his supporters online. For instance, if I never see another misleading chart comparing a Bernie “perfect score” Sanders to Hillary “Bush 2.0” Clinton, it will be way too soon. Over the course of the past year, we simply haven't seen near that level of vitriol aimed at Sanders from Clinton supporters. Maybe it’s because we liked him?
Recent negativity from the senator himself (particularly the whole “she’s unqualified” thing) have certainly put my long-running fanship of him to the test, but I don’t expect these feelings to last. As I clearly remember from the ‘08 Democratic primary, things can get unexpectedly overheated when the stakes get really high, but it doesn’t mean that the opposing candidate is no longer one of the good guys.
Ultimately, we’re all part of the same progressive team and we will win or lose our fight for the future together. But we have now reached a key pivot point in the 2016 race.
As expected, and as his own campaign has now acknowledged, the past two Tuesdays have effectively put the nomination out of reach for Bernie Sanders. That’s the bad news for him, but here’s the very good news: After doing everything in his power to help Hillary defeat the Republican nominee (as he promises to do), the movement that Bernie has built will go beyond one man or even one election.
What does that mean for the senator, specifically? Nothing but good stuff, if you ask me...
Bernie Sanders will likely remain in the Senate for at least nine more years, where his influence on policy will increase exponentially.
Bernie Sanders will write one hell of a book about this election and his lifelong causes, and millions of people will read it and take it to heart.
Bernie Sanders will continue to inspire a whole generation to take up his decades-long fight for economic equality, and as a result he’ll be a political rock star of the highest order for the rest of his life.
Bernie Sanders will become an influential folk hero for future generations of progressives long after he’s gone...changing the course of our nation and the world in the process.