It was on May 8, 2008, after the returns from Democratic primary results from North Carolina and Indiana had come in, when the late Tim Russert told viewers that the intense battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was over.
“We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it,” he said on MSNBC shortly after midnight Eastern time. “Those closest to her will give her a hardheaded analysis, and if they lay it all out, they’ll say: ‘What is the rationale? What do we say to the undeclared superdelegates tomorrow? Why do we tell them you’re staying in the race?’ And tonight, there’s no good answer for that.”
I remember the moment well, having just come home from seeing Radiohead begin their 2008 tour at the 1-800-Gary or whatever it was called back then out on I-4.
Ladies and gentleman, that moment happened last night in the Democratic race for president between Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Clinton’s overwhelming victory in the Empire State is being explained away by Sanders folks, because, well, that’s what you do when you’re on the losing side of a major election. Her nearly 16-percentage point victory (15.8 percent, officially) translated into 284,605 more votes than Sanders.
Democratic strategist Steve Schale lays out the impossible path that Sanders would have to get the nomination now.
Somewhat incredulously, Jeff Weaver, Sanders campaign manager, told MSNBC last night that even if Clinton wins all the delegates required to secure the nomination and leads the popular vote, the Sanders’ campaign would fight to flip superdelegates all the way to the convention. “It’s going to be an election determined by the superdelegates,” he said, adding that Clinton “did very, very well in New York doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing in these other states.”
Sanders should continue. Some folks (like Schale) say that Sanders should “land the plane” and come together to begin working to take down Donald Trump in November.
Others, like the NY Times editorial board, insist Bernie should stay in.
Sanders isn’t going away, not yet. It will be interesting to see how the fight continues. The bottom line is this: Clinton needs Sanders supporters, and indeed their energy, to have a chance in November. The Clinton folks can’t get heavy handed in trying to push him to quit.
Forget the surveys about November — Trump is bringing a large number of Republicans to the polls while participation in the Democratic primaries is down (even with all the energy that Sanders is generating). Democrats (and Hillary fans) are delusional if they think they have this in the bag.
In other news …
Carlos Lopez-Cantera was in Brandon yesterday, visiting a Cuban bakery to press the flesh with the real Floridians.
Bill Nelson is very happy with the passage of the FAA reauthorization bill, which he says does a number of positive things for airline passengers.
Hillsborough County Democrats convened on Monday to take a vote on whether or not to support Go Hillsborough, the transportation tax that may or may not be on the November ballot.
And you remember Joshua Black, don’t you, Pinellas County Republicans? The man who tweeted that President Obama should be hung is running for office again — this time for Sheriff vs. Bob Gualtieri.