Bernie Sanders primary campaign has been over since Sunday's debate against Joe Biden. The low-energy back-and-forth between the two aging Democrats left many viewers with the distinct impression that Sanders might finally be sucking up to Biden in the hopes of a juicy assignment in his administration (since Trump's odds of being reelected will decline with every additional week millions of Americans go without a check).
Many of Sanders' most hard-core supporters aren't great with numbers, as we learned the other week, which is why it might take them a little while to figure out that the primary math is simply out of reach for Bernie. But we'd like to help.
Following Biden's string of victories last night in Florida, Illinois & Arizona last night - his string of victories seemed almost preordained - Biden's latest sweep of delegates has given him half of the roughly 2,000 delegates he needs to leave Milwaukee with the nomination. As Bloomberg explained, though the coronavirus outbreak will likely keep older voters (who overwhelmingly favor Biden to Sanders) away from the polls, the elderly often vote by absentee. And the fact that millions of college students are returning home to live with their parents in a scramble means many are missing out on primary voting.
But the biggest tailwind for Biden is the fact that times of crisis elicit a desire for a steady hand, an experienced manager with the skill to lead a major world power like the US through an unprecedented international crisis.
After all, the American health care system has already been destabilized by the outbreak: a 'revolutionary' rejiggering of the US healthcare system into something more akin to the NHS would disappoint millions.
The public health crisis could work to Biden’s advantage, as Democratic voters seek his experience as vice president over Sanders’s promise of a political revolution.
"If people were in a position where they were willing to take a risk, Bernie could have some appeal," said former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who has endorsed Biden. "But I think what they want now is reassurance, and they want someone who is experienced, someone who is mature."
But since five states including Ohio have delayed their primaries, Biden might not be able to mathematically preclude Sanders from winning the nomination until June. With the country in crisis, will Bernie Sanders listen to Democrats' pleas for him to drop out and allow the party to rally around its nominee during the crisis?
He's already given up on campaigning. In a video released by Sanders after last night's drubbing, he didn't even mention Biden's name.
The problem is - as Sanders alluded to last night - is that the geriatric socialist sees this crisis as an opportunity to win more converts to his ideology. Can't say we blame him: More economists using "the 'D' word", which is like throwing fuel on the fire of America's incipient socialist movement.
"Joe has won more states than I have. But here’s what we are winning. We are winning the ideological struggle,” the Vermont senator said, citing exit polls showing a majority of Democrats favor his Medicare-for-All health care plan. Sanders argues that the coronavirus pandemic makes his government-run health insurance plan even more essential.
So, will we see Sanders drop out on Wednesday, as some Democratic pundits have predicted? Once again, it seems Bernie Sanders is squandering an opportunity to bolster party unity and improve the Democrats' chances of winning - or possibly even demolishing - President Trump in November. We suspect that millions of Americans aren't exactly surprised.