Should he lose the nomination, Bernie will automatically support Hillary Clinton as he promised to do, but his supporters will not. They are not bound by the promise that Bernie made when he entered the race, and Hillary represents everything that the Berners are against: SuperPACs, Wall Street donations and above all Establishmentarianism.
Indeed, Clinton’s pre-ordained anointment by the Establishment is driven home each time a news report counts the 400+ Superdelegates that pledged themselves to Hillary before the race even started. And depending on how the convention plays out, the Democratic Establishment may appear to be villainous and corrupt to most Bernie supporters.
Bernie always starts his speeches by saying that it is “too late for Establishment politics and Establishment economics.” That is his THEME, that is his MESSAGE. A message is a very powerful thing and for Sanders supporters, being against the Establishment is, in many respects, their main reason for supporting Bernie.
It will be very difficult if not impossible for people like me to suddenly do a 180 about face and support the very thing we have been campaigning against for over a year. And for Bernie it is a very tricky argument to make: “Hey, you know those things I have told you to be against all these months? Well, now I am asking you to support them.” Bernie will not say this. He cannot say this and maintain his brand of authenticity and his call for a “Political Revolution”.
THAT is why Bernie is pushing so hard to get a Democratic Party Platform that incorporates his main policy positions. If the DNC adopts Bernie’s main issues into the Party platform, then Bernie can make the case that Hillary, as leader of the Democratic Party, will represent those issues and policies that Bernie has fought for, because the Democratic Party platform says so.
In other words: don’t think of it as a vote for Hillary, think of it as a vote for a party platform that is progressive and embraces Bernie’s values.
Whether this will work, I don’t know. But by fighting Bernie over the DNC committee assignments, the DNC seems to be working once more against their own interests. They should accommodate Bernie to the greatest extent possible in terms of fairness and in terms of adopting progressive policy planks in the platform. This will give Sanders the wherewithal and the argument to transform his movement into a pro-Democrat (and thus pro-Hillary) cohort in November.
Of course, this assumes a modicum of intelligence on the part of the DNC, so it will probably not play out like this at all.
EuroYankee is a dual citizen, US-EU. He travels around Europe, writing on politics, culture and such. He pays his US taxes so he gets to weigh in on what is happening in the States.