It has been two days since Bernie Sanders tragically endorsed Hillary Clinton. I say tragic because it was not supposed to happen. Not yet. Sanders endorsed Hillary, saying she would be an outstanding president, all while appearing very angry, upset, and frustrated. There was no glimmer in his eyes. There was no fighting spirit in his voice. There was only a shell of a man, sweating profusely, gripping the sides of a podium as if his life depended on the words that were coming out of his mouth.
I've watched his rallies. I've seen the fighting spirit of Bernie Sanders. I've seen him smile and laugh along with the crowds as he spoke. I've watched him fire up his supporters, his voice often hoarse from speaking nearly non-stop, and a sense of hope dominated. His defiance of the status quo also gave us hope that we, too, could fight the power.
And then he endorsed her. Two weeks before the convention, before his delegates could have a chance to travel to Philadelphia, or even participate in the nominating process. He chose to endorse her. I felt the air deflate from my lungs.
The big question isn't why. He'd always said he'd endorse the nominee. No.
The question we're all asking ourselves is "Why endorse her now?"
Previously, I wrote that Bernie would lose his credibility if he were to endorse Clinton on Tuesday. I refrained from penning any thoughts on his endorsement until now because I needed time to process what happened. I needed time for my feelings to run the gamut, to settle. I needed a clearer head to analyze the information I was presented with.
Of course, I'm mad. I'm angry. I felt as though he betrayed us all. How could he endorse Hillary?
The man who spent more than 50 years fighting against establishment politics, racism, economic inequality, simply gave up in a very public, humiliating way. That's a bitter pill to swallow. He diverged from the non-violent playbook of protest in a way that leaves the progressive base reeling. Instead of staying the course, remaining silent, refusing to back down, he cried "Uncle."
But the pain I and my fellow Sanders supporters feel cannot possibly match the pain that Bernie felt as he stood at that podium. He knows he has done something that disappointed millions of his supporters, and I am sure it is killing him inside. He is a man of the people. For more than half a century, he has carried the weight of the world on his shoulders, trying to do the right thing.
One could argue that he could have simply refused to move. And if the DNC denied his delegates their seats, or denied Bernie a speaking slot, he could have gone public and announced their shenanigans. The outcry would have been swift and hard, and would have made the DNC, and Clinton herself, appear draconian and ridiculous.
One could also argue that his endorsement was a political sacrifice. After all, he is getting toward the end of his career. Did he offer himself up as a sacrificial lamb to prove a point? If so, he did a fantastic job. Thousands of Bernie's supporters have long kept the Green Party's presumptive nominee, Dr. Jill Stein, as a second choice should Bernie lose the nomination or endorse Clinton.
In less than 48 hours, donations to Green Party candidate Jill Stein have jumped nearly 1000 percent. Hundreds of those donations totaled exactly $27, a clear middle finger to the DNC and Hillary in particular. Because of the drastic jump in donations to Stein, the DNC is running damage control. They're now sending Bernie delegates emails in an attempt to convince them to switch over to Hillary, and according to this Reddit post, they're not happy about it.
In a move that is so incredibly tone deaf, the DNC has resorted to emails begging its members to send in donations. They obviously believed that getting Bernie to endorse Hillary would magically unite the party. On the contrary, Bernie supporters are mad as hell, and they're more determined than ever to never vote for Hillary.
One might argue that by endorsing Hillary, Bernie pulled the ultimate power move by proving that, by and large, voters do not like Hillary and will never endorse, much less cast a ballot for her.
A previous argument about Bernie staying in the race was that he was hurting Hillary. His stubborn refusal to concede or endorse her was harming Clinton's chances. Now that Bernie has done what the DNC wanted, he's also shown that it isn't Bernie who is harming Hillary. It is Hillary herself who has hurt her chances. Recent polls show that she is either tied or just barely ahead of Donald Trump.
What should all of this tell the DNC and the superdelegates? It ought to be glaringly obvious that Hillary is way too toxic to be a viable candidate. FBI Director James Comey's scathing criticism of her handling of her personal email server left her already tattered reputation in shreds and many people angry. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that more than half of Americans disagreed with Comey's decision not to recommend indictment.
Let's not forget; Bernie did not formally concede to Hillary. He did not release his delegates to her, which would be a concession. He merely said some words to appease the powers that be.
And as he spoke, Bernie looked crushed, as if the weight of a world he cannot change has suddenly become too much for him to carry alone. For more than 50 years, Bernie carried us all, even when we weren't aware of it. And in the last 15 months, he has awakened us, called us to action, to get involved. Many of us answered that call. And many more will
If the Democratic Party leadership really wants to win in November, they will need to do some serious soul searching. If Bernie can't unite the party behind Clinton by saying, "I endorse Hillary," no one can. So, consider this my own call to action. Regardless of how angry, upset, defeated, betrayed, sad, depressed or apathetic you may feel about his choice to endorse Hillary, Bernie ran for us. He carried us. The time has come for us to pick up where Bernie left off and take the fight to the convention.
[Photo by Andrew Harnick/AP Images]