Bernie Splits Non-Existent Hairs

This blog was originally published on Forbes as Bernie Splits Non-Existent Hairs on Wednesday, June 29, 2016.

Senator Bernie Sanders, having failed in his efforts to become the Democratic Party nominee for president, but still not having conceded defeat, gave his views on the current state of the race in an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. He began the interview by declaring outright:

What I am going to do, Andrea, is everything I can see that Donald Trump does not become President of the United States. That would be a disaster for the country and, in fact, the world.

Andrea Mitchell asked:

You say that you are going to vote for her…what about endorsing her? Do you see a distinction between voting for her and endorsing her? Or are they one and the same?

Senator Sanders disagreed:

No they are not one and the same. What I am trying to do now in a variety of ways is to see that we have a Democratic platform…

I beg to differ, Senator Sanders. Given the state of the election–the closeness of the public opinion polls, Ms. Clinton’s high unfavorable ratings, the looming threat of the investigation of her emails, and Trump’s constant upending of all preconceived notions of political dynamics–the difference between endorsing and voting is razor thin, if at all. You are splitting non-existent hairs, and Andrea Mitchell saw that, too:

I don’t understand–or a lot of people don’t understand, I should say–your reluctance to endorse. If you want to defeat Donald Trump, what are your choices?

Again Senator Sanders disagreed:

I would respectfully disagree and suggest that many people do understand. Our job is to transform America, to end the 40-year decline of the middle class…

I would respectfully disagree, Senator Sanders. Preventing what you define as a disaster has greater urgency than halting a 40-year decline. Time is of the essence and Andrea Mitchell saw that, too:

This could be a very close race. How long are you going to wait before you make a decision about endorsement?

And once again Senator Sanders disagreed:

You’re asking, I think, with all due respect, Andrea, the wrong question. It’s not a question of my endorsement, it’s a question of the American people understanding that Secretary Clinton is with them.

With all due respect, Senator Sanders, it is the right question. If your stated intent is to do everything you can to defeat Donald Trump, then the right answer is not the platform, but the endorsement. Journalists like Andrea Mitchell, by nature, ask any question they want. Candidates can either answer them as straightforwardly as they promote their positions or, as far too many politicians do, duck them. You, as a declared independent, have often disdained such politicians. Are you with them or against them?

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post called the interview “baffling and surreal. But most of all it was remarkably condescending.” To which I add “evasive.”

Senator Sanders, if you mean what you say, just say it!

This blog was originally published on Forbes as Bernie Splits Non-Existent Hairs on Wednesday, June 29, 2016.