Dear Senator Sanders,
I wish you had known my mother, Nan Daley. If she were still alive, she’d have been one of the Democratic superdelegates you’re now lamenting are committed to Hillary Clinton. She was one for JFK in Los Angeles in 1960, and would have been one for RFK in 1968—she managed his volunteer campaign in northern California which carried him to victory and assassination.
But you entered Congress two days after she died in January of 1991. Some of your colleagues like Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi rejoined you there in Washington after speaking at her memorial service in San Francisco where she was often celebrated in the newspapers as “Ms. Democrat” and “San Francisco’s Eleanor Roosevelt” (she loved that one).
So you just missed knowing Mom. But then you’ve just missed knowing all the Democratic superdelegates who work tirelessly for the party. Why? Because you spent your entire public life as a member of the Liberty Union Party or as an Independent.
You have not been a Democrat, which means that you have not contributed to the strategies or the strengths of the party. You have not labored either behind the scenes or in public to build a strong party of which you were an integral and valued co-worker. No wonder you’re now scrambling to meet some of those pesky superdelegates and complaining about the rules of the game. Going independent is not a sin; I’m rather independent myself. But that choice has consequences, and you’re experiencing them right now.
To put it bluntly, Senator, you chose to clamber aboard the Democratic pony last year because you needed a steed to ride in the presidential primaries. But it was never your horse. You borrowed it. One might say you used it. And you’re sitting pretty light in the saddle even now. I just checked your official government web site, and I cannot find the word “Democrat” anywhere on it. It does say, however, that you are “the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history.”
And now you are whining because Hillary Clinton, who has tended the Democratic Party unceasingly for twenty-five years, has somehow gained the admiration and loyalty and commitment of the party superdelegates.
My advice is to thank the Democratic Party for the astounding platform they have accorded you and your views during the primary process. Then, acknowledge that you have come up short precisely because you did not earn enough votes from either the primary electorate or the superdelegates. Finally, get to work with others to strengthen the Democratic Party platform and organization and finances so that a genuinely dangerous man named Donald Trump never gets close to wielding power in Washington.
Senator Sanders, you yourself hold more power right now than you could ever possibly have imagined: you can save this country from a Trump presidency.
If you don’t, all the admiration you have legitimately amassed in a lifetime of noble service will be blown away by a tsunami of disgust. And that would only compound the tragedy of a Trump presidency.