Bernie Sanders' Artful Slow Fade
Sanders has started rhetorically phasing himself out of the race, while shifting focus to other goals
"Never, ever lose your sense of outrage," Bernie Sanders told a raucous crowd at Manhattan's Town Hall theater Thursday evening. His "Where We Go From Here" speech, billed as a roadmap for sanguine Sanderistas still bullish on his candidacy and everything it represents, was partly about ginning up that sense of outrage, and partly about channeling it into the kind of material change Sanders has promised to deliver throughout his campaign.
Many audience members Thursday clearly continued to struggle with the fact that Sanders almost certainly won't be delivering that change as president. Where they go from here — to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump or a third-party candidate — remains to be seen.
Where Sanders himself goes is clearer: He'll spend the coming weeks traveling around the country, a bit like a revivalist minister, campaigning to see the ideals he's built his candidacy on enshrined in the Democratic Party platform, and on behalf of down-ballot progressives whom he hopes will push for those things as well. (On Friday he's set to deliver his speech again, in Syracuse, before a campaign event with congressional candidate Eric Kingson; next week, he'll be in California campaigning for San Francisco supervisor turned state Senate candidate Jane Kim.)
At this point, those goals seem to have superseded Sanders' efforts to campaign for the actual nomination. When asked by C-SPAN earlier this week whether he'll have a speaking slot at the convention, he said, "It doesn't appear that I'm going to be the nominee." And in multiple interviews Friday, he indicated that he would in all likelihood vote for Hillary Clinton in the fall. "I think the issue right here is I'm going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump," he told Morning Joe.
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