I have just read a report that Bernie Sanders will endorse Hillary Clinton next week. I think this is a good time to observe how brilliantly he has played his hand for the last six months. Starting from a hole so deep that he could scarcely see daylight at its top, he ran a campaign that made him a genuine contender for the nomination. His small donation fund raising completely turned conventional wisdom on its head, and, at least to my astonishment, he made "socialist" an acceptable label in mainstream American politics.
Ever since it became clear that he could not win the nomination, which is to say some months ago, sober, realistic talking heads have been calling on him to drop out and endorse Clinton. His refusal has brought down on his head all manner of abuse and created the myth that he is an obstinate old fool who cannot put the good of the party and the nation ahead of his own overblown ego.
Meanwhile, he has forced Clinton to move farther and farther to the left, turning against TPP, embracing a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage, calling for free tuition at public colleges and universities for all children of families below the upper middle class. The draft party platform leaked this week is by far the most progressive in the history of the Democratic Party, all because of the influence of Bernie Sanders.
Now he will endorse Clinton and work all Fall to defeat Donald Trump. With his help and Elizabeth Warren's, the diehard Sanders loyalists will come round to voting for Clinton, holding their noses as I will. But his influence will continue, and if he chooses, as I hope, to create an on-going progressive movement, funded by a flood of small donations, then he may well succeed in transforming American politics.
Not bad for a grumpy Vermont socialist with bad hair and the oratorical skills of a bulldog.