But even with the long shots now painfully limping up the backstretch as Donald and Hillary stampede toward the finish line, the profiteers of the game are suddenly bellowing "Whoa, Nelly!"
Not so fast.
The show must go on. If they call the race too soon, the rubes will stop placing their bets. The crowds will dwindle, the cameras and the bookies will disappear. The cable channels will have nothing to yammer about while they're sitting around hoping for the next big terror attack or mass shooting. So, the media and the partisans are all getting together today and urging Bernie Sanders and John Kasich to stay in the race till the last advertising dollar rolls in. Those two candidates might be nags compared to the thoroughbred front-runners, but they're still worth mega media bucks right up to the day when the glue factory guy finally shows up.
Even though the contest is fixed and the challengers hobbled before they even got started, this is still the best democracy money can buy in the best of all possible countries. The New York Times, which helped to fix the race in the first place with all that free advertising for Hillary and Donald, has decreed it.
After months of alternately castigating and ignoring Sanders, the Times editorial board has come out with a sanctimonious screed urging him not to quit the race just yet. Since all that Hillary has got going for her is the victim card, she still needs grumpy Bernie to pester her in order to get more sympathy votes from people for whom identity trumps policy. Without the mythical Bernie Bro terriers nipping at her heels as she canters around the track toward the finish line, where would she be? Alone on the trail, that's where, in all her empty pantsuit glory, without so much as a single pearl to clutch. But with Bernie occasionally getting a second wind and threatening to overtake her, she can keep up appearances as Fighter For You with even odds in her run for the poses.
The owners and the trainers and the groomers desperately need Bernie to stick around and eventually morph from gelding into sheepdog, the better to herd the millions of young people so energized by his message into the strict confines of the Democratic veal pen. The guy already is an underdog as well as a nag, but people do love their underdogs. And the profiteers love the people who love their underdogs, because the people have parted with millions of their dollars to keep this whole underdog thing going. Every time Bernie loses, he makes money! Just think of where all that money could eventually wind up. Ka-ching goes the beat of the DNC's alleged heart.
Therefore in the interest of big money, the Times must now pretend to love an underdog, too. Run, Bernie, Run! they screech in their most liberal, D-Flat Minor tones:
Mr. Sanders has always stood more for a vision than for reality, especially with a Republican-led Congress. As he and Mrs. Clinton tore into each other in last week’s debate in Brooklyn, some Democrats worried that the nasty fracas would hurt the party. Others want Mr. Sanders to get out and let Mrs. Clinton focus on the Trump threat.
Mr. Sanders’s presence has made this an immeasurably more substantive race, in which both candidates’ policies have been better vetted, and as a result, better delineated. That’s the best preparation for the general election. Yes, Mrs. Clinton’s lead is nearly insurmountable, but it should be voters who erase the “nearly.”Are they magnanimous, or what?
My published response:
The Times gives the game away with its admonition that Sanders has always been more about "vision" than about "reality."
The "reality" of which the Times speaks is a manufactured set of rules designed to enrich only the already obscenely wealthy. What the Sanders campaign has revealed to millions of people is the power of the Possible. Possibility can forge its own reality. The terms are not mutually exclusive.
Who, besides the plutocracy, says that we cannot have free public college tuition and government-run single payer health care? As democracy has been whittled away by the malign forces of neoliberalism, too many of us have been cowed into believing that there is no other way but the rule of the market god. We are so alienated that we haven't realized how alienated we have become.
Don't tell us that it's only the nasty old Republicans preventing the humanitarian Democrats from forging a better life for millions of disenfranchised, dispossessed Americans. The whole rotten system has been exposed for all to see, even those who've been willfully blinded.
I don't know if Bernie has a chance of winning the White House or not. What matters is that the consciousness of a nation has been raised, a solidarity is being forged, and we will refuse to be atomized into a state of helplessness any longer. Just as the Clintons gave birth to neoliberalism, so too may the Clintons officiate over its funeral.
Long live possibility.
Whose reality? Our reality.