The early returns are in. It's too early to call but it appears that some of us were conned. The revelation has been more positive for myself than for Bernard Sanders' most determined and influential supporters, such as Krystal Ball.
I know the media will never understand this but this moment right now, with Bernie trashing his own supporters is exactly why he lost. He was more committed to maintaining power for Dems than claiming it for his own movement.— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) April 14, 2020
Make no mistake- Sanders was right to tell presumptive nominee Joe Biden "We've got to make Trump a one-term president, and we need you in the White House," especially impressive because the Vermonter used the word "Trump," which Barack Obama is still unable to utter. But the campaign's message is misunderstood or unacknowledged by Jeremy Scahill:
Spending energy attacking Sanders is a waste of time & reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of what Sanders is & has always been and what he isn’t. He gave it an incredible effort and we can all learn from what Sanders managed to do and use it to fight harder and smarter.— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) April 15, 2020
This is misleading while Ball's cynicism about Senator Sanders is understandable. Most Bernistas believed he was doing something more- and something different- than running for the presidency. He was leading a movement. "Not me. Us." still leads off candidate Sanders' website and the button with the same inscription remains available there. (Note: as this post was written, the merchandise store came under reconstruction.) If Scahill is right about what Sanders has "always been and what he isn't," the Senator delivered a real con job.
The gears of governing were at stake in the primary process, an understanding belied by the (unfortunately) effective, yet at best empty, "not me. us." slogan. It was a slogan reinforcing the Senator's message "I've got news for the Republican establishment. I've got news for the Democratic establishment. They can't stop us." His not-so-merry band of revolutionaries was out to overturn the old order and they legitimately believed they had someone leading the charge against the enemy.
Now that Sanders has endorsed Biden's candidacy unequivocally, it appears their leader was not as dedicated to that goal as were they, including Krystal Ball. Although it's still fairly clear that he would not have been as effective a president as the progressive alternative, he probably is a little more a conventional politician and Democrat than some of us (although not all) had thought.