You need to pick your dragons…
I never liked that bit about tipping my own king over and conceding the game. I’m not merely saying that I don’t like to lose (because no one does), what I had was a visceral revulsion to the idea of surrendering. I think when I see that I’m in checkmate, I should move my king, and then the other person should be the one who moves one of their pieces in and takes the king. And technically you can do that, but a lot of chess players consider it gauche to do so. You’re supposed to be civilized and logical and recognize that you have been beaten. When I was in my teens I once had a much older chess player lecture me about what an insult it was to insist on taking my last move and make him take the king. Another told me that taking my final move signaled that I wasn’t smart enough to recognize my loss, and therefore not being smart, I was not an opponent anyone would care to play against.
I don’t think that guy was terribly happy when I replied,“If you can’t tell until the very last move how good a player I am, I’m not sure I’m the one whose intelligence is in question, here.” (For the record, I beat that guy the first time we played, it was our second game where he discovered my idiosyncrasy, so, having beaten him once, I don’t think he could say I didn’t understand the game).
I was never great at chess, and I suspect my inability to dispassionately end the game without one player actually taking out the other player’s king is a symptom of why. And it’s all probably related to why my single favorite moment in all of cinematic history, is the second time Captain Kirk says, “I don’t like to lose” in The Wrath of Khan.
So I have a lot of sympathy for my fellow Bernie Sanders supporters who have been angry that one media outlet explicitly called the Democratic nomination one day before California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota weighed in. I get it. Really, I do. But it isn’t the evidence of either corruption or incompetence that many of my fellow Sanders supporters are trying to make it out to be…
I do think that it would have been better for the AP to take the tack that statistician Nate Silver did over on FiveThirtyEight.Com: simply pointing out that even if Hillary lost ever single remaining Primary and Caucus by no more the 40 points, she would still have at the end of all the contests more Pledged Delegates the Bernie.
Let me repeat that more clearly: even if Bernie had won California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota 70-30, he would still have fewer Pledged Delegates than Hillary going into the convention. Not fewer super delegates (we can argue about super delegates later; the super delegate argument is more of a distraction than substance no matter how approach it), fewer pledged delegates. And absolutely no one believed that Bernie could win by that large a margin in any of the Primaries that remained. Well, no one who can read a poll, anyway.
Hillary has won an absolute majority of the pledged delegates. She will be the nominee. She’s won.
Bernie hasn’t won the nomination, but he (and his supporters) can accomplish a lot still if we aren’t sore losers. A friend was grumbling that his vote was meaningless because Bernie didn’t win. But supposedly, Bernie’s campaign is about changing the system, and part of how we do that is by getting new people into the process. Bernie’s delegates are still going to the convention, and a helluva a lot more happens at a party convention than merely selecting the nominee. Sanders delegates make up a large fraction of the committee writing the platform, for instance. County, state, and federal party conventions are where the hard work and networking happens that can lead to more progressive candidates at every level is accomplished.
To accomplish the changes that we want, we need success in state legislatures, in Congress, in local governments, et cetera. We also have to make sure that Trump doesn’t become President. We have to make sure that the disturbing racist, reactionary, misogynist side of America that Trump so successfully courted doesn’t dictate the future of our country.
Trump didn’t create those people, but he gave them permission to be open about their racism, their misogyny, their homophobia, and their disdain for people of different religions. He has emboldened them to verbally and physically attack their fellow citizens. He has legitimized their hatred and violence. And we have to stand against it.
You have to pick your battles. Arguing about whether Bernie would do better in the fall than Hillary is the wrong battle, now. We need to beat Trump, and beat the anti-progressive candidates down ballot. Trump and the Teabaggers and their ilk are the dragon who threatens us. Sometimes you don’t get the knight in shining armor you want to lead your charge. Sometimes what you need to beat a dragon, is a better, smarter dragon.
I am more than happy to point Hillary at that Trump-Teabagger dragon and say, “Sic ‘im!”