How Bernie Endorses Matters

Because unlike everyone on Facebook, I don’t have any answers for Orlando, St. Paul, Baton Rouge or Dallas…

Bernie Sanders will finally bring his inspirational if quixotic race for the Democratic presidential nomination to an end in New Hampshire Tuesday when he formally backs Hillary Clinton. I’m assuming he’ll drop out seconds before. Sanders’ chance to truly influence Hillary’s stance on a number of issues passed more than a month ago but how he endorses her will make a very big difference. It cannot be one of his recent, “yeah, ok, I guess I don’t want Trump” media appearances.

Bernie’s demeanor needs to be upbeat (to the extent that’s possible), his backing of Hillary has to be enthusiastic for it to make a difference at all. Last week he appeared on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer. One would think he agreed to be interviewed on the latest in the presidential race and the issues connected with it. After about five minutes of Sanders being seemingly insulted by every question Blitzer asked, the interviewed ended without Bernie voicing support for Hillary. (What did he expect, Blitzer to ask him about his current path to the nomination?). And it didn’t help that Bernie, for some reason, had Jake Tapper on his mind.

Sen. Sanders’ natural personality is said to be one of a gruff, old uncle who doesn’t like anyone or anything. His senate colleagues don’t like him. There is a reason he was a back bencher in the Senate. Yet he did garner millions of votes. (Please, enough with the claims he brought new voters into the system. Turnout was down in primaries across the country.)

The thought that Bernie will have some new found clout in the Senate is nonsense. What would make someone like Elizabeth Warren, Charles Schumer, Cory Booker or Maria Cantwell listen or defer to Sanders just because he exploited Clinton’s shortcomings as a candidate into an insurgent run?

Bernie would have gotten maximum mileage out of his losing run had he endorsed Hillary after he got clobbered in California. Sure, the Clinton campaign put out a plan to make college more affordable (that’ll last until the end of the month), work toward a $15 minimum wage (until small businesses object) and provide for a public option for health care (hanging onto to what we have now would be an accomplishment).

The Sanders campaign really overreached when it tried to dictate to the Clinton folks what role certain people would have at the party convention. Bernie wanted Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy and former Massachusetts US Rep. Barney Frank removed from their respective roles because they gave Bernie hell on his gun control record. Not happening.

Words matter. Attitude matters. Enthusiasm matters. Passion matters. If Bernie truly wants his followers to back Hillary, reject Trump or just not stay home, he needs to make that case and at least sound authentic.