Sanders knows at this point that he can't win the nomination outright from Hillary, so why does he keep fighting? Why does he promise to go all the way to the convention? Because he wants to make sure that when Hillary withdraws he's in position to take her place.
Meanwhile, former Bill Clinton advisor and pollster Douglas Schoen gave the strongest signal yet in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week ("Clinton may not be the nominee") that worried backstage huddles in the Democratic party establishment are reaching fever pitch. The article's floating of the idea of a Joe Biden-Elizabeth Warren substitute ticket (which I've been privately predicting to friends all year) is so evenly and magisterially phrased that I wondered if the text had been vetted by an approving White House. So this may be why Bernie Sanders (my candidate) has gone into overdrive--not to damage Hillary, as her acolytes spitefully claim, but to fight off the tactical insertion of Biden at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. Sanders could rightly claim, on the basis of his long and strenuous primary campaign, that if anyone deserves the nomination vacated by a tarnished Hillary, it is he. If Sanders does defer to Biden, it will only be via enormous concessions, beginning with the unceremonious removal of devious DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
It seems likely to me that after the California vote next Tuesday and before the convention, the major players will negotiate some kind of arrangement that accomplishes the following:
- Hillary drops out
- Hillary gets a pardon "for the good of the country"
- Sanders drops out in exchange for "enormous concessions"
- Joe Biden swoops in
The real question is, though, why would Sanders drop out for anything? Presumably the Dems have tried to blackmail him by now and have failed. What concessions would really be worth giving up a chance at the presidency?