Sanders should stay to the end
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Trump Spanish-language ad equates progressives, socialists Biden's tax plan may not add up MORE (Vt.) will not be the nominee of the Democratic Party. Even though he has a fervent following and has run an exciting, underdog, populist campaign that has attracted legions of small donors and inspired young people to a frenzy, the numbers just don't add up.

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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump vows challenge to Nevada bill expanding mail-in voting Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Juan Williams: The Trump Show grows tired MORE's overwhelming lead among superdelegates is too much for Sanders to overcome. Of the 718 total superdelegates, Clinton has 520, while Sanders has only 39. Coupled with the proportional system of allocating delegates, Clinton can lose the remaining contests and still secure enough delegates to win the nomination. Sanders has a good chance to win a series of Western states, and even California, but still fall short.

Even Sanders, after winning the Indiana primary on Tuesday, conceded that the "path is narrow," and in a refreshing moment of candor added, "I do not deny that for a moment." With all this in the cards, Sanders should not fold. I believe he must not give in or give up. For his party and for the country, Sanders must commit to staying on to the end. That means to the convention in July in Philadelphia.

But the reason why has nothing to do with Clinton's email scandal. Recently, Jane Sanders, Bernie's wife, said the following on "Cavuto: Coast to Coast": "It's an FBI investigation, and we want to let it go through without politicizing it and then we'll find what the situation is. That's how we still feel. I mean, it would be nice if the FBI moved it along."

That reason and rationale should not be the basis for staying in the race. Let me say clearly without equivocation: I strongly believe Clinton will not be indicted for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of State. Not only will this not happen; it should not happen. Her actions were careless, not criminal; negligent, but not nefarious.

Sanders should stay in the race because he owes it to the legions of followers who have come to his rallies, contributed to his campaign (he's raised $210 million on 7.4 million contributions from 2.4 million donors, only 3 percent of whom have given the maximum amount allowed of $2,700), and, most of all, have enthusiastically voted for him. Their ardor and zeal for him is not based on charisma, but on his message and his authenticity.

Sanders just never stopped being plain old Bernie. That meant a heated progressive tirade against the "billionaire class" and a pledge to make the economic system we live under more fair and equitable. His constant attack on super-PACs and the corrupt campaign finance system will have a future impact on how political campaigns are viewed and how they are run. His repeated assailing of Wall Street and the big banks is needed and just might prevent another financial crash like 2008.

All in all, Sanders revitalized the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, and stopped its move to the corporate right-of-center. Moreover, it made Clinton steer the party to where it belongs. Clinton would not have come out against the "carried interest" giveaway, or the Keystone XL pipeline, or a host of other critical issues if Sanders had not pushed her that way.

Clinton needs to win the Sanders constituencies: the young, the liberal, the blue-collar working class, the organized labor members, the suburban independents and the newly registered. A great move for her is that, after the ballots have been cast and the delegates' votes counted, she should call Sanders to the stage in Philadelphia and personally and emphatically ask the convention to nominate her by acclamation.

And that's not all — she should ask him to campaign for her and with her all across the country. In fact, they should be almost inseparable. Sanders will bring enthusiasm and passion to a campaign that definitely needs it. Clinton can not win in November without Sanders. For the Democratic Party, this cannot be a repeat of 1968 or 1980.

2016 has been a very unpredictable, off-the-wall, abnormal year. The Democratic Party starts with an enormous advantage. In the last six presidential elections, 19 states have gone Democratic. That is 242 electoral votes. They only need 28 more to reach the magic 270. The demographics are clearly in the Democratic Party's favor. Most of all, Hispanics — the fastest-growing minority group. Democrats have to screw it up to lose.

Giving Bernie Sanders respect and asking him to join all the way to November sure makes a path to victory a whole lot more certain.

Plotkin is a political analyst, a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner.