Michigan to Sanders: The revolution has been canceled

In a stunning turn of events, Democratic primary voters have chosen not to upend American society with a collectivist revolution. Hard to figure out just why — is it the record low unemployment, rising real wages, generally low crime rate, the end to America’s longest war? Regardless, we can now say for certain the Bernie SandersBernie SandersOcasio-Cortez rolls out Twitch channel to urge voting Calls grow for Democrats to ramp up spending in Texas The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters MORE Revolution has been canceled. Turns out people like dull and quiet a lot more than storming the Bastille. Better luck in 2024.

The fact is that the numbers for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) keep dropping relative to his performance in 2016. He is not expanding his coalition — and doesn’t seem interested in making any effort to do so. Typical of ideologues, Sanders has decided it’s his way or no way. And Democratic voters have opted for no way.

Democrats in Michigan have ended the Sanders campaign as any threat for the party’s nomination and have done so decisively. Not even a meltdown by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE at the debate on Sunday can save Sanders given his abysmal performance yesterday. Sanders once again lost ground everywhere from his 2016 performance. Earlier multi-candidate contests gave Sanders an excuse that he could do better with a one-on-one matchup. Not anymore. 


Sanders threw everything he had at Biden — and failed to even scratch the paint.

Sanders was wall-to-wall on cable TV and conducted a scorched-earth attack on everything Biden. Yet he still lost Michigan by 15 points. And while he was concentrating on the Wolverine State, Sanders collapsed in Missouri, falling 15 points and going from a two-tenths of a percent loss in 2016 to a whopping 25-point rout. Even Mississippi was bad news. It would have been hard to do worse than his 16.6 percent total in 2016, but Sanders managed that feat, cratering below 15 percent.

Consistent with results from earlier contests, the conversion of states from caucuses to primaries has been brutal for Sanders. While in earlier caucuses Sanders still managed to win (although falling anywhere from 25 to 40 points), the newly converted states of Idaho and Washington are not being so kind. Sanders lost Idaho, falling more than 30 points, and is in a dead heat in Washington (down 40 points).

Sanders will likely stick around for at least another week. He gets the chance to continue his crusade at the CNN/Univision debate on March 15 and slash away at Biden and the incrementalist, moderate liberalism Sanders and his acolytes detest. No arguments for party unity are likely to convince Sanders to not take the stage and perform.

On March 17 Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio vote. Sanders is behind in all polling by more than double-digits. He lost each of these states in 2016, although Illinois was within two points. Given his recent performance, Sanders will be lucky to crack 40 percent in any contest.


Sanders and his true believers risk turning from tragic heroes to national farce.

As long as Sanders stays in the race, he won’t be able to stop himself from bashing Joe Biden, the Democratic Party and all the weak-kneed sellouts who won’t enlist in his revolution. His army of internet trolls will hardly moderate themselves the more they see their cause sliding beneath the waves. Even Democrats sympathetic to Sanders will quickly lose patience as they perceive Sanders boosting President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE (and the longer Sanders stays in, the more it helps Trump).

Biden has won the nomination but is far from the White House. Sanders may say that defeating Trump is his top priority, but his real priority is himself and his quixotic revolution.

Keith Naughton, Ph.D., co-founder of Silent Majority Strategies, is a public affairs consultant who specialized in Pennsylvania judicial elections. Follow him on Twitter @KNaughton711