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Bernie vows to fight on. ...But schedules Thursday meeting with Obama at White House
And lays off half his staff.
If you watched Bernie's speech last night - and if you did, we share a singular pain - you know that Bernie showed no sign of taking his foot off the gas. Sanders has vowed to fight all the way to the convention and, so far, he's done nothing to contradict himself. At least, he hasn't done anything publicly.
Quietly, though, behind the scenes, it's a bit of a different story.
First, we have a report that Sanders is about to fire half his campaign team. As the New York Times reports:
Senator Bernie Sanders plans to lay off at least half of his campaign staff Wednesday as his battered presidential bid continues despite Hillary Clinton’s being declared the presumptive Democratic nominee, according to two people close to the campaign.
Many of those being laid off are advance staff members who often help with campaign logistics, as well as field staff members who have been working to garner votes for the senator, according to both a campaign official and a former campaign staff member, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. Some campaign workers may move into jobs at Mr. Sanders’s Senate office, but others will be terminated, they said.
The changes come as Mr. Sanders defiantly continues to campaign while Mrs. Clinton celebrates her acquisition of a majority of the delegates needed for the nomination.
In politics, this is always a sign. Yes, the heavy lifting in the campaign is over and, yes, if he's going to keep fighting it will be shadowy battle of the superdelegates. Since that's the case, you can argue he simply no longer needs his expensive machine. However, show me an organization that dumps half its staff, and I'll show you a candidate that's about to call it quits. In virtually every campaign - ever - this is an indicator that the end is near.
Then, we have this tidbit via NBC News:
And an initial discussion between Obama and Sanders on unifying the party appears to be in the cards.
According to White House press secretary Josh Earnest, Obama and Sanders will meet at the White House on Thursday to "continue their conversation about the significant issues at stake in this election that matter most to America's working families."
The meeting was scheduled at the request of Sen. Sanders, the White House said. "The President looks forward to continuing the conversation with Senator Sanders about how to build on the extraordinary work he has done to engage millions of Democratic voters, and to build on that enthusiasm in the weeks and months ahead."
Sanders will also meet with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on the Hill on Thursday.
If you're reading the tea leaves, you know what this is. Bernie will walk in, and Obama and/or Reid will tell him it's time to go home. He'll tell them that he may be finished, but they get to decide how difficult his exit is. He can go quietly and happily, or he can be a real pain in the rear.
Then, they'll ask "What will it take, Bernie, to make you happy?"
I've argued before that Bernie is a socialist true believer, that hasn't changed. I've also said he might be the kind of guy who doesn't want anything. It's still possible that he'll walk into those meetings with ultimatums, not requests. However, if you're placing your bets, you should focus on the fact that Bernie has been in office, at one level or another, for decades.
That doesn't happen unless, ideologue or not, you know when to make a deal. The smart money says Bernie has a wish list. Hilary knows that if Bernie orders his supporters to stand their ground, a large percentage of them will do just that. A bargain will be struck.
Sanders may remain a nominal candidate until the convention but, if an arrangement has been made, he won't do anything to rock the boat too much.
In that scenario, the only remaining question will be: Do Bernie's supporters swallow their pride and vote for a corporate crony like Clinton, or do they toe the party line?