Today Bernie Sanders was on "The Young Turks", an online Leftist show hosted by a 45-year old fomer Republican. I don't watch it, but a Tweet by one of their reporters regarding Bernie's interview caught my eye.
Certainly, Bernie is going for broke. Certainly, his ego is bruised as he keeps losing big, diverse states to Hillary Clinton who has built an almost-insurmountable lead in delegates and winning mostly super-white caucuses. And certainly, this is a foolish statement from anyone looking to capture his party's nomination.
He could have easily chosen not to answer it, which would have shown that he still believes his campaign will win. He also could just as easily have pointed to Hillary Clinton's support of Barack Obama after she dropped out in 2008 as evidence that a hard fought primary will not deter the second-place candidate from taking the case of their party's nominee to the American people.
But he didn't. He chose to answer it, which, in the first place means that Bernie Sanders is not only considering the possibility of his defeat in the primary but may even be seeing defeat as likely.
Now, look at his particular response. "What's the Democratic establishment going to do for us?" This is classic bargaining. If I do this for you, what will you do for me? Bernie Sanders is trying to leverage his position to get something in the likely scenario that he is not the Democratic party's nominee. A winning candidate does not need to bargain.
Incidentally, bargaining is also the third of the five stages of grief. The first two, denial and anger, have been the cornerstone of the Sanders campaign for some time. Bernie began with anger, and an invariably angry version of him shows up at rallies where he enjoys the adulation of the Pitchfork Left who believe nothing other than Wall Street argle bargle really matters.
Bernie Sanders has been in denial about his chances since, oh, about South Carolina. He was going to win after South Carolina. Then he was going to win when "southern blacks" stopped dominating the Democratic electorates. Then he was going to win in Nevada. Then Hillary's wins didn't matter because she won the "confederacy" and red states (except the red states he won, which obviously matter). Then he was going to pull ahead on Super Tuesday. Then he was going to pull ahead on Second Super Tuesday (March 15). Then he was going to win Arizona.
Bernie Sanders is always going to win later. A more classic case of denial has yet to be diagnosed.
But it seems that while Bernie Sanders is in no way past anger and denial, he has simultaneously entered a stage of bargaining. He knows he's losing, and he now wants to know should all these 'laters' not come to fruition, what the Democratic party is willing to do for him in exchange for his support for its nominee.
I suppose in that light, it's progress. Only two more steps to acceptance!
Update: A berned devotee on our Facebook page asked me to watch the full video for "context" (the relevant portion starts at 16:50 mark). I did. It got worse. Not only is Bernie bargaining, it turns out, he's wrapping his bargaining in the front and back end with "Democrats are oligarchs" (paraphrased) message. This really ought to help him stand out as an unprincipled doorknob who slurped up all that oligarch party had to offer when it came to serving his dream of being President.