Bernie Sanders Is Losing Fair and Square

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves to supporters at a rally on Sunday, May 22, 2016, in Vist
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves to supporters at a rally on Sunday, May 22, 2016, in Vista, Calif. (AP Photo/Sandy Huffaker)

As Maine goes, so goes the nation, Bernie? Because we know what happens when a stubborn, left-leaning candidate stands on principle complaining about persnickety party politics, and it isn't pretty. In fact, it's insane by definition: We do it over and over again and expect different results.

"I am not standing down ... and neither should those voters whose consciences compel them to cast a vote for me," Eliot Cutler said defiantly, with zero chance of winning - and then Maine re-elected the man Politico magazine called "America's craziest governor" with 48 percent of the vote, the majority of votes split between two far-superior candidates.

It doesn't take Einstein to figure out the math had Cutler urged his team to put on the blue jerseys in 2014. And it's pretty simple math that says Bernie Sanders can't win the Democratic nomination in 2016, but his ego and the affluenza of his advisers insist on fighting until the end - one that looks to become increasingly more bitter by the day.

The arc of Sanders' campaign has gone from extremely inspiring to incredibly annoying, and the latest temper tantrum in Nevada is inexcusable. Whining about "unfair" rules that have been on the books since 2008. Outrage that delegates not registered as Democrats were refused a seat at the official convention of Democrats to select the Democratic nominee. Indignation that the higher number of Clinton delegates trumped the higher volume of Sanders delegates. Astonishment that "Bernie Bros" rushing the dais, throwing chairs, cursing and shouting caused security to shut down the convention four hours after the designated end time. Accusations of another conspiracy by establishment.

Hillary Clinton is winning the Democratic primary fair and square by the same rules by which she lost to Barack Obama in 2008. She won the recent contest in Nevada for the same simple reason she's winning overall: She got more votes. That's not "establishment" - that's democracy.

The reaction of the Sanders people -- trashing the place and threatening the state party chairwoman -- was immature at best, and if it weren't for the fact that their antics increase the probability of a Trump presidency, we could gently close the door and let them cry it out.

But that's what Maine did in 2014, and who's crying now?

What's sold as a "political revolution" looks more and more like just another power trip. Bernie and Jane Sanders are high on crowds and crowdfunding, and through the haze it's crystal clear why virtually none of Sanders' colleagues in the capital support him. It's not because he's "anti-establishment." It's because he's an angry, unreasonable man with a chip on his shoulder as big as the state of Maine.

America's economic system might be rigged to favor the rich and powerful, and maybe the nominating process is, too, but hello? Sanders' campaign is pretty darn rich and powerful.

A Washington Post analysis of Federal Election Commission reports found that "by the end of March, the self-described democratic socialist senator from Vermont had spent nearly $166 million on his campaign -- more than any other 2016 presidential contender, including rival Hillary Clinton. More than $91 million went to a small group of admakers and media buyers who produced a swarm of commercials and placed them on television, radio and online."

Sanders is losing fair and square in the voting contest, so why must he torch every bridge along the way? Why must he incite volatile people and provoke useless rage? Sanders has been in Washington for decades, and he still can't manage to disagree with people without being disagreeable.

There's a word for somebody with these characteristics, and it's not "leader."

Clinton has won 2.9 million more votes than Sanders and has won 1,768 pledged delegates to Sanders' 1,494. The so-called superdelegates are not to blame for these numbers. Sanders is not going to be the nominee because he hasn't won enough votes or delegates, and his latest stunt - an anti-democratic pitch suggesting that polls point to him as the best nominee - is ridiculous. Elections are rigged, so we should use polls to determine who gets to be president of the free world? Is that what socialism looks like: Polls determine a future that we must believe in? The same polls that Sanders himself was against before the polls were for him?

Elections, rules and math are as American as hot dogs and apple pie, and we love an underdog who accepts defeat with grace after a rigorous contest, but none of us -- even bleeding-heart liberals -- likes sore losers.