STICK AROUND, BERNIE!

1. It’s Thursday, March 17, 2016.

2. It’s St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not Irish and will not pretend to be. But I know lots of people who are, and I will celebrate them and their incredible accomplishments toward making this country great. I hope they have a great day.

3. Yesterday was unusual for me in that I spent the day walking through New York. It’s the city where I worked for the better part of 40 years, but that I’ve only been to eight times since I left CNN in October 2014.

There were lots of things to see, some of which I might share in the days ahead. The support for Bernie Sanders as I walked through the city stuck out. Big time.

On the day after Hillary Clinton swept him, Sanders’ supporters didn’t hide. They wore their shirts. They wore their buttons. They wore their hats. They were all over Manhattan Island.

Not to mention all the stickers and posters and graffiti I saw on my trek. From Ground Zero through Chinatown, SoHo through Chelsea and all around Midtown, you could feel the Bern.

4. Normally, you can’t gauge whether a trendy thing in politics is genuine or just people trying to be cool. But when your candidate loses five out of five, and you’re still out there plugging away, it tends to say something about the authenticity of Sanders’ support.

And I see why. I’ve always been a Sanders fan. He is closer to me politically than almost anyone else I can think of. Economic inequality is heading this country in a horrible direction and Sanders’ straight-to-the-point approach of solving America’s problems has tremendous appeal.

5. But I support Clinton for President. She’s the smartest person in this race, and I’m still of the belief that it helps when a President is smart. We are so lucky to have someone like that now.

More important, she can win. Sanders can’t. Once Trump or whatever else the Republicans pull between now and the election start the socialist drumbeat against him, Americans over a certain age are going to be too scared to support him. And, sorry kids, but they vote.

6. And yet, the fact that Clinton won those five states on Tuesday is a sign that Sanders is running a fantastic campaign.

Now that seems contradictory. He lost. In Florida and Ohio, he lost pretty big.

But think back a week. To Michigan, where he shocked her and every pollster with an algorithm. As I wrote last week, it was partly because anger plays well in Michigan, the home state of Michael Moore and Ted Nugent. But he staked out a strong anti-trade position that was a winner.

Clinton, because she’s smart, learned from this. She addressed it in Ohio with similar concerns, and won big.

Now there are some who believe Clinton won because of the violence that has erupted in Trump World – that Democrats see the need to consolidate against the serious threat posed to the nation.

But I just believe Sanders is making her run a better campaign than if she waltzed through the Democratic nomination process unfettered. And he’s conditioning her and her team for what faces them in the fall.

7. There are some Democrats who believe Sanders has had his run, and should step aside. That’s nonsense. First, and foremost, the people walking through Greenwich Village and along the High Line should have their say. That happens April 19. So should the people on Santa Monica Pier and Pier 39 when they vote in June.

Sanders deserves credit for running a solid, issues-focused campaign that appeals to the core of what makes America great – the exact opposite of the campaign waged by someone whose red hats infer that America isn’t already great. There should be a good place for the Vermont senator and his supporters at the convention in Philadelphia.

And that’s where the Sanders campaign won’t end, but join with the Clinton campaign to save this country from catastrophe.

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