Bernie's Waterloo

Why Michigan is the Sanders campaign's last stand

Bernie Sanders.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images, Library of Congress)

"At the commencement of a campaign," Bonaparte tells us in his Maxims of War, "to advance or not to advance is a matter for grave consideration; but when once the offensive has been assumed, it must be sustained to the last extremity."

Military analogies do not always lend themselves well to discussions of electoral politics, especially when they involve 78-year-old anti-war ex-hippie senators. In this case, though, the image of a last stand seems to me totally fitting. For Bernie Sanders, the offensive against Joe Biden and the Democratic establishment has indeed begun. There has almost certainly been too much hesitation on his part, but that is no longer relevant. Nor is the fact that two of Biden's fiercest critics in this campaign, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, recently endorsed the former vice president. This onslaught is likely to continue and, despite what some of us predicted, it might even culminate in the long-awaited endorsement of Barack Obama. These things are outside Sanders' control. The only thing that matters is winning the field on Tuesday, especially in Michigan, the scene of Sanders' greatest triumph in the 2016 Democratic primary and arguably the single most important swing state in the country.

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Matthew Walther

Matthew Walther is a national correspondent at The Week. His work has also appeared in First Things, The Spectator of London, The Catholic Herald, National Review, and other publications. He is currently writing a biography of the Rev. Montague Summers. He is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellow.