Clinton’s Sparring Partner

Bernie Sanders

By this time tomorrow, Bernie Sanders may have dropped out of the presidential race. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Sanders was supposed to be Hillary Clinton’s sparring partner. The idea was that he would condition her for the real race against Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or some other Republican dinosaur, as seen in the Democratic strategy playbook. Instead, it turns out the sparring partner wanted to become the “heavyweight champeen of the world.” Defying expectations, Sanders evidently believes he can float like a butterfly – or, more likely, sting like a bee – all the way to the Democratic National Convention floor.

Last night, The Associated Press elated the Clinton camp by declaring the race over. The news agency where I once worked, which has been polling Democratic Party superdelegates since before the primaries began, reported that enough of those formally uncommitted delegates have promised to support Clinton to give her the nomination regardless of what happens in today’s balloting.

Even more good news for Clinton can be found in polling data that gives her a strong chance of winning California today, while it is considered a near certainty that she will win New Jersey. Her supporters will loudly demand that Sanders throw in the towel once votes are counted tonight. Still, barring an improbable collapse in Sanders’ support, her overall delegate lead will most likely be less than the number of super delegates who are free to change their minds at any time before they cast their ballots at the convention.

Besides pointing out that super delegates, like ringside judges, do not need to cast their ballots until the competition is over, Sanders can also argue that Clinton’s much-ballyhooed margin of victory in the Democratic primary vote came almost entirely from Southern states that Democrats do not expect to carry in November. Even there, it came mostly from the African-American voters in those states, a demographic in which the problem of underwhelming Democratic voter turnout is especially pronounced. Removing states any Democrat is unlikely to win this fall and focusing on the states the party must carry in order to retain the White House, Sanders can claim at least as strong a performance as Clinton.

Moreover, in the more than 40 years he has held public office, Sanders has never been accused of using his position to enrich himself or to amass greater personal power. Clinton, on the other hand, is a whole closetful of shoes waiting to drop, even as her friends in the Obama administration try to slow walk the inquiries into her homebrew server, bury the facts about the Benghazi debacle and obfuscate the source of their own lies regarding the backchannel Iran deal that originated during her time as the head of the State Department. Clinton is, if not one scandal, then one indictment away from blowing up the Democrats’ chances this November.

That being the case, is Sanders really going to give up and leave the title to someone who wins only because the judges supposedly marked their cards in her favor before the bell even rang?

My guess is no. For one thing, his rhetoric supports the idea that he is planning to hang on until the very end of the process. At a press conference in Los Angeles last weekend, he reminded his supporters: “At the end of the nominating process, no candidate will have enough pledged delegates to call the campaign a victory. That will be dependent upon super delegates. In other words, the Democratic National Convention will be a contested convention.” Many of his supporters have taken to wearing “Bernie or Bust” buttons to express their determination to see the process through to the very end.

Sanders has no more incentive to leave the race now than a boxer would have to toss in the towel after the bell rings to end the final round. He has nothing to lose by staying in the contest until the votes are cast on the convention floor. Something may happen between now and then, leading the superdelegates to change their minds. If not, Sanders will force them to own up to backing Clinton, come what may.

Sparring partners are instantly forgotten, while champions are remembered forever in the history books. I don’t think Sanders came this far just to abandon the ring and leave all the glory and legacy to an opponent who started the contest with most of the judges eager to jump into her pocket.

About Larry M. Elkin 553 Articles

Affiliation: Palisades Hudson Financial Group

Larry M. Elkin, CPA, CFP®, has provided personal financial and tax counseling to a sophisticated client base since 1986. After six years with Arthur Andersen, where he was a senior manager for personal financial planning and family wealth planning, he founded his own firm in Hastings on Hudson, New York in 1992. That firm grew steadily and became the Palisades Hudson organization, which moved to Scarsdale, New York in 2002. The firm expanded to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2005, and to Atlanta, Georgia, in 2008.

Larry received his B.A. in journalism from the University of Montana in 1978, and his M.B.A. in accounting from New York University in 1986. Larry was a reporter and editor for The Associated Press from 1978 to 1986. He covered government, business and legal affairs for the wire service, with assignments in Helena, Montana; Albany, New York; Washington, D.C.; and New York City’s federal courts in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Larry established the organization’s investment advisory business, which now manages more than $800 million, in 1997. As president of Palisades Hudson, Larry maintains individual professional relationships with many of the firm’s clients, who reside in more than 25 states from Maine to California as well as in several foreign countries. He is the author of Financial Self-Defense for Unmarried Couples (Currency Doubleday, 1995), which was the first comprehensive financial planning guide for unmarried couples. He also is the editor and publisher of Sentinel, a quarterly newsletter on personal financial planning.

Larry has written many Sentinel articles, including several that anticipated future events. In “The Economic Case Against Tobacco Stocks” (February 1995), he forecast that litigation losses would eventually undermine cigarette manufacturers’ financial position. He concluded in “Is This the Beginning Of The End?” (May 1998) that there was a better-than-even chance that estate taxes would be repealed by 2010, three years before Congress enacted legislation to repeal the tax in 2010. In “IRS Takes A Shot At Split-Dollar Life” (June 1996), Larry predicted that the IRS would be able to treat split dollar arrangements as below-market loans, which came to pass with new rules issued by the Service in 2001 and 2002.

More recently, Larry has addressed the causes and consequences of the “Panic of 2008″ in his Sentinel articles. In “Have We Learned Our Lending Lesson At Last” (October 2007) and “Mortgage Lending Lessons Remain Unlearned” (October 2008), Larry questioned whether or not America has learned any lessons from the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. In addition, he offered some practical changes that should have been made to amend the situation. In “Take Advantage Of The Panic Of 2008” (January 2009), Larry offered ways to capitalize on the wealth of opportunity that the panic presented.

Larry served as president of the Estate Planning Council of New York City, Inc., in 2005-2006. In 2009 the Council presented Larry with its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award, citing his service to the organization and “his tireless efforts in promoting our industry by word and by personal example as a consummate estate planning professional.” He is regularly interviewed by national and regional publications, and has made nearly 100 radio and television appearances.

Visit: Palisades Hudson

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