Howard Dean knows something about coming up short. Here’s his advice for Bernie Sanders.

Dean: It depends how he “stays in the race.” If staying in the race means continuing to raise policy issues and attacking Trump while quietly negotiating over the platform, future rules, speaking slots etc., I don’t think there is a big problem — although of course it would be easier if he endorses Secretary next week.


If “staying in the race” means attacking the Democratic nominee personally and complaining that the process is unfair, he will quickly diminish himself in addition to making it harder to beat Trump.


FIX: Describe the psyche of a candidate who comes from nowhere to have a chance and then loses. How did you process that sort of boom/bust cycle in your 2004 race?


Dean: Losing a presidential race when  you have been as successful as Bernie has is very difficult personally. Politics is a substitute for war, and this war is over who gets to hold the most powerful office in the world. War by nature is never fair. So the loser feels cheated; the loser feels that they have let down their supporters, and that they should rightfully have won. But there is no reward for complaining. You eventually have to come to terms with the loss and see what you have gained from it so that, to quote Bernie, “the struggle continues.”


The Democratic primary season is basically over. Clinton has won. Bernie has lost but continues to insist he will remain in the race through the Democratic convention later in the summer. Sanders is likely to come under major pressure over the next few days — and weeks — from everywhere within the Democratic establishment to get out. To try to understand Sanders’s psyche — and what he may do next — I reached out to another insurgent presidential candidate who found a way to make peace with his party: Former Vermont governor Howard Dean. My conversation with Dean, conducted via email and edited only for grammar, is below.



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