Why is Sanders staying in the race? Three political answers

This question is all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Strangely, despite the calculating economists and political scientists that fill my feeds, I have not seen anyone give a rational or political answer.

I see three possibilities that aren’t as cynical or simplistic as “ego”, “he’s a lone wolf” and “because Hillary might go to jail”.

  1. He just spent a year building more political influence (and small donors) than almost any other Democrat in the country. Now he’s going to spend that influence to get policy concessions from Clinton and the party. He will focus on the issues he thinks are in the best interest of the country and his supporters. Negotiations will take at least a few days.
  2. He wants to sit down with his close advisors and friends and think hard about the best way to change the policies he cares most about. A lot of democrats think “fight to the convention and the setting of the party platform” is not the answer. But someone playing the long game might reasonably disagree, and he is taking some time to decide.
  3. He needs time to call all his major supporters and donors and surrogates, and make them feel consulted and mollified before he concedes publicly. This way they come along with him to Clinton’s side.

None of these are mutually exclusive. And all are also consistent with “give the poor guy a night or two to sleep on it”.