Bit windy out here on my favorite limb. . .  but I like it brisk. So here I am again, making a prediction in advance of results — but I think my limb is solidly attached to the tree.

I predict that Joe Biden will have a solid, perhaps a sweeping victory tonight. I also predict that, no matter what happens tonight, Bernie will stay in the race one more week; he wants that one-on-one debate with Biden on Sunday in Phoenix (though it could be canceled or scaled back because of the coronavirus). I then predict that Biden will have another good night on the 17th, and that on the 18th or shortly thereafter, Bernie will gracefully suspend his campaign.

Why do I think so?

First, everyone learned some lessons in 2016. One is the dangers of purity, letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. That way of thinking got us Trump. Another difference from 2016 is that everyone (every Democrat, anyway) is now highly sensitized to Russian meddling, and is wary of it happening again — so Russian trolls urging Bernie to stay in and muck things up will be greeted with great suspicion. Third is that Biden is not Hillary; Bernie and Hillary couldn’t (and still can’t) stand each other. I won’t say Bernie has a soft spot for Uncle Joe, but he doesn’t seem interested in all-out war with him either. Also, this time around, Bernie got every chance in the world to be heard, to put his platform before the voters square and fair, and he could not get more than 30% to agree with him. In addition, unlike 2016 the momentum has gathered behind one candidate and shows no sign or changing its mind.

But the main difference from 2016 is Donald Trump.

Four years ago, Trump was known mainly to New Yorkers, who couldn’t stand him, and seen as a joke around much of the country. We never thought he could win. But he tapped into a strain of resentment and made it work for him. Now it’s four years later and everyone knows what an ignorant, incompetent, uncontrollable, preening narcissist he is — but one who still commands 40% of the vote, inexplicably. (That could slip as his voters start dying from his incompetence, but we can’t count on it.)

And that’s the thing. Bernie knows that Trump will ruin the country if he gets another 4 years (hell, he can ruin it in the next 4 months), he knows (he’s been told often enough) that his extended campaign in 2016 hurt the Dems’ chances of beating Trump, and I really do believe he wants Trump out more than he wants himself in. He’s already given us a hint of this:

“I'm not a masochist who wants to stay in a race that can't be won. But right now, that's a little bit premature,” Sanders told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “Let's not determine what will happen on Tuesday and what will happen in the future.”…

On Tuesday the 17th, Ohio, Illinois, and Florida are among the states voting. Florida will go for Biden. In Illinois, while Obama won’t speak out publicly, I think most Illinois Democrats know how he feels and they are likely to for Biden. Both Ohio and Illinois will also make up their minds based in part on what happens in Michigan, which has a similar demographic with lots of working class people. If Michigan goes for Biden, as I think it will, it will pull in Ohio and Illinois as well.

Bernie can honestly say he fought the good fight, and now it’s time to back the voters’ and GO GET TRUMP OUT OF THERE.

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