Another nightmare for Joe Biden: Bernie's still alive and kicking

That long farewell from Bernie Sanders wasn't such a long farewell.

Actually, Bernie never left the race, even though he said he had suspended his campaign, and New York State, doing what seemed logical, called off its one-candidate primary.

Now Joe Biden has another problem.

Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign blasted the New York State Board of Elections’ announcement on Monday that his name would not appear on the ballot for the state's presidential primary in June, calling the move an "outrage" and "a blow to American democracy."

"Just last week Vice President Biden warned the American people that President Trump could use the current crisis as an excuse to postpone the November election. Well, he now has a precedent thanks to New York state," Sanders 2020 senior adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement.

This doesn't exactly sound as if the race for the Democratic nomination was ever over.

New York claims it canceled its primary because Sanders dropped out and endorsed Joe Biden.  That sounds about right from a pragmatic New York perspective.  Coronavirus and all that — don't want voters standing in line and catching disease — the old all-mail-in ballot argument.  And New York doesn't have that, so just cut to the chase and give Biden what he was going to get anyway.

But they didn't understand much about Bernie.

Bernie wants to have his cake and eat it, too.  He already knows he's not going to win, so he dropped out.  But the socialist candidate was actually hoping to stay as a name on the ballot in the race anyway, presumably to pick up delegates and then use his delegates to force Biden to drive the party platform leftward, according to Politico.

Actually, it's just as likely that something else was happening: Sanders was staying but not staying in the race on the expectation that Biden would implode, and he'd be there in the wings to pick up the nomination.

The Tara Reade sexual assault charges continue to keep the heat on Biden to drop out, the Bernie-ites are all over this issue on Twitter, and there's a growing pile of evidence that he's guilty. 

Now Biden's looking at the prospect of some kind of party split, with the outraged Bernie-ites angrier than a stick-beaten hive of bees.

They've been cheated.  Again.  Bernie, from his own perspective, dropped out on the condition that his name remain on the ballot.  Team Biden's surrogates, on the other hand, said that once you're out, what's the point?

It has all the makings for another party conflict.

Comically, Biden seems to be playing ho-hum about the whole thing and has leaked a news story out about how he's assembling his transition team, holding court, and taking meetings with a parade of establishment Democrats and a NeverTrump Republicans looking to be part of his Cabinet (using Zoom, Joe?).  He's basically measuring the drapes, trying to send the message to Sanders (and Trump) that it's all over. 

But we all know he's got a problem: he's got the nomination all sewn up and is still going to be fighting all the way to the convention — not just fighting Bernie, but attempting to win over his angry and embittered supporters who are convinced they've been cheated. 

Already, 15% of the Bernie people have told pollsters they plan to vote for Donald Trump.

Speaking of Trump, rest assured that Team Trump is going to make hay of this and remind the Bernie-ites over and over that the process is rigged.  Since the Bernie-ites already think this, there's already some talk on Twitter from the Bernie bros on going third=party.

What a mess.  Sound like something Biden's capable of cleaning up?  Life's tough when that rival who dropped out...didn't drop out.

Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of image by Richard HoareCC BY-SA 2.0, and details from two photos by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0.