Tom Scocca in Slate:
The Wisconsin primary had to be the end for Bernie Sanders. The logic of it was inexorable. Here was the definitive Trump 2016 state, where as dozens of diner-safari retrospective stories told us, an alienated electorate had failed to rally to Hillary Clinton, tilting the national map ever so slightly but decisively into the red. The dream of the Sanders revolution was the dream of rousing those Wisconsin voters to his side, to energize a new coalition of the young and poor and hopeful in the name of a better democratic future. When that didn’t happen, it was time for Sanders to go. It was essentially impossible, as Sanders said in his live-streamed concession speech, for him to overcome Joe Biden’s lead in the delegate count.
There was, however, a puzzling aspect to this mathematical consensus: The returns from Wisconsin won’t be released until the week after Sanders’ concession. Even when those numbers come out, they’ll be nothing but the debris from a voting process that imploded under the strain of the pandemic and the malice of the Republican-controlled state and federal supreme courts—tens of thousands of mail-in ballots thrown away or never delivered to voters in the first place; 97 percent of polling places in Milwaukee closed; the thousands of people who turned out anyway risking their lives to stand in line. No one could plausibly describe what took place in Wisconsin as a democratic election.
As such, it was the perfect conclusion to Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 Democratic nominating contest. A decisive non-event wrapped up a primary season in which nearly half the states never had any say before it was over, and the majority of people who did vote were focused on trying to guess which candidate someone else would be most likely to want to vote for. In the swirl of anxiety over the question of electability against Donald Trump, the basic act of electing someone got pulled under and drowned.