Can Bernie Win By Losing?

Bernie Sanders is out, which doesn’t come as a surprise given that his campaign was doomed to fail except for Bernie’s refusal to accept the notion that he will never be more than a footnote in a socialist history book. Yet, in the minds of his followers, this miraculously gives him greater power than he ever had as a candidate, and they are now flexing their might to make the presumptive Dem candidate, Joe Biden, bend to their will. Will Biden be Bernie’s Bitch?

Bernie Sanders has ended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, which is a tragedy, because he was right about virtually everything. He was right from the very beginning, when he advocated a total overhaul of the American health care system in the 1970s. He remains right now, as a pandemic stresses the meager resources of millions of citizens to their breaking point, and possibly to their death. He was right when he seemed to be the only alarmist in a political climate of complacency. He is right now that he’s the only politician  unsurprised to see drug companies profiteering from a lethal plague with Congress’s help. In politics, as in life, being right isn’t necessarily rewarded. But at least there’s some dignity in it.

If he was so right, why didn’t he beat Biden? Berniebros will argue that the campaign was rigged, that olds just didn’t get it, that Bernie was, well, Bernie.

None of this is pleasant to hear. And Mr. Sanders has never been a particularly mellifluous speaker. Much has been made in the past several years of his loudness, his anger, his bracing, impolitic bluntness. But that, too, is a sign of his respect for voters.

Odd how that could be a description of Trump as well, but the difference is they love Bernie and hate Trump, so it’s completely different. As Elizabeth Warren was the candidate of social justice and intersectionality, and failed, Bernie is the candidate of the poor.

But just as minorities didn’t back Warren, the working class of America doesn’t back Bernie. Instead, both find their support in tiny cohort of college-educated white progressives who are loud, unashamed of outrageous accusations and inclined to swarm like little gnats on their detractors, and fundamentally ignorant. Not that they care that their every Utopian scheme is irrational, untenable and simplistic. They believe.

Right now, they believe they won in their twisted way, and so they hold out their vote like a carrot in front of Biden to do their bidding or lose.

Several youth-focused organizations, some of which had previously endorsed Mr. Sanders, sent an open letter to Mr. Biden “expressing concern over his inability to earn the trust of the vast majority of voters under 45 years old.”

The letter, signed by groups including Justice Democrats, the Sunrise Movement and March for Our Lives Action Fund, sought to pressure Mr. Biden’s team in two key areas: policy and personnel. On the policy front, the letter urged Mr. Biden to adopt expansive proposals like the climate-focused Green New Deal, the elimination of the Senate filibuster, and free college tuition. It also asked Mr. Biden to include elected officials who backed Mr. Sanders or Senator Elizabeth Warren on important campaign policy teams and in strategy decisions.

Essentially, If Joe Biden wants their vote, he needs to be Bernie. He needs to adopt Bernie’s policies, install the same failed progressive politician that the Democratic Party, no less America, rejected into a position of power and influence. In failure, they believe they are just as powerful as they would have been in success.

Bernie Sanders has yet to endorse Joe Biden. He has refused to remove his name from primary ballots yet to occur. Elizabeth Warren has an op-ed in the New York Times today that is peak Warren, entitled “Congress Needs a Plan to Confront the Coronavirus. I Have One.” It consists of strings of empty platitudes comprised of her laundry list of progressive schemes tenuously connected to the pandemic, the sort of “everything proves my priors” position that’s beloved by the unduly passionate. But of course she has a plan.

Implicit in the power struggle between the left and far left is that Biden can’t win without the vote of progressives, the Bernie and Warren supporters who not only believe they’re right, but believe they’re the majority of America despite their numeriosity challenges. They believe they’re the future (will there be an AOC sweep in 2024?). That both Bernie and Warren failed doesn’t seem to alter their expectations in the slightest, which could well explain their support for their heroes’ policies.

Joe Biden is a deeply flawed candidate, as was made abundantly clear in his past two failed presidential bids. He remains flawed, as revealed by his unprincipled pandering for female #MeToo votes. But what Joe Biden is not is Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren. And that’s about the best one can say about Biden.

Biden isn’t inspiring. He has no bold vision. He carries a ton of baggage from his very long time in politics. He can barely get a sentence out without fumbling or making a gaffe. He can be very creepy around women and children. He never had a fastball, and he’s still lost whatever speed he once had. But he’s not Trump, Sanders or Warren.

Will Joe Biden seek the presidency as the candidate who wants to return America to a modestly uncorrupt liberal Democracy, a candidate for the vast majority of America who wants equality, liberty and prosperity for all, or will he try to morph into some sort of Progressive Lite to pander to the far left, the identity and critical theory crowd, for fear that without their support, he won’t win? Sanders is out. Warren is out. The Democrats rejected them, their policies, their rhetoric, their plans. Will they achieve in failure what they couldn’t achieve by election? That’s up to Biden.

28 thoughts on “Can Bernie Win By Losing?

  1. B. McLeod

    It has been a sad contest all the way along, and finally collapses into a default choice of Biden. Now visibly having mental accuity issues, this really means voters will be electing whomever will be in the kitchen cabinet that carries Biden’s administration (but in any case, not-Trump). The underlying assumption here is that a personable, senile guy (who may or may not be a little rapey) will be more palatable to the voters than the current, blustery, ignorant guy (who may or may not be a little rapey). As in the prior election, the only thing that is certain here is that our wreck of a two-party system has brought voters another Hobson’s choice. Hooray.

  2. PseudonymousKid


    After H-dawg’s failure the Dems really are putting Biden up? He’s going to lose and lose big. He doesn’t have the reality distortion field. He has a rape accuser and has supported #metoo in the past. Why isn’t he DOA? I’m believing the victim, just like he advocates.

    On feelz alone, I want to throw a tantrum and salt the earth so nothing grows again. They did my boy Bernie dirty. I didn’t even get a chance to vote for him. Time to burn it all down and start fresh with something else.

    So, Dems, way to make my decision on who to vote for difficult even though it’s fucking Trump you’re up against. Dumbasses. Biden better pander to my cheetos and pot sensibilities, or else I’ll throw my vote in the garbage can again. I promise to stop stomping my feet at some point, hopefully soon.


  3. Pedantic Grammar Police

    “The Democrats rejected them”

    This is accurate for Warren but not for Bernie. The Democrats didn’t reject him, the DNC did. The chicanery was even more blatant this time around than in 2016. For example, Bernie’s volunteers caught them red-handed in Iowa stealing votes with their “vote counting” app, and they covered it up with talk about a glitch. Then they delayed the results for 6 days, and then claimed that Buttigieg had beat him by a nose. Bernie did not make a fuss about this, and the stories about his volunteers discovering the “glitch” by comparing their on-the-ground counts to the ones reported by the app were quickly forgotten and can no longer be found in Google results without a diligent search for specific phrases. Bernie didn’t make a fuss; he just laid there and tried to enjoy it.

    1. SHG Post author

      PGP, if people at SJ wanted to read insanely absurd conspiracy idiocy from reddit, they would go to reddit rather than here. Since we’ve talked about this before, I post this only so others are forced to see the sort of insanity I have to deal with. If you want to comment here, take off the tin foil hat.

      1. Pedantic Grammar Police

        I don’t read Reddit. I was watching mainstream news sites that night, and they were reporting that Bernie’s volunteers (he had 25,000 in Iowa) were finding “discrepancies” between the totals that they recorded and the totals being reported by the app, and then later they started to report that the app (created by a company called, no joke, Shadow) had “malfunctioned.” AFAIK nobody on Bernie’s team explicitly accused them of cheating, so maybe it was just a huge coincidence, that just happened to ruin Bernie’s momentum. One of several huge coincidences that all just coincidentally happened to hurt Bernie and help Biden. Also the DNC has a very nice bridge that you might be interested in, and they will give you a discount as a returning buyer.

        1. SHG Post author

          We’re all aware of what happened in Iowa. That doesn’t give rise to a vast DNC conspiracy against Bernie. He lost because people didn’t vote for him, not because of a bad app in Iowa.

          1. Pedantic Grammar Police

            That was just one example of a clear pattern of behavior on the DNCs part. If you didn’t notice that the DNC took him out, you weren’t paying attention.

  4. Rendall

    I’m actually pretty sad Bernie’s out. Sure, no serious person took him seriously, but the guy advocates for universal healthcare and worker protections, not seizing the means of production. As an emigrant abroad who sees all those things actually working in practice, I wish people would just take my word for it and give the guy a shot. Oh well. Vermin Supreme it is, then.

    1. SHG Post author

      I’ve been wondering whether commmenters are just trolling me of late, given that almost no one makes an effort to stay on topic or not go down the rabbit hole. Are you trolling me, Rendall?

      1. Rendall

        Trolling? No, not intentionally. I will leave an April Fool’s comment one of these years, but only on April Fool’s. The stars have not yet aligned. This year, our current global straits felt too much like a worldwide April Fool’s joke, so an April Fool’s joke would have felt too much *gestures vaguely everywhere*.

        I did, however, post that understanding there was a high risk of annoying you, but again that was not my intention! I usually don’t leave a comment for that reason. Sometimes my opinions annoy even myself, so I tend to hold them close.

        This post was a rare de-lurk. The topic, speculation on the effect of Sanders’ and Warren’s supporters on Biden’s bid, includes some setup with which I disagree and I might almost call question-begging. I read the topic paraphrased thusly: “Given that Sanders’ had a quixotic, doomed, ultimately silly platform, should Biden give any ground at all to Sanders’ equally quixotic, doomed, ultimately silly supporters?” If I’m mischaracterizing and misunderstanding, my apologies, but given this understanding, you might see why I, speaking as a Sanders supporter, might have trouble responding precisely on topic. Even now, I’m resisting manfully enumerating the ways that Sanders isn’t all that bad and #notallberniebros

        Anyway, my apologies for leaving a comment that could be mistaken for trolling! And for being off-topic! Again!

  5. GBarry

    It seems unlikely that Biden would pivot significantly towards Bernie’s supporters. It’s not his cup of tea, his success was based on appealing to folks to whom such a pivot would be unappealing, and I’m sure his campaign knows it. Sure, he’ll make some pleasant-sounding noises towards the young progressives who dominate the blogosphere, but he knows where his bread is being buttered. A distinction I would make between Warren and Bernie is that Warren has a fairly good idea how our economy works, and had some pragmatic ideas as to what could be done to change our current system (Bernie is a purist – he doesn’t care how his principles would translate into practice). However, once the campaign began, she sold herself out in an effort to attract the woke vote, and discovered that (a) they were loyal to Bernie (and in any event, there weren’t enough of them), and (b) she lost her moderate supporters, who deserted en masse to Biden. Because when the alternative is four more years of Trump, Biden starts to look really good. I hope that Warren is going to stand as a lesson for moderate/progressive democratic candidates for some time to come.

    1. SHG Post author

      Are you close dear friends with Biden since childhood or do you suffer from delusions that you somehow know him so well that you can predict what the fuck someone you aren’t and don’t know from a hole in the wall will do?

      1. Miles

        Had you been able to get past the first line, you would have learned how Warren was a swell gal before the wokes got to her and should be warning for the future of the Democratic Party. I don’t know how you do this.

        And where’s GD and Fubar? No Fubar since he posted that crazy hydroxychloroquine shit.

        1. Guitardave

          A few things to consider, Miles.
          Some kinds of politically motivated people never conspire in their efforts to have power.
          Some other kinds of people never get fed the fuck up with being insulted by stupid, lying politicians and the idiots who still believe in them.

            1. Guitardave

              It’s not as poetic as Kristopherson’s line, but..
              “when you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to give”

  6. Hunting Guy

    Being a cynical type, I have to wonder what they offered Bernie to drop out.

    Pay off his campaign debts? Buy him another house? A cabinet position?

    I’m not being a conspiracy nut, just basing my thoughts on past political history.

    1. SHG Post author

      Not an unreasonable question, given Bernie proclivities. But he did, which is where this post starts.

  7. Dan

    “the elimination of the Senate filibuster,”

    …and once again, we see the delusion that they’ll (1) take the Senate in November, and (2) keep it in perpetuity. Never mind that the filibuster is a matter of the internal operating rules of the Senate, and therefore completely out of the President’s control.

  8. Jake


    It is possible moderates, and more importantly, the Biden campaign will overestimate the power fear of 4 more years with the dotard-in-chief has over Sanders supporters and as a result, fail to move an inch to the left. Personally, I think that would be a mistake.

    1. SHG Post author

      Politics aside, will it better serve Biden to pander to the Bernie/Warren left or the moderate and rational middle? Are you willing (or happy, for all I know) to suffer another term of Darth Cheeto if Biden doesn’t promise a chicken in every pot?

  9. Rendall

    To be *on* topic, I want to dissect this paragraph, here:

    “… or will [Biden] try to morph into some sort of Progressive Lite to pander to the far left, the identity and critical theory crowd, for fear that without their support, he won’t win?”

    Have you met the Democratic Party lately? The Democratic is entirely the identity and critical theory crowd. Last election, as we all know, they tried to shame the entire nation as sexist for not supporting HRC, and would deride anyone who had another perspective, or foresight, as it turned out. As for Biden, wasn’t the Dear Colleague letter under his watch as VP? Hasn’t he been #believingher since that was a thing? I could list myriad ways that Biden has explicitly supported the policies of those people, but I have read of some them in this very blog.

    So, no. Whatever differences there are between Biden and Sanders, other than evident cognitive decline, “critical theory pandering” is not one of them.

    1. SHG Post author

      I read an analysis from the SJW perspective on why Bernie crashed and burned. The assertion was that the same lazy incompetence of Bernie’s supporters that compelled them to demand free rides applied to their laziness to get off their butts and vote. I found this curious, given the failure of Warren (and Hillary voters last election) to vote because they couldn’t figure out how stamps worked.

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