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.