Bernie Sanders Is Right
And I trust his judgment on Joe Biden.
I can see the shitshow on Twitter and in the press. I see how the Biden Supporters are telling the Bernie Supporters that if they vote for anyone but Biden, it’s a vote for Trump. That’s called “antagonism”. And that’s from the same people who are silent about Joe’s abuses. They are silent about Joe’s history. They are perfectly willing to lower to bar just to defeat Trump. And I’m telling them that every jibe, every insult, every conflating statement they make against a Sanders Supporter, to shame them into voting for Biden in November, increases the risk of converting a Sanders Supporter into a Trump voter.
Do you like being shamed into voting for someone you find offensive? I sure don’t. How many people will have the impulse control not to gag when they vote for Biden, wishing they could vote for Sanders as the nominee instead? I do. I have. I believe that Sanders started his campaign with a contingency plan. I believe that he has a plan and that it is a good plan.
Take note Biden supporters:
Sanders did not endorse Biden. Sanders is keeping his delegates. Sanders is not withdrawing from the race. The 26 remaining states will still see his name on the primary ballots. He will take whatever delegates he can still get. He’s just suspending his campaign. Did you get that Oh Mighty Biden supporters? I hope that rings your bell. You’re on notice now. Try for a minute to imagine Sanders as an ally rather than an adversary. I’m doing that with Biden right now.
Walk with me while I’m cooling my heels. The first step is acceptance. Once that’s passed, then we can figure out how to work with what we got. I can accept Biden as the nominee. And I’m pretty sure Sanders saw this coming. He has already done this once, and that means he learned many hard lessons the first time around.
I noticed that Sanders has repeated and graciously called Joe Biden a friend and I think he did that for a reason. He doesn’t go negative. He’s not fighting an adversary. He sees a potential ally in Biden. For whatever reason, and we can’t know what he’s thinking, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to antagonize Biden Supporters. Why not? Because he is clear he may need their support when the convention starts.
There will be some sort of convention. Somebody will figure something out to make it all work. This is why, unlike some people I’ve seen on social media, I’m not calling Sanders a traitor. I think he has a plan or he would have dropped everything and walked away and that would be traitorous.
I can see now, the political experience of Sanders at work. He did not want to antagonize Biden’s supporters. He wants to retain influence with them. He sees the polling that says that a majority of Americans want Medicare For All, and he intends to capitalize on that sentiment, despite their conflicting preference for Joe Biden. Sanders must know that in this pandemic, with millions unemployed and without health insurance, that there is still a fight for Medicare For All. Joe Biden may be dead set against Medicare For All, but this pandemic will leave him little room to oppose it.
I believe in checks and balances. I see that Trump does not. But if Biden believes in checks and balances, and if he knows that politics is transactional, with some “give and take”, then he must be considering someone for VP that could catch some fire with the progressives.
I see talk of Nina Turner as a favorite among progressives. Stacey Abrams is also in there. There has been some talk among Sanders fans of Elizabeth Warren, but the taste is a little foul there. If Biden really intends to unite the party, then he must consider a VP that is compelling and attractive for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Nina Turner would be just about right.
Biden says that this is not about ego and that he is in this race to beat Trump. Well, if he really wants to beat Trump, he can’t afford to lose 33% of the Democrats that are progressive. And he can’t afford to turn off the progressive independent voters — you know, those people who’ve been told they have nowhere else to go. That is what Biden represents to me. That phrase, “Ha! You’ve got nowhere else to go! Now bow down and vote for Biden you twerp!” That’s the message I get from Biden supporters gloating over their win. Gloat at your peril if you really want to win in November.
When I saw all the other candidates endorse Biden, I could only think of one thing: cabinet picks. Every major candidate who endorsed Biden must be dreaming of a cabinet-level position if Biden wins. Yeah, that’s kind of foul, too. But if Biden wants to win, a progressive VP might not be enough. He might have to entertain a few progressives in his cabinet. If his platform now is more progressive than any Democrat in history, then his supporters won’t mind having a few progressives tag along for the inauguration.
If we harbor any suspicion that Biden is not of sound mind, that he suffers from some sort of cognitive decline (FOX News is all over this one), then we need someone there to watch him. A good VP, or even secretary of state pick can do this. Properly done, a progressive in a powerful position can prevent the kind of betrayal we’ve seen from moderates (like Joe) before. It would be good to have someone providing some checks on his power. Not necessarily an adversary, but someone who can elbow him in the ribs when he hits the guardrails.
I’m not that worried about Medicare for All anymore. I think it’s inevitable. The pandemic will eventually force the legislative agenda on Medicare for All. We will need an insurer that won’t go bankrupt. It’s really hard to go bankrupt when you’re a sovereign government. No insurance company can make that claim, and no matter how much money they’ve given to Biden’s SuperPACs, most insurance companies are going to crack like eggs in the next few months over Coronavirus claims. They will need bailouts. And progressives in Congress, the cabinet, and the White House can apply pressure where needed.
Seeing Trump lose to “Sleepy Joe” would be sweet, probably even better than seeing him lose to Sanders, for I believe that Sanders is a superior candidate. It would give the lie to Trump’s superiority complex if he were to lose in November. And there is a very good chance that he will lose, even to Biden. Why?
This article from Yahoo! Finance made some rather dire predictions on March 20th. Everything they have said in there has come to pass. They projected that on April 7th, we’d have 12,800 deaths. They were low by 48 deaths. They also said this:
Biden doesn’t have to be a marketing genius to blame Donald Trump for the death of 20,000+ Americans. He could very well label the recession as the “Trump Recession”. That’s why I believe Trump will lose the election and the stock market will start pricing the possibility of corporate tax rate increases pretty soon.
So I’m an optimist. And when faced with an untenable position, as I was when I read that Sanders had suspended his campaign, I had to rethink how I was going to move forward. I had to accept Biden as the nominee. I had to see him as the vessel we need to get what we want, and right now, that’s universal health care, single-payer health care, or Medicare For All. We know the concept, we just have to settle on a name. And the fastest path to that goal is to remove Trump and get someone else in there, someone willing to do his job rather than fuck around for six weeks waiting for a pandemic. I hope Biden is that guy. Right now, he might be all we got.
Biden is not my first choice. He stinks of corruption to high heaven, but he’s there. If he really wants to be president, then we need to lean on him as hard as we can to get what we want. And we can do that. He even said, “It’s not me. Us.” Let’s put him to his word, and never let up.