Sanders Endorsed Biden
An empty vessel: Biden, Ritalin, and a teleprompter.
When I read the news of Sanders endorsing Biden, I was a bit shocked, sure. But I decided to steel myself up a bit and just wait and see what happened. I set aside my feelings for the moment and got back to work. Last night I made the time to watch the video and sure enough, Bernie Sanders did endorse Biden for president.
I spent most of my time watching Biden, not Bernie. I wanted to see if Biden could show any restraint in this event with an apparent blessing for what is going to be a very difficult journey, one that I’m not even sure Biden can sustain. Biden seemed absolutely giddy that finally, on the third try, he might secure the nomination. I say “might”, because he used guarded language about his status as nominee. He still did not seem sure that he was going to win the nomination.
I felt like I was watching an infomercial. The entire thing seemed completely staged and it was. I didn’t catch it, but someone on Twitter who had watched the same video heard Biden say, “Next card”. Biden’s emotional responses were canned and inauthentic. When he praised Sanders, he sounded like he was praising the next great cell phone.
But I did catch something else. He said that he needed Bernie Sanders to “govern”. That’s an interesting choice of words. Is he thinking that Sanders might be VP? Well, that would be really nice. But Sanders is very much needed in the Senate. I don’t think Sanders wants to leave the Senate unless he is elected president.
Biden seemed particularly focused in that video. He seemed coherent, he kind of lost his place a few times, but he recovered quickly. Sanders played along, and he did so dutifully. Unlike many Democrats I’ve seen on Twitter, I do not see Sanders as a sellout. I see him doing what he has always done. I see him putting good public policy before himself.
Sanders has been in politics now for 40 years. He has intimate knowledge of the election process and he knows something about Joe Biden that the rest of us don’t or he wouldn’t be doing what he is doing. Yes, I know all of the arguments against Joe Biden. The election and the press has been fairly rigged against Sanders and Biden is winning so far.
Biden and Sanders both made a point of fact that they don’t differ all that much in many policy choices, but a few differences do stand out. And where there are differences, they both agreed that their respective staff contingents will work together to hammer out those differences so that at least some of Sanders’ ideas will get into the platform and become something that Biden will support. Biden has said over and over again that he needs our votes to win.
Now there are still 25 states remaining in the contest for the nomination. There is no reason to stop voting for Sanders. Vote for Sanders for his policies, for every delegate he collects will mean more power at the convention. Who knows? He might actually pull up enough votes for a contested convention, and that could get really interesting.
In the likely event that Sanders does not prevail at the convention, then understand that he was always working to get his policies in place. Biden has made some concessions. He’s strongly in favor of a minimum wage of $15 an hour. He’s in favor of more student debt forgiveness and more free public college than before. He’s said he wants to lower the Medicare age to 60. That’s still a pretty big deal. And he’s even borrowed from Elizabeth Warren’s ideas for bankruptcy reform, despite his voting record on bankruptcy.
If after the primaries are over we find Biden is crowned as the nominee, we can still vote for him for the policies. If Trump wins, those policies that we want may have to wait another 4 years. I think it’s important to remember that we got to this place, where the president is openly defying the very laws that he has signed into law, because of identity politics. The only thing that should matter here is the policies.
If Biden says he supports some or all of Bernie Sanders’ policy ideas, let’s take Biden at his word. I don’t like Trump, but I don’t like Biden a lot less than my distaste for Trump. If Trump gets another 4 years, we may still have a Senate with a Republican majority that refuses to exercise oversight of the President. Unless that president is a Democrat. Then they get busy with all manner of investigations, legislation be damned. And if Trump gets another four years, he won’t have to worry about reelection, and he will be dishing up shit for liberals for that entire time, with glee.
Trump is not the problem to be sure. We got here through identity politics, the money primary, and giant campaign budgets. Trump raised more than $200 million in the last quarter. That money says that most of us are lemmings, voting according to the ads we see on TV, on the internet, and on talk radio. And I find myself thinking, “The average IQ of residents in Florida is 95”. That’s what we’re dealing with.
I’m OK either way if Trump wins, if Biden wins, or if Sanders manages to pull off the upset of the millennium. No matter who wins, I believe that the checks and balances built into our institutions will prevent real mayhem. I hope that people in power will respect the laws. I hope that the courts and Congress will start checking the power of whoever is elected. Because the real strength of this country should not depend on who is president, but on the public policy choices we make.