It is rather sad that Bernie Sanders has suspended his campaign and thrown his weight behind Joe Biden but it is important for those ‘outside of the moment’ the key slogan “Not Me. Us” is more than just a cutesy saying but the corner stone of the movement. The movement is more than just one person, it is a shared set of policies and a philosophy that transcend a single person so this idea that if Bernie were to disappear that the movement would disappear ignores the reality of what is taking place. Another thing to also consider is that because the movement is bound together based on a shared set of policies and a philosophy then the idea that Bernie coming out an endorsing Biden with the exception (by the ‘enlightened centrists’) that the members of the movement will magically fall into line is an attempt to super impose a hierarchical top down model to one which is a ground up movement.
What makes the situation particularly pathetic are the number of people from the ‘Biden Brigade’ who are throwing a temper tantrum because Bernie supporters demand that Biden win them over all the while the ‘Biden Brigade’ ignore what one of leader’s major surrogate, Lindy Li, said if Bernie had won the nomination (you may need to jump to 13:12 on the video).
So when someone, representing the Biden campaign, openly states that they would refuse to vote for Bernie Sanders there isn’t a single complaint from the ‘enlightened centrists’ crying about party unity but the moment that Bernie supporters demand to be won over through policy concessions (thus indicating that that they’re open to voting for Biden if there are policy concessions vs. Lindy Li who flat out refuses to vote for Bernie under any circumstance) then that is ‘one step too far’.
Take for example the matter of medicare for all – it is understandable that Biden has his own healthcare plan and it would make sense for him to say that he is going to first focus on getting the changes, that he mentions in his manifesto, passed first but he is open to medicare for all at a later date if progressives/centre left are able to get it through both houses. The problem is that Biden has said, even if it were passed through both houses he would still veto it. It is one thing to say, “my manifesto takes first priority but I’m not going to veto progressive legislation that you’re able to get through both houses and can be demonstrated that it is fiscally sustainable for the long term” vs “I don’t care if you get it through both houses, I’m going to veto it”.
Bernie Sanders has come out saying that not getting behind Biden is ‘irresponsible’, which in all due respects, I disagree with. Bernie might have a point if Biden had left the door open to discussing policy with the progressive and left wing of the party but he has openly stated that when faced with with a Medicare for all bill that has made it through both houses that he would veto it. Through that one utterance he has declared that he would vote any progressive/left wing policy even if it received support from a majority in both houses thus indicating that he has no intention of actually being transformative but instead merely treading water doing the least amount that he can get away with. As someone on the left wing or progressive – is it actually irresponsible to refuse to vote for someone who has such contempt for the voter that said candidate have decided to actively fight against progressive/left wing policies?
For those slagging off those who have tweeted that they wouldn’t vote for Biden in the general election by labelling them as ‘privileged’ – need one be reminded that although there are those who have a lot to lose with Trump wins a second term, there are people who have nothing to lose if Trump has a second term because they’ve already lost everything already. Remember the quote attributed to James Baldwin “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.” – if you want to win over those who have nothing left to lose then you need to give them hope by being genuinely open to listening to them and taking onboard their concerns in a genuine way rather than just dismissing said people as ‘privileged’.
Although I am not an American thus not able to vote in the election, those of outside of the US feel the impact of any political decisions that Americans collectively make. When the marginally better major party makes really dumb decisions then hose of us outside of the US feel the impact – a good example of that would be the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, the Iran Nuclear deal, the trade war between China and the US and more. Lets hope that the American voter does the right thing on the day.