“And so today I’m announcing the suspension of my campaign. Please note that I do not make this decision lightly. In fact, it’s a very difficult and painful decision.”Bernie Sanders
In my last post I had said that Bernie Sanders had no path to the Democrat nomination. He too has also come to accept this truth and yesterday announced that was suspending his campaign and certainly it wasn’t due to a lack of ideas or money but due to reality. Bernie Sanders had hoped that he could mirror what Ronald Reagan had done on his path to the Presidency, lose one contest to be the party nominee but use it to springboard his next and ultimately take the White House. Unfortunately for him and his loyal supporters this won’t be the case and by the next election cycle Sanders will be too old to truly consider a strong run.
To Bernie Sanders’ credit, he has done more to shape the Democrat Party without winning the nomination than anyone that I could think of, or my research could turn up. Many consider his achievements far greater than fellow Vermonter Howard Dean, the only person I could find who might come close to what Sanders has achieved. His supporters have a passion for which cannot rival anywhere else in the world, they are far more energetic, loud and proud than the United Kingdom’s equivalent Jeremy Corbyn. However, their work isn’t done yet.
I will leave my message to Bernie supporters until the end, although most reading this could gather what it will be. To the surprise of some Bernie will not be freeing up his delegates and will be keeping his name on state primary ballots in the hope of being able to use the number of delegates to push the party platform more towards his ideas. A bold strategy and a smart one for him, he will never occupy the White House to see his ideas come to pass so he is putting the ideas onto the candidate who will have the chance to and that will be Joe Biden.
I would however mark caution here, liberalism since the rise of populism has retreated more and more into its ideological camp and with every loss it has incurred it has doubled down on this. Meanwhile relatively, conservatism has stayed entrenched in where it is and doesn’t move more towards the purer end of its ideology, or to put it another way stayed where the centre can be picked up.
If the Democrats cannot attract the independents and the moderate Republicans who cannot tolerate Trump as President, they will lose the election coming in November. The Obama coalition as it was called attracted everything from the hardcore left to moderate Republicans, this coalition is what Biden has been shown to be rebuilding. There is just one great issue however which has materialised. The hardcore Bernie Sanders supporters.
Whilst I hate referring to twitter and it is not the be all and end all of the world, the amount of #NeverBiden I have seen is worrying. Part of the reason for Hillary Clinton’s defeat is that the Democrats failed to heal the wounds sustained in the primaries, many thought that Clinton didn’t concede enough ground to the Sanders voters which didn’t help matters. Therefore we have a paradox, staying to the centre whilst also appealing to the left. This is the balancing act that the Democrats will need to manage.
I spoke with some people yesterday in the Unites States both from Michigan, the first was an Elizabeth Warren supporter who was extremely disappointed that Joe Biden was the nominee but told me that she was happy that the primary was over so 2016 wouldn’t be repeated, she explained that to her there was time for the party to heal and unite against Trump. The second was a Bernie supporter who was crying and told me that they wouldn’t vote for Biden and would vote for Trump to spite the DNC who had fixed the result.
In these two people in the same state, a state that the Democrats will need to win back, it shows the issues that need solving. Bernie Sanders supports believe that due to the moderate wing of the party coming behind Joe Biden meant there was a plot to ensure he’d never win the nomination and whilst Sanders did well in the first three contests of the primary season, it wasn’t the DNC but primary voters in South Carolina that put Biden back in the race and sent him forward to eventually win the nomination.
Backing a candidate and losing is painful, especially when you believe in their ideals and their vision for the future is what you aspire to, I’ve experienced the same pain with leadership elections for my party, but whoever the party choose you have to back. Let me put it this way, Donald Trump would not put any of Bernie Sanders’ ideas into policy and would kill the dream many of his supporters want. Joe Biden might not have been the person you wanted in the White House, he won’t put all of the ideas into policy but he will do some. Is it better to have something or nothing?
The Elizabeth Warren supporter said to be something that I felt was the essence of what the Democrats, what Warren, Sanders, Bloomberg, Harris, Booker etc. supporters need to do if they want to win in 2020 and defeat Donald Trump. About swallowing their pride and accepting that the primary season is now over. Another way of saying the liberal broadcaster Rachel Maddow’s famous adage “In the primaries, vote with your heart. In the general, vote with your head.”
The only person who can bring his voters to support Biden is Sanders himself, he will need to endorse Biden and actively work to ensure that in November his supports come out to back Biden. He will need to be reminded of the Indivisible Pledge that he signed near the start of his campaign and remind his supporters that while the revolution might not come today, if they want it to start beginning they need to remove Donald Trump from the White House.
For Democrats and those anti Trump, the message in the words of the Elizabeth Warren supporter is clear: “Vote Blue, it doesn’t matter who.”