Today, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders officially endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. You can check out their 36 minute live stream here and check out the 5:01 mark where Bernie makes that endorsement.
This comes just five days after Bernie suspended his campaign via live stream. After many hard-fought primaries and caucuses, Bernie claimed that he didn’t have a viable path to victory. He mentioned how over 2 million people donated to his campaign, how over 10 million contributions were made, and how he had over 1 million volunteers. These numbers were historic. Despite his well-supported grassroots campaign, he simply did not win the case for electability.
So why did he endorse Joe Biden?
First, Bernie endorsed Biden because he is a genuinely good man of character. His actions show me that he’s willing to be a team player even after all of the mistreatment he’s received.
Don’t forget the media’s overwhelming negative headlines about him. They were not kind to Bernie almost on a daily basis, even comparing his campaign to the Coronavirus. Don’t forget the Democratic Establishment that dismissed his ideas and did not take his campaign seriously, especially former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton who petulantly claimed “Nobody likes him.” Bernie Sanders truly is the bigger person. All of the negative attitudes toward Sanders don’t hold credibility with an endorsement move like this.
Another point to take into consideration is Sanders’ stance as a progressive Senator from a small state like Vermont. Progressives are out numbered in our government. They have to play within the confines of their governing body whether that be on the local level or federal level. If progressives don’t make concessions or hold back a lot of their concerns, then they risk their strength of their power within the establishment. There are plenty of ways the establishment can hinder a progressive elected official’s influence in government if they upset the powers at be. It’s a fine line to cross, especially if you’re outnumbered.
I believe Bernie had to make that choice as a Senator. He does have a certain amount of leverage and influence within the Democratic caucus. Remember, he led the charge with his resolution to end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen. Bernie did that. More recently, Bernie fought for his provisions of guaranteeing unemployment benefits in the government stimulus package to as a solution to the Coronavirus pandemic. Bernie did that.
Bernie has earned a lot of clout over his decades of service. I believe this endorsement is also in Bernie’s bests interests so he can use his leverage within the Democratic Party.
Conversely, what would happen if Bernie didn’t endorse Biden? Well, he would most likely make it harder for Democrats to unite under Biden to defeat Trump. In addition, there are strong sentiments that would put blame on Bernie supporters if Trump loses. As unfair or as inaccurate as that may be, that’s the consensus among many Democratic circles.
In terms of the movement at large, Bernie’s refusal to endorse would have some very negative implications. First, Bernie would have a barrage of negative news stories written about him as a way to sully his reputation. The media salivates at the mouth for every chance it gets to paint Bernie in a negative light. This would hurt Bernie’s credibility and his influence within the Democratic Party.
Although Bernie’s endorsement decision is a very personal one, this would reflect how people perceive other progressives and democratic socialists. Would it be safe to assume that if Bernie doesn’t endorse then neither will progressives? Would that lead to people believing if we can’t trust Bernie then we can’t trust progressives? The ripple effect from no endorsement would actually speak volumes.
I know a lot of candidates running for office around the country who endorsed Bernie. A lot of our campaigns uphold Bernie’s values. If Bernie didn’t make amends like this in the national spotlight, I’m sure that would have disastrous effects on every Pro-Bernie campaign. It would lead the general public to believe any Berniecrat can’t be trusted. The negative cloud around Bernie would hurt Pro-Bernie candidates both locally and nationwide.
All of the progressive or democratic socialist candidates working so hard and running on their values could potentially lose their elections. Bernie inspired us to fight for our values but at what cost? Does it mean we fight so hard that we lose? Does that help the movement in the long run? Bernie didn’t endorse just to save his career. He also did it to help all of us.
He always was a man of his word: #NotMeUs.
Whether you choose to endorse Biden or not, I hope you can understand where Bernie is coming from.