Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., visits outside a polling location at Warren E. Bow Elementary School in Detroit, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
You may have noticed there was something peculiar about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ announcement on Wednesday that he was suspending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. After acknowledging that he was 300 delegates behind Joe Biden and saw no possible path to the nomination, he said the following:
Today I congratulate Joe Biden, a very decent man who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.
On a practical note, let me also say this: I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates. While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.
Then together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history.
Sanders calls Biden a very decent man, but he does not endorse him. Then, he tells viewers he will remain on the ballot and will continue to gather as many delegates as possible at the convention.
Hmmm. What’s Bernie up to?
Last night, my colleague Bonchie posted (here) about a rather ominous warning from a top advisor of the Sanders campaign.
Bernie was too kind to go after Biden, but it's coming.
Either Dem leadership cares more abt maintaining a corporate status quo than getting rid of Trump, or they're planning to replace Joe – adopting a pretty fast and loose relationship w/ representative Democracy.
Lose lose. https://t.co/mzQYMjM2Nc
— Briahna Joy Gray (@briebriejoy) April 9, 2020
The language coming from his [Bernie’s] fanbase and his former campaign workers doesn’t show a group of people ready to fall in line. Rather, it shows a group ready to go to war and say the stuff Bernie was too cowardly to say. “It’s coming” isn’t an idle threat.
Apparently, it was not an idle threat.
The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel calls Bernie’s announcement “fake news.” She writes:
This isn’t an endorsement; it’s a threat. The Democratic Party is split, and Mr. Sanders is the undisputed leader of its progressive wing. He’s not conceding gracefully; he’s not rallying Democrats behind a nominee; he’s not going anywhere—not without extracting a significant show of fealty from Mr. Biden. Put another way, the man who was too radical to win the nomination is now determined to make Mr. Biden unelectable.
Within hours of the Sanders announcement, newspapers were reporting that the two camps were in negotiations over which Sanders policies Mr. Biden would need to adopt to get Bernie’s blessing. The New York Times reported that the Biden campaign might begin rolling out these changes as early as this week. Up for discussion: climate, health care and student loans, for starters.
Bernie wants to dictate who, and who will not be, allowed to serve on Biden’s cabinet. Team Bernie also requests a ban on “anyone who has worked on or near Wall Street, the fossil-fuel industry, the health-insurance sector and the lobbying world, to name a few.”
Strassel writes that a coalition of eight progressive groups, including the Justice Democrats, wrote to Biden following Bernie’s announcement that if he wants their support, he must agree to their demands:
A campaign pledge of a “return to normalcy” wouldn’t cut it: “Going back to the way things were ‘before Trump’ isn’t a motivating enough reason to cast a ballot in November.”
Biden must endorse the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, a 50% reduction in prison populations, a wealth tax, cancellation of student debt, free undergraduate tuition in public institutions, abolishing the filibuster, packing the Supreme Court, federal gun licensing, and abortion subsidized by federal taxpayers.
This sounds like a shakedown. Many of Biden’s positions have already moved to the left in a big way. If he caves-in to these demands, there wouldn’t really be much of a difference between a Biden or a Sanders candidacy, except that Sanders can navigate his way around a salad bar. (Tucker Carlson was joking on his show. He asked if Biden could find his car in a three-tiered parking lot? Can he navigate a salad bar?)
Strassel reminds us that, normally when a candidate captures the nomination, they begin shifting back to the center.
But Team Bernie is effectively holding a gun to Biden’s head. If he rejects a far-left platform, Bernie’s supporters will vote for President Trump or stay home. If he embraces Bernie’s radical “agenda, he risks alienating independents, disaffected Trump voters, suburban women, blue-collar workers, etc.”
It sounds like a lose-lose position to me.
Bernie the thug.