Vermont Senator and self-described socialist Bernie Sanders — who had offered to give proxy interviews to the press in lieu of the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden taking questions himself — spoke at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) Monday and offered full support of Joe Biden, strident condemnation of Donald Trump, and rhetorical dog whistles to those sharing his own preferred political philosophy that arguably influences at least some of the “revolutionaries” in cities such as Portland, Seattle, and Austin.
Sanders, whose supporters protested the 2016 DNC over what they felt had been a rigged selection process to choose Hillary Clinton, has more recently been touted as a party unifier. Prior to his remarks Monday night, it was reported his speech would attempt to keep the focus on defeating Donald Trump despite Sanders’ preferred agenda items — The Green New Deal and Medicare For All specifically — failing to appear on the DNC’s convention agenda.
“My friends, I say to you, and to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake,” Sanders will say, according to excerpts released ahead of the speech.
“We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president. My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”
The Senator stayed largely on script, calling the current moment the nation is suffering through “unprecedented” and offering rhetoric that shifted the blame for the upheaval in many major American cities from the street authoritarians currently terrorizing residents in places like Portland, Seattle, and Austin onto Donald Trump and his administration.
“In the midst of all this, we have a president not only incapable of addressing these crises, but [one] leading [America] down the path of authoritarianism,” the Senator said.
Sanders, ticking off a list of familiar talking points Democrats use to condemn the Trump administration, noted his own supporters have moved the country in a “bold new direction” and that the “movement continues and is getting stronger every day.” In a 180 degree turn, he then likened Trump to an authoritarian who, like Nero watching Rome burn, prefers to play golf amidst the crisis.
As for the platform Sanders believes Biden and his vice presidential pick Senator Kamala Harris will embrace, Sanders recycled old Democrat wish list items — universal health care, a $15 minimum wage — and also broke some new ground saying Biden would rebuild crumbling infrastructure, end private prisons, make it easier for workers to join unions, and move the country toward “100 percent clean electricity over the next 15 years.”