Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on April 8 suspended his primary campaign, dashing – once again – the hopes of the radical left and putting Joe Biden under pressure. Technically, Sanders is still a candidate. The senator said he would stay on the ballot in the remaining primary states and would continue to accumulate delegates. In reality, though, the Vermont socialist acknowledged that Biden would be the Democratic Party nominee. Nevertheless, the strategy puts Biden in a difficult position, since Sanders is, essentially, asking his supporters to continue to vote for him so that he retains the leverage of an increasing delegate base.
Confined to waging his 2020 crusade from a makeshift home studio, the former VP continues to stumble through a confusing series of podcasts and media interviews while the nation focuses on efforts to combat the Coronavirus.
Over the past two decades – some would argue longer – progressives have grown their influence within the Democratic Party. They have never quite found a true champion, though, at the presidential level. Barack Obama fell short of their expectations. Since then, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) may have come closest to being a truly progressive presidential contender. Warren proved to be a bitter disappointment as a candidate, though, and so Sanders – more a socialist than a progressive, even though some would say there is little difference – became the next-best choice. The radicals were wildly optimistic, believing they finally would have a president to reshape America according to their dystopian central government ideals.
The Cult of Bernie
Despite his demeanor as an angry and bitter old man who appeared consumed by a hatred for anyone who has done well in life, Sanders nonetheless managed to inspire great enthusiasm among his supporters. That excitement quickly became cult-like worship of the 78-year-old radical, to the point where some of his supporters regularly abused and threatened people on social media and, on occasion, in real life.
For all their screaming, though, many of Sanders’ delusional young fanatics did not turn up at the primary polling stations to vote for him. Without them, Bernie had no base. Though he enjoyed a groundswell of support from the Latino populations of particular states, it was only in Nevada that this demographic swept him to victory. The senator certainly did not enjoy the support of a majority of female Democratic Party voters, and his popularity among blacks was thinner still.
In reality, the extreme left movement in America today is still mostly one-dimensional, with a hollow platform based upon nothing more than burning down the current systems out of pure spite and an unwarranted sense of entitlement. Ironic that, despite its shallow ideology, the senator’s movement itself added another dimension to the Democratic Party.
That is not to say Sanders himself had nothing more than his smoldering contempt for the capitalist system: He did have a vision, even if his proposed solutions would have almost certainly led to economic disaster. As Liberty Nation’s Washington Political Columnist Tim Donner put it: “Bernie offers an entirely different worldview from Biden, one which asks the right questions even as it offers chilling answers.”
Donner goes on to point out that Sanders could have shaped the Democratic Party’s bid for the White House – had he remained in the race – even if he was not leading it. As it turns out, this is precisely what Sanders now intends to do. However, in a televised address to his supporters, the senator acknowledged that he was too far behind in the delegate count for his campaign to be victorious.
Reacting to the development, President Donald Trump tweeted:
Bernie Sanders is OUT! Thank you to Elizabeth Warren. If not for her, Bernie would have won almost every state on Super Tuesday! This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco. The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!
Joe Biden, then, is left alone in the 2020 spotlight and faces two enormous challenges. First, he must be cautious in his selection of a running mate. There is simply no ignoring the fact that Biden’s gaffes are more than mere fatigue or occasional absentmindedness. He appears to be struggling with serious cognitive issues, and those who realize this will be looking for a vice presidential nominee who could take over as commander in chief within maybe a year or two of a Biden general election victory.
Additionally, Barack Obama’s former number two, lacking the full strength of the coalition put together by his old boss, will need the support of the radical Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez wing of the party’s base. Whether he can command that support remains the biggest election-year question.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.
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