Settling for Biden
Dear Biden voters, do not ask Bernie supporters to vote for Joe in November.
Dear Bernie voters, please vote for Biden in November or enjoy four more years of Trump.
Left minded voters are being constantly bombarded by these two messages as the 2020 Presidential election is quickly approaching. The deafening noise of arguments on leftwing messaging boards and threads have left many considering even voting in November at all. It appears that we’re doomed to repeat 2016, a split democratic electorate that can’t seem to agree on anything. How did we get here?
In the Democratic camp, it was recently announced on April 8, that Bernie Sanders would suspend his campaign. He then shortly endorsed Joe Biden on a livestream on April 13. This of course means that the Democratic nomination has one man left standing: Joe Biden.
I can’t say that I’m surprised. Joe Biden was a heavy favorite amongst speculators over the past year and a half. Running as a moderate democrat set on reuniting the blue collar democrats, the blue dogs, and offering an olive branch to the far left, his campaign seems to have struck a chord with the Democratic establishment.
Bernie Sanders did not leave the spotlight without a fight, of course. After poor showings in early primary states it became more and more unlikely that the Democratic Socalist from Vermont would secure the Democratic nomination. Though he looked content and pleasant on his livestream with Joe Biden, it was obvious he had made a decision that he took too long to make in 2016. Drop out of the race and endorse the front runner early enough to build a coalition of voters.
In 2016 while voters were debating Trump or Clinton, there were swaths of registered Democrats still arguing that Bernie Sanders should be the party nominee, and in fact over 100,000 people still elected to write him in as their vote in 2016.
The argument that Bernie Sanders is the reason that Donald Trump won the Presidential election, however, is flawed and inaccurate. The reason why Donald Trump won is because the Democratic National Convention (DNC) nominated an unlikeable moderate democrat after 8 years of fairly progressive policies with President Obama. Only 50,000 Bernie Sanders voters defected the DNC and voted for Donald Trump — 50,000 less than those loyal few who voted for him as a write-in candidate.
So who are these loyalists, these ride or die Bernie supporters? The so-called “Bernie Bros” will find it hard to abandon the candidate they’ve championed for over four years. From 2016 to 2020 they’ve donated, engaged in twitter meme wars, and have attended rallies and protests. Bernie supporters are overwhelmingly young, and extremely diverse. Bernie was able to do what other Democratic candidates couldn’t: create a campaign that raised money from these young and diverse voters, but also got them to turn out in droves to the polling booth.
These young voters are going to be the key in the 2020 election. But will they put aside their differences with the moderate Joe Biden and toe the party line in November?
It’s important to note a couple of things. First, Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat, nor are the majority of his voters. The only reason they poll with the Democrats is because Bernie Sanders has to run as a Democratic candidate due to absurd and outdated election laws that propagate the broken two party system in the United States. Therefore, Joe Biden is asking democratic socialists to vote for a democrat when in fact, they just want to vote for their Democratic Socialist.
Painting Bernie Sanders as a progressive liberal democrat is just simply false — no one can label him a democrat and be correct. It’s becoming increasingly frustrating watching moderate democrats claim that Bernie voters owe the democrats their loyalty come November.
“Vote Blue no matter who,” they tout on twitter. I’m sorry to break it to you, but young Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t Blue, they’re rose Red. The American political establishment and conscience is neglecting the fact that a whole generation of young voters has a large number of socialists, though they may not be registered as one because of the simple fact that states don’t allow individuals to register as socialists. They exist, and they do not want to vote for Joe Biden.
These voters do not want compromise. They want a complete and utter change of the current status of American politics. They see the system as broken, one that has been collapsing around them since their childhoods in the 90’s and early 00’s.
They were raised in two recessions, the longest war in American history, a resurgance of nuclear politics, the age of terrorism, a stark environmental reality, and a collective $1.5 trillion in student debt that was deemed necessary because we can’t advance in our society without higher education. The American youth were promised a life of prosperity and wellbeing only to receive what seems like an expiration date on their lives and all those they hold dear.
Broke, vastly underemployed, and pissed off at the establishment they live under, the Sanders electorate refused and will continue to refuse compromise because they believe it’s the status quo — a status quo that has allowed all the problems that have plagued this society to fester for years.
Bernie, though not the nominee, won the ideology front. He proved in 2020 that his electorate was large, and crucial to a Democrat victory in this year’s election. Amongst moderates, fellow progressives, and even technocrats, Bernie Sanders’ populism and socialist policies continued to find success. Seeing this success, the Biden camp has slowly and subtly pushed its own platform farther to the left.
The Biden from July sounds nothing like Biden now. In fact, Biden is attempting to emulate some of the same rhetoric that Sanders has been using for years now — populist tinge that the working class is being unfairly treated by the elites, and that the current establishment is at fault. It may not hit as well as it had with Bernie, and it seems a bit disingenuous, but it’s evidence that Bernie Sanders pushed the Democrats, including Joe Biden, farther to the left.
But there are still those in the Sanders camp that are willing to throw aside some of their doubts and still vote for Joe Biden. They are #SettlingforBiden. In fact, Warren supporters, Booker supporters, Castro supporters, Klobuchar supporters are all settling for Biden. A movement that did not occur in 2016, the DNC has developed a strategy to attempt to create a coalition of progressives and moderates to ensure that a Democrat is sitting in the oval office.
The effectiveness of this move will be determined by voters in November. If it pans out, the Democrats win the White House, retain control of the House, and may even close the gap in the Senate. If it doesn’t work out, the Democratic party may have a rebellion on its hands and the progressives may seek to split and venture, frustrated by a lack of change and broken promises to attempt in establishing a legitimate 3rd party. With the capital the Bernie campaign was able to raise, and with popular candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s not out of the cards.
At the end of the day, vote for who you think is best equipped to lead the country after this global crisis. If you’re a Bernie voter, you don’t owe the Democrats your vote, but you might want to vote for Biden simply because of the ideological capital you hold over the DNC. But again, that’s the beauty of American democracy, we vote for individuals, not for parties.
Maxwell Smith is an opinion writer for the Reporter as well as the host of Maxxpolicy on WHAT Radio. He enjoys politics, coffee, the city of Chicago, and...