Bernie's Troubling Shift

Bernie Sanders said in an Associated Press interview that it would be "irresponsible" for his loyalists not to support Joe Biden. He even said about all progressives who "sit on their hands" that they would enable Trump's reelection. This is a major shift from his position on this same issue in 2016.

Image by Marc Nozell - source: Flickr

In 2016 Sanders held the same position as I did back then; he said about his supporters that they would make up their own minds who to vote for, if at all. He also said that it was the responsibility of the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton in 2016, to earn those votes; this is how any democracy's supposed to function because in a democracy the politicians work for the people. I've written extensively about this exact thing in many recent posts, but the one I posted one week ago, You Don't Owe Joe, explains it best. The video linked at the end of this post contains a fragment of an interview with Bernie Sanders in 2016 in which he makes this point:

"We're not a movement where I can snap my fingers and say to you or to anybody else what you should do, because you won't listen to me, you shouldn't, and you make these decisions yourself. I think if we end up losing, and I hope we do not, and if Secretary Clinton wins it is incumbent upon her to tell millions of people who right now do not believe in establishment politics or establishment economics, who have serious misgivings about a candidate who has received millions of dollars from Wall Street and other special interests. She has got to go out to you and to millions of other people and say 'yes I think the United States should join the rest of the industrialized world, and take on the private insurance companies and the greed of the drug companies, and pass a medicare for all. I think that, for the young people in this country, you should not have to leave college 30 -, 50 -, 70 thousand dollars in debt because we're gonna make, as many other countries around the world do, public colleges and universities tuition-free.' I think Secretary Clinton is gonna have to explain to millions of young people and a lot of other people, that climate change is a real crisis, and incrementalism is just not gonna solve it. And she is gonna have to come on board and say 'yes, I know it's hard, but I am gonna take on the fossil fuel industry and pass a carbon tax.' So, the point that I am making is: it is incumbent upon Secretary Clinton to reach out, not only to my supporters, but to all of the American people with an agenda that they believe will represent the interest of working families, lower income people, the middle class, those of us who are concerned about the environment, and not just big money interests."

This is the correct stance, in my humble opinion at least. Bernie did the right thing when everybody else, within and without the DNC, blamed Sanders' supporters for Clinton's defeat. They tried to shame the voters, saying it was "irresponsible" to not vote for Clinton, and that "sitting on their hands" would enable Trump's election. That was 2016, and it seems that in 2020 Bernie has shifted to join the blame-game. I find that troubling to say it mildly; that's really a 180 degree turn from the public persona he's built over two campaigns as the proverbial rebel with a cause. For whatever reason, he and Biden really must be very good friends for Sanders to make such a radical move, even going so far as to snipe at some of his best surrogates for not outright endorsing Biden. This friendship is the only reason I can think of, other than Bernie being a corporate plant from the beginning to further destroy the Democratic party's reputation as the working class party. And I do not believe the latter...

Rational Live! | Bernie's Notable Shift; Biden's Terrible Ad; More + Q&A

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