April 9, 2020

Sanders Ends Campaign

“Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his presidential bid on Wednesday, making Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge President Donald Trump.” AP News

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From the Left

The left commends Sanders for successfully pushing forward his progressive agenda and urges the two wings of the party to come together.

“When Sanders launched his first campaign in 2015, he was pretty close to a joke candidate: The septuagenarian Jewish socialist from Brooklyn, a senator from one of the smallest, weirdest states in the nation, was going to take on the former secretary of state and first lady, who had virtually the entire Democratic Party apparatus behind her. Good luck, ha ha. When he decided to run again in 2019, he was almost universally described — by the same pundit class that misjudged him the first time around — as an afterthought or throwback… The pundits were wrong about Bernie Sanders, and then they were right. Both things are true… He was never going to be president, but he got a lot closer to that possibility than any of us expected.”
Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

“Everyone in the field agreed that the government role in health care should be more expansive, that education spending should go up, that there should be more income support for the poor, that the welfare state should be extended into matters related to child care and family leave, and that the country needs to be more aggressive about environmental regulation, gun regulation, anti-racism, and LGBTQ rights while taking a less harsh approach to criminals and immigrants. The entire argument in modern Democratic Party politics, in other words, is simply over how far left to go on a range of issues, not about which direction to take the country or the party. Sanders can take a bow.”
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Many note that “Sanders’ campaign was, truly, funded by regular people: As one oft-cited analysis found, the professions found most disproportionately often among his donors included ‘bartender,’ ‘vet assistant,’ ‘butcher,’ and ‘fast food worker’… Even as Biden passed him in 2020, he continued to be the preferred candidate of lower-income voters. But it wasn’t enough, and it’s not a coincidence that the candidate who defeated him told donors at New York City’s Carlyle Hotel last June that ‘nothing would fundamentally change’ about their positions in society if he were elected…

“Over and over, voters heard from business leaders—even the ones who typically support Democrats—that Sanders’ plans would, e.g., ‘bankrupt the health-care system’ and ‘be a disaster for our country’ and that they would rather vote for Trump than the senator from Vermont… The result was Sanders losing repeatedly in primaries in which a crucial subset of voters who liked his proposals chose Biden because of his presumably superior electability… In four or more years, Sanders’ successors—the AOCs and Marie Newmans and, depending on how things go, perhaps the Elizabeth Warrens again—might ride the significant momentum he has created to do things differently. But for now, money still talks.”
Ben Mathis-Lilley, Slate

Others write, “What we hope Sanders doesn’t take from his failed candidacy — or communicate to his fervent followers — is a conviction that the process was rigged against him and that a conspiracy of party leaders and the ‘billionaire class’ stymied his campaign. The truth is that, as an independent senator who viewed the Democratic Party as an instrument for his ambitions rather than a political home, Sanders faced resistance not just from benighted bigwigs but from ordinary Democratic voters, including older African Americans…

“This page has expressed concerns about [Biden’s] sharpness, his gaffes and his ability to stand up to Trump forcefully during a general election campaign, and we fear that his presence in the race cast too great a shadow over a new and less familiar generation of candidates with compelling ideas. But we also believe that it’s vital that voters bring to an end the incompetent and corrupt administration of Donald Trump. It is imperative that Sanders do a better job in 2020 leading his supporters to back Biden in November than he did in getting out the vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016… For his part, Biden must show Sanders’ supporters that he shares their goals for a more just, humane and equitable society, even if he differs on how to achieve them.”
Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

“With so much on the line in the November election, tired epithets like ‘neoliberal’ and ‘corporate Democrat’ should not blind anyone to the chasm of competence and compassion between Biden and Donald Trump. With his acknowledgment of political arithmetic, Sanders guarantees that Biden will have seven months to unify the Democratic Party and work to defeat Trump. And to his credit, Sanders leaves the race without ever having mounted a personal attack on Biden that Republicans could use against the former vice president this fall.”
Walter Shapiro, New Republic

From the Right

The right worries that despite his failure to win the nomination Sanders has successfully moved the Democratic party to the left.

The right worries that despite his failure to win the nomination Sanders has successfully moved the Democratic party to the left.

“He lost against former Vice President Joe Biden because he couldn’t figure out how to grow beyond his core base. Consider the numbers: In Iowa and New Hampshire, he won the support of roughly 25 percent of participants and won the popular vote in each. In Nevada, he got 33 percent of the vote. But when the field narrowed, he still got roughly a third of the vote – and it wasn’t enough, as supporters of the other candidates decided to vote for Biden…

“But even though the ‘Bernie base’ is just a third of the Democratic party – it’s an important third – and Biden needs to ensure solid support from them if he’s to win in November… Looking at voters who are undecided or with other candidates, it’s clear why Biden is looking to those Sanders voters. Among voters who disapprove of Trump, Biden has a solid lead, but fully 14 percent (one in seven) say they’re planning on voting for a third-party candidate, will refuse to vote, or say they still ‘don’t know.’ In an election that likely will be decided by a small number of voters in a small number of states, losing one in seven voters who ought to be in your column should give Biden pause.”
Arnon Mishkin, Fox News

“[Bernie] never won the percentages this time ’round that he did in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. It’s now clear that his success then was more about being the only alternative to her — the only practical protest vote against her coronation — than about the appeal of his blame-the-rich, grow-the-government message. Still, the most successful socialist and Jewish candidate for president in US history has made his mark…

“Where Obama ran in 2008 promising to cut taxes overall by nearly $3 trillion in a decade (while raising them on the rich, yes), Clinton in 2016 proposed to raise them by $1.4 trillion, and all the candidates this year called for even bigger tax hikes. Biden, last we noticed, wants $3.4 trillion.”
Editorial Board, New York Post

“Predictions from his high tide in February that Sanders would be the Reagan of the Democrats now look embarrassingly premature. He did not transform his party; it came together with startling speed and cohesiveness to reject him in favor of a man who has been in D.C. for half a century and lives and breathes the old Senate norms of bipartisan centrism and corporate fundraising…

“[But] Like conservatives in 1965-68, Sanders-style progressives now have a message, a self-identity as a faction, a generation of younger spokespeople in Congress and state governments, and a sympathetic apparatus of writers, pundits, and think-tankers… While this may be a day to celebrate the defeat of socialism within the Democratic Party, the fight that Sanders started almost alone in 2016 is far from over. Both the right and the center-left would be foolish to think it is.”
Dan McLaughlin, National Review

“[The] ‘authenticity,’ they always say, is Bernie’s strength, but it’s also a weakness. When he throws brimstone at private employers, voters know he means it. When he sees a silver lining in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, voters know he means that, too. How will fans of this combo take to Joe Biden? Mr. Sanders on Wednesday called Mr. Biden ‘a very decent man, who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.’ That’s notably short of an endorsement...

“A second question is whether Mr. Biden can placate the Bernie bros without repelling independent voters. Mr. Biden praised Mr. Sanders and his supporters on Wednesday for having ‘changed the dialogue in America,’ including on universal health care and free college. ‘While Bernie and I may not agree on how we might get there,’ Mr. Biden said, ‘we agree on the ultimate goal for these issues and many more.’ Hold on to your wallets, folks.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

Some posit, “I have suspected for some time that the DNC and party leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer wanted to see Biden as the nominee precisely because he is expendable. Here is someone who has paid his dues, who enjoys widespread approval ratings and near unanimous favor among actual Democratic primary voters… and can still afford to lose without setting the party back in 2024. No one will believe that a once-in-a-generation political talent has been wasted if Biden loses to the incumbent, which is still the most likely outcome in November

“This is not to suggest that DNC elites would not be happy to see him in office. On balance, even Democrats prefer winning to losing. It is also not, in fact, impossible for Biden to pull it off in November. But he is not the candidate of a confident, self-assured party running against a hopelessly beatable incumbent.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

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