This growing narrative of some kind of “establishment” machine coming in and plowing Bernie Sanders under is not fair
And it’s not helpful to anyone. Except Trump. It’s his narrative.
First of all, Bernie Sanders could still win the nomination. It’s more of a long shot than it was just a short time ago. Like yesterday, before Joe Biden did as well or better than expected in a bunch more primaries; Bernie not so much. Especially Michigan, which Bernie won four years ago. Not this time. While Biden now leads Sanders by more than 150 delegates, Biden is not yet halfway to where he’d clinch it.
But not too long ago Sanders certainly seemed in a more dominant position. Like it was his to lose. And then something happened, something shifted, something changed. And since that early dominance couldn’t have been fleeting or illusory, it has to be something fishy. Because everything’s fishy these days, right? That’s also Trump’s narrative.
We’ve extensively laid out what we think changed in previous columns, so we won’t spend too much time on it today. Just for us it breaks down to two major things:
- There were, not too long ago, too many moderates in the race, which was creating a fragmented field and vaulting Sanders to the top with the appearance of more support than he actually had. Then most of those moderates started dropping out, and few of those votes accrued to Bernie.
- Biden voters did not put up a strong show of support from the beginning because a lot of them started out undecided. Then they decided for Biden. Some of that was certainly sparked by Elizabeth Warren’s take-down of Michael Bloomberg in Las Vegas, or at least coincided with it.
But it’s unfair to characterize anyone who subsequently voted for Biden and not Sanders in a primary as anything but a Patriotic American doing their civic duty. Who genuinely believe Joe Biden, not Bernie Sanders, is best suited to beat Trump.
We’ve also discussed before the strength Biden gets in states Democrats probably can’t win in the general election, and various vague ideas that therefore primary votes in those states shouldn’t count for as much. But for voters in those states, their primary vote in many ways is their Presidential election vote.
And we’d never tell anyone what to do or think. We’ll just say if Bernie wins the nomination, we’ll happily vote for him (even though we’d like to hear more from him on foreign policy and who might be his Secretary of State). And guess what? We’re in favor of Universal Health Care regardless of who wins. Yet also, we also like Joe Biden. This is not a mutually exclusive proposition.
So we’re dismayed by what seemed like a significant number of people on Twitter last night saying things like: “i know that sanders will endorse biden because he’s a good sport, and sort of has to, but in the spirit of owning my sh*t i’m pretty sure i won’t be voting for joe biden. i hope the DNC’s bet on older voters and desperation pays off though. i really do.”.
Because again, that’s Trump’s narrative. And we’d never be thinking like that if the results were breaking against Biden on the Democratic side.
We think we understand why this experience is vastly different for a die-hard vs. casual Sanders supporter. There seemed to be an opportunity for huge change. Now. An unusual opportunity. Not just to be heard, but to make a generational impact. And that may be fading. At least in it’s purest, most undiluted form. Resulting in disillusionment and maybe anger.
If things keep going the way they seem to be going, a big part of Joe Biden’s job, and Bernie Sanders’ job too, will be showing and convincing both the die-hard and casual Sanders voters that Biden’s worth voting for. Beyond not voting for Trump. And perhaps Biden will deliver on some kind of transformational vision, or at least open a pathway toward it. Or maybe, or even more likely, he won’t and will have to win without the die-hards instead. And instead get people who voted for Trump last time to vote for him. But we have to admit it doesn’t sit well with us if those voters, the ones that voted for Trump once, prove easier for Biden to get.
We’re also pretty much 100% sure that there are zero Republicans who are saying they hope Trump wins but won’t vote for him. They’re all going to vote for him.
Oh, and BTW, Trump last night endorsed the Senate candidate in Alabama running against his own former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville–“a REAL LEADER” according to Trump–will face Sessions in a run-off for the Republican nomination. Sessions, who was a Senator before he became Trump’s first Attorney General, was the first Senator to support Trump’s Presidential bid. Of course Trump is punishing Sessions for failing to protect him from what led to the Mueller investigation.