After exiting the Democratic race to be the nominee for President of the United States last week, Bernie Sanders has now officially endorsed former VP Joe Biden to lead the nation. The move was essential to prevent a second Trump term jointly, Sanders stated. However, with Sanders’ support, Biden now has to manage a difficult balancing act.
A Welcome Development
Sanders’ support for Biden is a welcome sight for the Democratic party. Four years ago in the 2016 race, Sanders was reluctant to endorse Hillary Clinton and only did so once it was arguably too late for the party to unite around their candidate.
This time, however, Sanders made his decision earlier and called on all Americans to support Biden’s presidential candidacy as he was doing. The Vermont Senator made his remarks during a joint online stream appearance with his former opponent. Sanders repeated a sentence that he has communicated consistently during the primary race: “Donald Trump is the most dangerous president in the recent history of the United States.”
Sanders to Biden: ‘We Need You in the White House’
The latter is why it was so important that Donald Trump loses the general election. “We need you in the White House,” Sanders said directly to Biden, and he would do everything to make the former Vice President the 46th president of the United States. Biden appreciated the endorsement and said that Sanders was the “most powerful voice for a fair and just America.”
Both announced that their respective staffers would work together in mixed groups on concepts for the future, including core issues such as the judicial system, the economy, the education system, climate change, and health care.
Will Bernie’s Supporters Really Come Around for Biden?
Sanders’ endorsement, however, is by no means a guarantee that the party’s democratic socialist wing will unite around Biden. In fact, various Sanders supporter groups organized themselves and sent Joe Biden a letter on Monday stating their demands in return for supporting him. These include the obligation to switch to 100 percent clean energy for electricity, buildings, and transportation by 2030, to reduce the number of gun deaths by 50 percent within ten years, to protect immigrants without legal status against deportation. Add to that the demand for Medicare for All and a new tax for wealthy Americans.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who has emerged as a younger — even more extreme version of Sanders, has stated that Biden’s health care plan is “almost insulting.” Sanders’ heir apparent is tremendously popular among the extreme left, so her words should not be dismissed as idle chatter.
Biden’s Balancing Act
Accordingly, through Sanders’ endorsement, a delicate balancing act for Biden begins. While the Vice President had already announced several times in the past few weeks that he planned to unite the extremely divide Democratic party, he cannot attempt to appease any demands AOC, Ilhan Omar, or other outlandish Sanders surrogates are demanding. Nor can Biden afford to even be put remotely in a box in which he coordinates his election road map directly with Bernie Sanders.
Besides the material the Trump team has already accumulated (on Hunter Biden, alleged Joe Biden mental issues and much more), the president is just waiting for Biden to step into the socialist trap as well. Any serious cooperation with the progressives including any deal, or even agreement in spirit will be assessed, amplified, and utilized fully against Biden. The Trump election commercials would be plastered with images of Biden shaking hands and smiling with the socialists and they have already been full of accusations of him being soft on China because of his family’s financial interests. If the primaries have taught observers anything, it is that socialism does not win elections.
The Biden team is cognizant of these factors. However, Biden still needs the progressives to support him. He thus has a complicated task ahead of him: to persuade a wing of the party that has not shown a proclivity to compromise without decreasing his chances of winning. The crucial point here will be the deal Biden has struck with Sanders in exchange for his early endorsement.
Nothing in politics comes for free. It is conceivable that Sanders will have a say regarding the agenda in some form, such as Biden’s running mate pick or a future cabinet position. It is a perilous path for Biden, who, now that his candidacy has been secured, faces the next encumbrance: not losing his race through alienating Bernie’s base irrevocably nor by overly catering to socialists either.