Saturday, April 11, 2020

Bernie Sanders Drops Out

As you may have heard Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign to become the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

He still intends to carry on a battle for his vision at the Democratic Convention.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont ended his presidential candidacy on Wednesday, concluding a quest that elevated him as a standard-bearer of American liberalism and clearing the way for a general election between the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and President Trump at a time of national crisis.

“I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour,” Mr. Sanders said, adding, “While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not.”

If Mr. Biden, the former vice president, can now lay claim to the Democratic nomination, he still faces considerable challenges in uniting the party and mobilizing a broad base of voters for the November election. Unlike Mr. Sanders, Mr. Biden inspired little enthusiasm among young voters, nor did he develop signature policy proposals. He triumphed because many voters rejected Mr. Sanders’s policy agenda as too far to the left and prohibitively expansive, and were convinced that Mr. Biden had the best chance to beat Mr. Trump in November.

I don't think Biden is a particularly strong candidate, although Sanders certainly had his issues. I believe that Biden is suffering from some cognitive or verbal declines. I think that Biden and his team underestimate Trump's nastiness and combativeness. About 40-45% of the electorate is devoted to Trump. I don't think there are too many Trump voters who will be amenable to reasoned arguments. Biden still has to give it the old college try though.

Sanders was unable or unwilling to reach beyond a generic class outreach and speak to other resonant identities. Many people, regardless of their political affiliation, vote because on some level the candidate speaks to their tribe and/or is one of them. 

The candidate excites them and promises them policy changes they want. I don't think Biden excites too many people. Many people ARE excited by the chance to vote Trump out of office but will that be equal in their minds to voting for Biden? Who knows? Time will tell.

But I do know that win or lose, Biden partisans will blame Sanders. Among my circle of family, friends, and associates, most of whom didn't and won't vote for Trump, many people seem to despise Sanders almost as much as Trump. It's strange. 

It is becoming an open question as to whether centrist Democrats can remain in the same party as people like Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It's true that suburban white centrist Democrats are the reason that the Democrats have the House.

It's also true that Democrats can't win the Presidency without massive turnout from every left leaning voter across the nation, including the people who voted for Sanders. Can Biden inspire such people? Can Sanders deliver them? I have my doubts. I do know that insulting people and telling them shut up, eat their turnips and vote for Biden isn't the best way to win their vote.
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