Joe Biden can move to the left as much as he wants to. It isn’t going to be enough for a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters.
In a Monday article in The Atlantic that warned Democratic voters the election is far from over — a fool’s errand if there ever was one, given the fact they were warned about this four years ago and it made zero difference — staff writer Peter Nicholas said there are four reasons why liberal voters need to know: “Don’t Count Trump Out.”
All four are predictable, although Nicholas did a good job of expounding upon his points to make the whole thing worth a read. But he had four major points, only one of which we’ll be dealing with in depth here.
The first three, which you can extrapolate on your own: “The economy could come back just enough,” “Polling could be wrong (again),” and “Trump can campaign all day long.”
No. 4, however, deserves a bit of examination: “Biden’s got his own problems.”
Well yes, of course. I could go on all day about those problems. I often do. Let’s talk about just one of them, though, neatly encapsulated in Nicholas’ article by Nina Turner, former co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
It’s not that Turner isn’t enthusiastic about Biden’s campaign. She isn’t grudgingly lining up behind the vice president, letting everyone know that progressive change delayed is progressive change denied.
Biden, Nicholas said, “told me she has no appetite for the choice she faces.”
If you think, as a conservative, that you’ve had to face that kind of choice before, you probably haven’t felt it, um, as viscerally as Turner does.
When it comes to Turner’s lack of appetite, she isn’t merely employing idiom. Instead, she means that as a very direct metaphor for how she feels about Biden, and she has a very direct and stomach-curdling way of addressing the ideological divide.
“It’s like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of s— in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing,'” Turner said. “It’s still s—.”
This generally isn’t the kind of talk you hear on the convention floor when the CBS cameras search for the principals of the other major challengers for the nomination.
Then again, there isn’t going to be much of a convention floor this year, which could make matters worse when you consider that, at some point, someone has to patch up these rifts.
This wasn’t the first time Turner has put Biden on blast, either.
In January, Turner — who is African-American — wrote an Op-Ed in the South Carolina newspaper The State titled “While Bernie Sanders has always stood up for African Americans, Joe Biden has repeatedly let us down.”
“By supporting a racial justice champion like Sanders — and his popular progressive agenda — black Americans will forge a multiracial, multigenerational working-class alliance that will generate the high turnout necessary to beat President Donald Trump,” Turner wrote in the piece, which criticized Biden for virtually every racially problematic incident in his career. (There have been a few, as you might be aware.)
“In standing with Sanders over Biden, we will declare that we are not going backward — we are going forward into a future of empowerment and equality for all.”
This was, however, when Sanders was trying to make inroads in South Carolina, a state where — despite Biden’s flagging campaign — the former vice president was expected to do well. Not only did he do that, he used a massive win in the state to virtually bury Sanders and guarantee the nomination before certain exigencies essentially closed the primary process.
Turner hasn’t begrudgingly accepted the idea, generally espoused in American party politics, that it’s better to elect a president from your party than the other, no matter who the nominee is. Nicholas also quotes another Biden unbeliever, academic Cornel West.
“We have to be true to ourselves and acknowledge that Biden is a mediocre, milquetoast, neoliberal centrist that we’ve been fighting against in the Democratic establishment,” West said.
These are the official voices that Nicholas decided to quote.
Then there’s the less-scientific #DemExit trend on Twitter. It’s less scientific, but it should be no less worrying for Democrats, particularly since it doesn’t seem to be amplified by outside actors.
— Pablo Escobear (@stabpossum) April 8, 2020
— Nadine BLM?️⚧️ ?️? (@Nadinosaurusrex) April 8, 2020
And who does this surprise? If you’re a Bernie supporter, you’re really going to hate Biden’s record on everything, particularly when it comes to race. Also, this doesn’t feel like elections past, where minor issues could merely be wallpapered over on the Democratic side by telling voters they were getting a watered-down version of their candidate.
There’s a wide gulf between Bernie and Biden, one that cannot merely be explained away — at least for some — by assurances that Biden is better for them than President Trump is.
Think this is overblown? Fair enough. That’s what everyone thought in 2016, too — and Hillary Clinton had a better record on race than Joe Biden does.
There’s going to be a #DemExit of significant proportions. The only question is how big it’s going to be.
If you think it won’t be a major issue, consider this: The former co-chair of Sanders’ campaign calls voting for Biden like eating a bowl of, well, you know.
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