Tag Archives: Bernie Sanders

Now … what about Bernie’s political future?

It seems oddly petty to talk about U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ next big political decision while Americans are fighting hammer and tong against the coronavirus pandemic that has sickened many thousands of us.

Still, I have to ask: Why doesn’t Sen. Sanders call it a campaign, step aside, cede the Democratic Party presidential nomination to Joseph R. Biden Jr., endorse the former vice president … and then make good on his pledge to do all he can to defeat Donald John Trump?

Sanders cannot win his party’s nomination. Biden has too many more convention delegates lined up than Sanders. It is impossible now for Sanders to catch up.

His campaign insists that Sanders is staying in, yet we hear of reports that the senator is “assessing” the status of his campaign. He can assess all he wants, but many of us already has issued our own assessment, which is that the fight is over.

Sanders fought hard. He has argued, with some justification, that he has won the argument over ideology. Biden has drifted a little to the left, but he’s nowhere near where Sanders is perched on the far-left end of the Democrats’ ideological ledge. That’s more than all right with me. I want a centrist to take on Donald Trump, not a candidate who calls himself a “democratic socialist” and who would be smothered by a Trump slime machine.

I don’t know what Sanders hopes to accomplish by staying in the fight. I do know what he has said is his No.  goal, which is to defeat Donald Trump. Where I come from, it looks like the better way to fulfill that mission is to bow out and line up alongside the candidate who can lead that fight.

‘No’ on tuition-free college

That ol’ trick knee of mine is telling me something I hope is true, but something I cannot predict will happen.

It’s telling me that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are negotiating an exit from the 2020 Democratic Party primary campaign for Sen. Sanders.

The way this deal might play out is that Sanders might seek to demand certain elements of his campaign end up as part of the Biden campaign going forward. I want to express my extreme displeasure with one element of the Sanders Mantra: the one that seeks to make public college and university education free for every American student.

No can do! Nor should it happen. It’s a budget-buster for the national treasury not to mention for colleges and universities that depend on students’ tuition and assorted lab and book fees to stay afloat.

Former Vice President Biden has broken the Democratic primary for the presidency wide open. The nomination is now his to lose, to borrow the cliché. Sanders, though, isn’t likely to bow out quietly without making some demands on the nominee-to-be.

Sanders isn’t even an actual Democrat; he represents Vermont in the Senate as an independent. He is a “democratic socialist.” To be honest, I don’t quite grasp the “democratic” element in that label as it applies to granting free college education.

The free college plank has been critical to the support Sanders has enjoyed among young voters. How does Biden mine that support for himself? He could call for dramatic restructuring of student loans, making them easier to pay off. I didn’t accrue a lot of student debt while I attended college in the 1970s; I had the GI Bill to help me out. As a parent of college students, though, we were saddled with “parent loans” that took a long time to retire. There must be a better way to structure those loans.

Making public colleges and universities free, though, is a non-starter. Is it a deal-breaker if Joe Biden adopts it as part of his platform? Would that compel me to vote — gulp, snort, gasp! — for Donald Trump? Not a bleeping chance.

The former VP must not be bullied into embracing the free college idea as his own.

Bernie faces the final stop on his valiant journey … perhaps

You know by now that my political prediction habit has been set aside because of poor past performance.

So, when I offer a possible scenario playing out I usually cover my posterior by saying that “I won’t be surprised” if such-and-such happens.

With all of that laid out there for you, I want to offer a brief look ahead at what I think could happen in the next bit of time as four more states conduct Democratic Party presidential primary elections on Tuesday.

Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona Democrats are voting for their party’s presidential nominee. Two main candidates are still standing: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Sen. Bernie Sanders; a third pretender remains, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. It’s down to Joe and Bernie.

What could happen Tuesday? Let’s try this: Biden scores huge victories in all four states and collects about 300 (give or take) more delegates to the national nominating convention. He builds a gigantic delegate lead over Sanders. He slams the door shut on Sanders’ path to the nomination and tosses the key into the drink. What does Sanders do?

In my mind, Bernie needs to then call a halt to his campaign. It was a valiant effort but there’s no way on God’s good Earth he gets the nomination. He concedes to his “good friend Joe,” and then endorses his candidacy, vowing to make good on what he said Sunday night at the debate he and Biden staged, that he will work to “defeat the most corrupt president in modern U.S. history,” Donald John Trump.

Biden and Sanders share a common goal, to boot Trump out of the Oval Office. If Sen. Sanders is a man of his word, and I believe that’s the case, then he will realize that with no path forward, any effort to continue is futile.

Does he extract some concessions from Biden? Sure. That’s what politics is all about. Dare I call it seeking a quid pro quo? Sanders could offer to leave the race and throw his support behind the victor, but only if the other guy, Biden, buys into some of the more progressive planks in his platform.

Will any of this happen? I certainly hope it does. I hope the party unifies behind the winner of the fight, gathers its wits about it and then goes straight after the man who never should have been elected to the presidency.

‘Yes!’ on presidential debates without audiences

I hereby endorse the notion that all joint appearances with presidential candidates occur without audiences.

Tonight we heard from former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. They went after each other at times with vigor and even a bit of annoyance at what the other guy was saying.

However, there was none of the cheering, jeering, hooting and hollering we hear too often from audiences. CNN, which played host to the debate, shunned the audience. The network moved the debate from Arizona to its New York studio; the change was made because of the coronavirus pandemic and the threat of potential exposure to audience members.

In the process, CNN has served the cause of serious discussion among presidential candidates. Biden and Sanders didn’t fire off applause lines … because there was no one in the room to applaud.

The debate focused on issues. How would they deal with the pandemic? How would they deal with climate change? How would they provide health care insurance for Americans? How would they govern? How do feel about autocratic governments around the world?

So there. No audience to distract us from the issues or to distract the candidates from the matters that should concern them.

Let’s have more of these kinds of political events.

Debate to go on without crowd noise … good!

Here we go … former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders are going to debate each other on Sunday.

It will be a precursor to what is looking more and more as if Biden will finish Bernie off when the ballots are counted the following Tuesday. Biden will win big in many of the states that are having Democratic presidential primary elections.

Here, though, is a bit of good news for those of us who are interested in this upcoming debate. It will be staged without an audience of faithful supporters. Yes, it’ll be just Joe and Bernie answering questions in a quiet and empty room standing or sitting before a panel of journalists/moderators. The coronavirus pandemic has mandated this move, which I happen to applaud.

This is good news for yours truly. Why? Because I have stated before on this blog my distaste for cheering, whooping and hollering at these joint appearances. They serve to distract us all from the issues being discussed. The candidates too often prepare laugh/applause/cheering lines aimed only at eliciting the kind of responses that move public opinion polling needs in their direction.

Sanders today seem to turn the debate into a sort of open-book test by previewing the questions he intends to ask Biden. He made his first public statements this morning after the drubbing he suffered at Biden’s hands Tuesday night. Fine. Let the debate go forward.

I look forward to seeing and hearing the two major finalists for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Moreover, I look even more forward to hearing them without the crowd noise that has become associated with these events.

Time to put the Democratic primary fight away

The chatter in the wake of Tuesday night’s stunning rebuke of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “revolution” is making it clear to me.

It’s likely time for Sen. Sanders to end this effort.

Why? You may count me as one American who wants to defeat Donald John Trump. So does Bernie. So does Joe Biden, to whom Sanders got hammered in four primary states, including the so-called “make or break” state of Michigan.

Biden cruised to a double-digit victory. What’s even more stunning is that Biden defeated Sanders in every one of Michigan’s counties. From inner city Wayne County to the Upper Peninsula of Gogebic County, they all went to Biden.

That result, if nothing else matters, ought to tell Sen. Sanders that his time has elapsed. It’s time for him to wrap it up, call it a campaign and then dedicate himself — alongside his “good friend Joe” — to defeating Donald Trump.

Yes, we have a debate coming up with Joe and Bernie. Just the two of ’em will share a stage. It might be that Sanders is hoping for a Biden blunder, that the former vice president will say something outrageous … as he is at times prone to do. My hope is that Joe Biden produces a studied, steady and sturdy debate performance to show he can withstand the pressure and turn back the adrenalin rush that at times clouds this veteran pol’s better instincts.

If he does that, and then blows Bernie out one more time, well … it’s over.

It’s looking like it’s all over for Bernie

I sorta thought that if the networks called Michigan as a Joe Biden win in that state’s Democratic Party presidential primary the moment the polls closed that it would spell curtains for Bernie Sanders’ candidacy.

The networks waited a while, but they called the state for the former vice president.

Hmm. It still seems to be the death knell for Sen. Sanders and his revolution/movement. Why? Well, the hill only get steeper for Bernie if he intends to capture more convention delegates than Joe.

Florida is coming up, along with Georgia. Biden will sweep Bernie in those two states. New York isn’t looking good for Sanders. Arizona well could go for Biden.

It doesn’t get any easier for Sanders to overtake Biden.

So the Vermont independent senator has to ponder the obvious: Is it worth the time, the effort and the money it will take to collect enough delegates to make a serious difference?

Sanders will fight for concessions in the Democratic Party platform, as if such things actually matter when the nominees trudge off to do battle with the other party’s candidate for president.

It’s looking to me and to many others that this nomination belongs to Biden. The two men will face off Sunday in a debate. Just the two of them will argue with each other.

Yes, I’m all in for Biden. I want him to be the Democratic Party presidential nominee. If he holds himself together in that joint appearance with Sanders and then buries him in the next round of primaries, well, then it’s time to turn out the lights.

‘No’ on the revolution; ‘yes’ on defeating Donald Trump

I once was a wild-eyed liberal who bought into the urgency of launching a political revolt to topple a president.

The cause du jour was the Vietnam War. I had participated in that conflict, came home, and then got politically involved. In 1972, I wanted Sen. George McGovern to become the next president because he promised to end the war, bring our troops home and rebuild the nation’s tattered and shattered emotional psyche.

He didn’t make it to the White House.

Here we are today, 48 years later and the nation is flirting with another “revolution.” This one is being led by an independent senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, who keeps hammering at income inequality. He wants to de-fang the nation’s uber-rich, who he says are corrupting the political process.

Sanders also wants to topple the current president. He is running as a Democrat, even though he isn’t really a Democrat.

Sanders can count me out. I am past the revolutionary period of my life. I am settling instead on the “establishment” that Sanders is vilifying. To that end, I am all in with Joseph Biden Jr., the former vice president and former senator.

Biden and Sanders do share a common desire, to defeat Donald Trump. The question now becomes: Who between them is equipped to do what millions of us want? I believe firmly that Biden holds the answers.

Biden knows how to govern. His record as VP is full of accomplishment: He helped enact the Affordable Care Act; he helped push through legislation that protected women against violence; he has once reached across to Republicans and helped avert a government shutdown during one of those face-offs during Obama years in the White House.

Over his many years in the Senate, Biden chaired the Senate Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees. His colleagues respected him in the Senate and worked with him when he ascended to the vice presidency.

Bernie Sanders would, in my view, bring us more conflict of the type we have endured during the Trump years.

I am weary of the chaos. Of the conflict. Of the confusion. In my dotage, therefore, I am seeking a return to an air of normal behavior in the White House. Joe Biden can provide it.

Biden the seasoned pol is more electable than Sanders the angry revolutionary. When I was much younger, I might have attached myself to Sanders’ ideological hay wagon. That was then.

The here and now makes me yearn for a comforting presence in the White House.

Why should we care what AOC thinks about … anything right now?

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made an appearance last night on late night TV and was asked by her host what she’ll do if Bernie Sanders is not the Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States.

I keep circling back to this question: Why does — or should — anyone care what a freshman member of Congress thinks about the status of the primary race for the most powerful and exalted public office in the United States?

AOC wants Sanders to be the next president. Fine. That’s her call.

However, I continue to be amazed beyond all reason as to why she keeps getting the attention she garners.

AOC needs to earn her spurs. She needs to enact some meaningful legislation. She needs to develop a record of accomplishment.

I wish her well. I think she’s got a bright future in politics.

She’s just too damn green to be taken seriously … at this moment!

Political diversity is far from dead

The next Democratic Party presidential nominee is going to be an old white man. One of the two remaining major candidates is 77 years of age; the other one is 78.

The gigantic 2020 Democratic primary field started out as the most diverse in history: five women; three African Americans (one of whom is a woman); an Asian-American businessman; a gay man; a Hindu woman.

We’re now left with the two old white guys: former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

I am all in for Biden. Never mind that … for now.

What’s left now is for one of these fellows to fight it out with each other and the winner to determine with whom he wants to run for the White House.

So much of the chatter has centered on the rivals who’ve dropped out. I want to expand the field of candidates for vice president way beyond building a “team of rivals.”

This much is as clear as anything one can imagine about the 2020 presidential campaign: The Democratic Party ticket is going to include either a woman, a woman or man of color, or possibly a woman of color.

So let’s quell the talk about the “death of diversity,” shall we?

As for the huge pool of potential running mates either for Biden or Sanders, one of these men can look far and wide well beyond the individuals whom they have defeated. Every state in the Union is full of competent, racially diverse individuals — including many women — involved at all levels of government.

I also agree that the once-huge Democratic field is full of competence, charisma and character. So, whomever emerges from the fight that’s about to commence from this day forward until the presidential nomination convention will have a rich field from which he can find a suitable running mate.

However, you can take this straight to the bank: The next Democratic VP nominee will not be an old white guy.