Bernie Sanders Peaces Out
Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign today, announcing that he recognized there wasn't a "feasible path" to the nomination. In a brief speech to supporters, Sanders took credit for the the wave of progressive ideas that have gained popularity since his 2016, and vowed to keep fighting for social and economic justice. He didn't quite endorse Joe Biden, but made clear that he eventually will — but for now, wants to keep influencing the shape of the party platform for 2020.
Here's the video; Bernie's little sigh before launching into his "Good morning" is one of those very human moments of campaigning that's going to stick with me.
Bernie Sanders Speaks After Suspending Presidential Campaign | NBC News youtu.be
Sanders said that he and his supporters had, over the past five years, "won the ideological struggle" in the Democratic Party on a wide range of issues, like health care, student debt, climate, and economic inequality, and noted that one of his central issues, Medicare for All, got overwhelming support in polls, even in states where he didn't win the primaries — even in red states. And the current COVID-19 crisis, he said, makes clearer than ever that basing health insurance on where people are employed doesn't provide much stability, since millions of people are now out of work in the middle of a pandemic.
"The future of this country," he added, "is with our ideas," and damn, we sure hope he's right.
Sanders also said that Congress needs to do more to support workers who have lost their jobs due to the economic shutdown that's needed to stop the spread of the virus, and pointed out that America's wealth inequality has only made the situation worse, since millions of Americans have little or no savings to draw on as the economy contracts. He promised to work in the Senate to make sure further stimulus bills go toward working people, not corporations.
On that note, take a look at Sanders's proposals for the next economic stimulus bill. There's a lot to like here. Here are a few of the measures Sanders calls for:
- Keeping workers on payroll as a condition for any company receiving bailout funds
- Direct monthly payments of $2,000 for every person in the country. You want to keep the economy going? Give people the money they need to keep it going, so they can stay in their homes and pay their bills. And that means everybody, including folks left out of the previous one-time stimulus, "including the undocumented, the homeless, the unbanked, and young adults."
- Guaranteed medical and family leave for all workers, because if you want to fight a pandemic, you shouldn't have to force people to decide they can't afford to risk losing their pay if they're feeling sick.
- Hazard pay for essential frontline workers who have to keep doing their jobs to get us through this. Not just medical and public safety folks, but people working in grocery stores, food production, and transportation.
- Equal funding for territories, tribal governments, and DC. Statehood doesn't make people more worthy of help.
- And make it all available regardless of immigration status, because the virus doesn't check people's papers before it lays them low. Forcing undocumented people into the shadows will mean higher transmission rates.
- Increased emergency aid to state and local government.
- Beef up support for food assistance.
- Ramp up the government's power to purchase needed medical supplies through the Defense Production Act.
- Suspension of rent payments, mortgage payments, and medical and consumer debt payments, with no balloon balances due at the end of the crisis.
- Cancel student loan payments for the duration of the emergency.
- National freeze on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shutoffs.
Sanders said that although he was ending his campaign, he intends to keep his name on the ballot in the remaining primary states so he can keep collecting delegates, with the aim of helping to shape the party platform. But Sanders left no doubt that Joe Biden will be the nominee, and that he'll support Biden come the convention: "Then together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history."
Shortly after Sanders's announcement, Biden issued a statement thanking Sanders for "creating a movement" that has brought new energy to Democratic politics:
But more than any one issue or set of issues, I want to commend Bernie for being a powerful voice for a fairer and more just America. It's voices like Bernie's that refuse to allow us to just accept what is — that refuse to accept we can't change what's wrong in our nation — that refuse to accept the health and well-being of our fellow citizens and our planet isn't our responsibility too. Bernie gets a lot of credit for his passionate advocacy for the issues he cares about. But he doesn't get enough credit for being a voice that forces us all to take a hard look in the mirror and ask if we've done enough.
Biden pledged to work for many of the same goals as Sanders, especially income inequality, climate change, student debt relief, and healthcare for all, and especially on facing the coronavirus crisis with an eye to protecting those who are most vulnerable, and noting, as Sanders did, that the challenges go beyond just the pandemic.
But we also need to take a hard look at what we need to fix and change in this country. Many of the biggest cracks in the social safety net have been laid bare — from health care to paid sick leave to a more extensive and comprehensive system of unemployment benefits. We will need to address these.
And now it's time for all of us to come through on our promises to support whoever the nominee is, because now we pretty much have one. Let's push him in a more progressive direction, and push the incompetent narcissist into the ol' ash heap of history. There's work to do.
That work doesn't include sniping in the comments.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.