Thursday, April 9, 2020

Thanks, Bernie

From the Washington Post:

Bernie Sanders waved goodbye at the camera Tuesday night as he concluded an online discussion about the coronavirus. “Thank you very much, and we will see you all soon,” he said.

That casual farewell did not reflect the candidate’s intense deliberations off camera. By Wednesday morning, he would jump on a conference call with his staff to share words far more blunt: His five-year campaign to win the White House was over.

In a later video address, he explained the conclusion he was not able to escape in the weeks he had spent grappling about his political future.

“As I see the crisis gripping the nation,” a slightly hoarse Sanders told supporters in a live stream from his home in Burlington, Vt., “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.”

As I noted elsewhere on social media, nothing said as much about Bernie’s campaign as how he gracefully exited.

Bernie Sanders was not on my list for the Democratic nomination, and I never thought he could win the general election against Trump.  But not all presidential candidates win by simply winning the nomination or the election.  Quite often they make a difference by bringing up important issues that need to be addressed by the eventual nominee.  This was the case with the senator from Vermont, the gadfly to some, the prophet to others, who has been talking about universal health care, affordable college, workers’ rights, and other issues with dogged determination for decades.  And those issues have become part of the foundation of the Democratic platform.  Maybe not with the stridency of Sen. Sanders and his supporters, but they are no longer dismissed as wild-eyed left-wing socialist radicalism but practical ideas for discussion, consideration, and action.

It’s always been that way.  There are a lot of government policies that we now take for granted — Social Security, Medicare, civil rights, gay rights, fair immigration, unions, votes for women — that started out as radical and impossible ideas.  Necessity and wisdom prevailed, and we now think of them as American as baseball and open-carry permits.

The legacy of Bernie Sanders will be that he brought his issues to the fore and energized a lot of voters.  But he also showed that he could be a realist, and he did so yesterday, knowing that the longer he hung on, he was making the race less about the issues and defeating Trump.

Thank you, Sen. Sanders.  Now let’s go out there and win this.

One bark on “Thanks, Bernie

  1. Nice words, but I’ll never forgive him for running against Hillary. I blame him for Trump. No getting around the fact that if he hadn’t hung on touring the country and arguing for his principles rather than arguing against the danger Trump posed and splitting the Democratic vote we wouldn’t be where we are. Bernie has been running for years, ranting like a sidewalk preacher, and I’m afraid much of it is all about him and not the big picture.

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