For those of us who have been supporting Bernie for the past year or long, the outcome of the primaries on St. Patrick’s Day was sad indeed. He is now well behind Biden, and it would very difficult—indeed, unlikely—that he can catch up. But the important thing for those of us in the Bernie camp is to find a way to establish his platform—Medicare for All, free college, climate change, and so on.
Biden has made several moves towards a coalition with the progressives. He has changed his mind about aspects of the bankruptcy law as an olive branch towards Elizabeth Warren, and he’s accepted some aspects of Bernie’s free college plan. Bernie’s response should be a move towards coalition with Biden, plus Warren, Gabbard, Steyer, and other progressives.
TheIntercept has gone so far as to propose that Bernie become Biden’s vice-president. However, this runs counter to what Biden and Bernie both seem to want, which is a woman vice-president. Biden might want Michelle Obama, while Bernie might want Elizabeth Warren. But either would be younger than the two men, and either would be a strong selection and likely to be popular with voters.
If Bernie is not the choice for veep, what role should he play in the new administration? My suggestion is that he take a cabinet position (such as head of the EPA, where he can provide leadership with respect to Climate Change, but I think he should also be Chief of the Cabinet, organizing the relationships between the administrative offices and Congress. Biden would concentrate on the public appearances of the President, and both should cooperate in getting the progressive platform passed.
If Biden wants Bernie’s help in getting elected, Bernie should get in return a promise to legislate the changes in law that he has been advocating for years. During the next three months before the Democratic Convention, Biden’s and Bernie’s staffs should draft the changes in law that both favor. For example, if Biden is accepting free college as part of his platform, the coordinated staff should draft the law enacting free college, so that it will be ready at the start of the new administration. If there is going to be a modification to the bankruptcy laws, then Warren and Biden’s staff should agree on the amending text.
Those are the easy changes, because Biden, Bernie and Warren have mostly agreed on them. But Biden needs to commit to other changes, and the laws should be written around whatever compromise Biden and Bernie can come up with. For instance, both agree that the healthcare laws should be changed, but Biden wants to build on Obamacare, while Bernie wants his Medicare for All. Yet there must be a middle ground which makes healthcare coverage universal, without the ridiculously high charges and the need for private insurance companies to be involved any longer. Biden and Bernie should reach a compromise so that meaningful modifications can be made to the law.
There are many issues on which Biden and Bernie do not agree, and on some of which they agree. These issues are the platform which should become the platform for the campaign against Trump. After negotiating the platform, Biden and Bernie should reveal it to the public. They should both promise the public—in writing—that the adoption of the platform into law shall become the goal of the Biden administration. Biden should promise that if he doesn’t effectuate those changes, he will not run for a second term and that he will resign from office so that his vice-president can take over.
As part of the agreement between Biden and Bernie, Biden should name his nominees for important cabinet posts. For instance, he should name Robert Reich as Secretary of the Treasury, Tulsi Gabbard as Secretary of Defense, Kamala Harris as Attorney-General, Tom Steyer as Secretary of Education, Andrew Yang as Secretary of Energy. Bernie should have a direct and important say in the choices, and Biden should not select someone that Bernie is against.
With the coronavirus plague sweeping the country, it will be very difficult for primaries to be held and for candidates to campaign. Given this, Biden and Bernie should use the time productively to reach agreements on important issues and should announce their proposed changes to the public. Reaching a healthcare compromise is essential to solve the coronavirus problem. Similar, a compromise must be effectuated to establish a coherent Climate Change program. Using the time to come up with a meaningful platform and detailed legislation for changes in the law could result in significant changes in the way things are done in the United States. It could also be a pathway to victory over Trump in November 2020.