I’ve been a member of the Democratic Party (at least in spirit) since Adlai E. Stevenson ran against Dwight D. Eisenhower. I think the first time I voted against a Democratic nominee was when Jimmy Carter was running against Ronald Reagan, and I voted for John B. Anderson. Apologies, Jimmy; you’re a better man than most of us. I wish you were running this year, even if you’re 95!
In 2016 I really wanted Bernie. I couldn’t stand Hillary, which is sort of strange because I liked her as First Lady when she tried to get us a somewhat government run healthcare system. I wish she had succeeded then. It would probably have changed our lives. But Bill’s cronies didn’t want it. Anyway, I voted for Bernie and worked for Bernie in 2015-16, and when you cheated him (and you did, Hillary; just the way you did, Joe, in 2020) I voted Jill Stein. In California, it didn’t matter. Trump wasn’t going to beat you there.
So this year, the DNC ganged up on Bernie again. It got all those others to run. And when Bernie started beating the pack of them, the DNC got them all to quit. Except for Elizabeth Warren. Getting the pack to drop out opened the field for you, Joe, while Elizabeth held tight onto Bernie to keep him from running away with the nomination.
As soon as that happened, you suddenly started winning, Joe. And winning and winning. Until poor Bernie had to throw in the towel. He shouldn’t have, but he did. So what will we as his supporters do?
I know what I did. I found out about the Movement for a People’s Party, and I joined it. The MPP is promoting a #Demexit. They are going to drain the Bernie-ites from the Democratic Party. Don’t forget that Bernie’s people represent at least 30% of the party. And then there are Warren’s people, and Tulsi’s people, and others. Are they all going to vote for you? I don’t think so, because they all know (more and more) that there was a lot of cheating going on. Wisconsin found three tubs of missing ballots. There were 16.4 missing ballots in 2016 and 2020. I’m convinced that your people cheated Bernie. So what should we do? Get mad, yes. Then what?
I started writing this letter before Bernie suddenly endorsed you. Of course, that will keep some of Bernie’s supporters with you. But not all of them. We’ll just have to see the extent that #Demexit works.
It’s clear that you recognize how important those supporters are to you. “Bernie Sanders endorsed former foe Joe Biden for president in a live-streamed event Monday — handing a powerful boost to the ex-veep as he battles to unify their divided party.
“We must come together to defeat the most dangerous president in modern history,” Sanders tweeted along with a link to their appearance.
The liberal US senator from Vermont told Biden at the start of the online chat, which featured split-screen appearances by the pair, “I am asking all Americans, I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans, to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse.”
Biden — hoping to woo Sanders’ fiercely loyal corps to his side in a bid to beat President Trump in November — assured the senator’s supporters that he would be advising him on key issues including the economy, education and health care.
“Bernie, I’m gonna need you,” Biden acknowledged to Sanders, a former lingering key primary-race holdout. “You’ve been maybe the most powerful voice for every generation of Americans.”
In a clear nod to just how crucial Sanders’ supporters are to his election bid, Biden later insisted to them in a tweet, “To Bernie’s supporters: I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country.
“I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome on this campaign. You’re needed.”
Despite Bernie’s endorsement, I want all those supporters to leave you in the lurch, Joe. I want so many of them to leave that you’ll realize that you cannot win without them. And after two or three months of draining, a group of leaders from the Green Party, the Socialists, MPP, and maybe some others will offer to sit down and compromise. “You give us what we want,” they’ll say, “and you can be elected. That’s fair, right?”
What will they want? First of all, they’ll want a vice-presidential nominee whom they can trust. They know that there’s every chance you’ll die in office, Joe, so they’ve got to have a veep who will cooperate with them. Like Nina Turner. Or maybe Tulsi Gabbard. Or even Elizabeth Warren. These are just suggestions. The left-wing coalition will choose and make an agreement with you.
Now, the second thing they’ll want is for you to pick your cabinet before the general election. “Progressive groups that haven often been aligned with Bernie Sanders are pushing Joe Biden to keep Wall Street executives and business leaders from being part of his administration if he wins the presidency” Thomas Friedman thinks you should be picking a “unity cabinet.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, “In 2016, enough young voters defected to the Green Party’s Jill Stein to, arguably, tip the Electoral College to Trump. The simple fix? Biden shouldn’t wait until December — when we might be out in the streets wondering how the hell Trump won by 78,000 votes again — or even until the Democratic convention in Milwaukee in early July, when the party needs to be more unified than it is now, to reveal some of the key players in his administration. The emphasis ought to be not just on competence — reminding voters that the grown-ups will be in charge after four years of Trump — but also to show young people that even if Biden isn’t a card-carrying leftist, his presidency would still be the most progressive one in modern U.S. history. “ This is sensible and it could help you beat Trump.
Third, your platform should be as close to Bernie’s as possible. You do agree on some things with Bernie, and you should make that clear. “Look at Joe’s positions and then at Bernie’s. For instance, on criminal law, both want to abolish private prisons and the death penalty. Both want cash bail reform and an end to mandatory minimum sentences. Hey, that’s a good beginning. Both want to study reparations for blacks and to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. Both want citizenship for Dreamers (DACA). Both want universal background checks on guns and a voluntary buyback program for assault weapons. Both are against unlimited spending in political campaigns. Both want to pay farmers to use climate-friendly practices. In other words, nail down the positions where both agree. Modify positions (e.g., free college) where they disagree but where compromise is likely.”
You don’t agree on things like Medicare for All, and that’s where the rubber meets the road. “Bernie wants Medicare for All, while Biden wants expanded coverage but a retention of private insurance. There’s a fairly easy compromise on this, which is to follow the Swiss system. There, everyone must join the private system after being three months as a resident, and the private insurance system is heavily regulated by the government. In the U.S., you could have a government system for whoever wants to join it, and require private insurers to provide the same coverage and costs as the public system. To save administrative costs for doctors and hospitals, have the government disburse all the money to the providers, leaving the private insurers to fight with the government over any issues. And cover all health issues with a payment from the government (and maybe a small monthly payment from the users; but no deductibles or side fees).”
The real issue, Joe, is how much you need Bernie’s people. The most important thing is to be respectful, to listen, and to agree on absolutely as much as possible. I have no idea what the progressive leaders will want from you. But if you truly want their support, and if they truly want to get important, progressive ideas into law, you will reach an agreement. As you must. We can’t forget the coronavirus threat or the climate change threat. It’s there and it’s real. It’s not a hoax.
Joe, it would be great if you actually read this letter, and wrote one back to MPP. But I can’t count on that. So instead, I’ll appeal to my fellow Bernie-ites. First, get out of the Democratic Party. #Demexit. Second, join MPP or some other third party. Third, tell your new leaders to contact Joe and work out a deal with him. Fourth, write to Joe and tell him you won’t vote for him unless he makes a real, solid deal the progressives. Don’t accept arguments from your new leaders that approaching Joe will be a waste of time. Tell Joe that you’ll boot his ass in every progressive ballot in America if he thinks you don’t have the courage to vote against him.
The time has come for a coalition, and that means being open, and honest, and doing the best for the country. So do it.
You, too, Joe.