The Fix Is In for Biden. Where Do Progressives Go Now?
By Sunny Dell
Here we are. We’ve made it through two Super Tuesdays and the DNC gears are oiled up to keep the Joe Biden train rolling. Bernie Sanders may have a shot at knocking the former vice president off the throne at the debate Sunday, if in fact the debate isn’t canceled. We’ve been here before — we’ll likely be here again if we don’t enact serious change at the party level.
For a lot of longtime Sanders supporters, the pain is all too familiar.
Speaking in Burlington, Vermont Wednesday, Sanders said:
“(Last night) was not a good night for our campaign from a delegate point of view. … We lost in the largest state up for grabs yesterday, the state of Michigan. We lost in Mississippi, Missouri, and Idaho.”
Yet, the progressive mass movement leader is barreling on, at least for now. He touts that exit polls show huge support for the progressive agenda he’s offering and says he’s looking forward to the debate. He’s come too far to give up so easily, but he may not be given the chance to fight much longer.
The debate format was already altered in response to novel coronavirus concerns, eliminating the in-person crowd altogether. But now, there’s talk, at least coming from influential House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.), of canceling the debate entirely. Clyburn, who’s largely credited with skyrocketing Biden’s campaign just before the South Carolina primary, said he believes it’s time to “shut this primary down” and “cancel the rest of these debates.”
In Clyburn’s view, there’s just no path left for Sanders in the delegate race. He’s calling Biden’s lead an insurmountable obstacle for the grassroots Democratic Socialist.
So, if this is where we are — if the DNC fixed the game again and chose the nominee for Democrats, what do progressives do at this point?
There’s a lot of vitriol toward Biden from the further left field, and it’s understandable. But unlike when people were faced with the Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton showdown, we now know what Trump is capable of doing and destroying. We don’t have the luxury of guessing anymore and a protest vote, or no vote, could be a lot more detrimental to this country than it is to our egos.
Biden isn’t perfect, at all. But if we can at least get Trump out of office and hopefully flip some Senate seats, we’ll have a better shot at inching Biden toward some of the progressive agendas Sanders is right to say are so popular. There’s room for discussion about wealth tax and at least there’ll be a seat at the table to discuss expansion of healthcare coverage. But if we let our (rightfully) bitter feelings rule our decisions come November, you can be damn sure we’ll lose the opportunity to have a say at all.
It’s not pretty, but it is.