Perhaps I haven’t said so for a while, but I admire Sen. Bernie Sanders.
He has strong principles and policy positions, many of which I share — including many on which he is prepared to use more state power to do more good for more people than more cautious liberals (many of whom I also like, because they are hoping to accomplish similar goals at a slower pace that they believe is more politically practical in a country that has generally been terrified of anything that can be called “socialism.”) That’s not Sanders (although it is a tad awkward that he keeps running for the Democratic nomination without being willing to say that he is a member of the party whose nomination he seeks).
Anyway, I respect his principles, his tenacity and his commitment and share many of his goals.
But I certainly hope that, as soon as he realizes that remaining in the race for the Democratic nomination is likely to help Donald Trump more than it will advance his principles, he will drop out, campaign like hell for the nominee and – this is the most important thing – implore and beseech his supporters to close ranks for the balance of the campaign with all those who must unite to end the Trump presidency.
We have a national emergency that is more pressing at the moment than single-payer (or, if you prefer, “Medicare for All”) health care, and that emergency is to defeat You Know Whom, and then pray like hell that it works, and that Trump will leave peacefully.
I see and hear signals among some Sanders supporters that they believe settling for shall-we-say Joe Bidenism is not a compromise worth making. I fear that some disappointed 2016 Sanders supporters either didn’t vote or voted Green or voted Socialist, and I will always defend anyone’s right to make that decision. Their right, but not their calculation.
We have a national emergency. I’m not a Biden enthusiast. I preferred Elizabeth Warren, myself, and was drawn to several of the Democratic candidates for various reasons. But I always believed, and do not expect to believe anything different between now and November, that the continuation of the American experiment with democracy, self-government, and whatever decency we can manage depends on ending Donald John Trump’s occupancy of the Oval Office, his ability to hasten the global climate collapse and his access to the nuclear codes —and even if it doesn’t come to the use of those codes, his ability to do unimaginable further damage to that above-mentioned experiment.
After a couple more Tuesdays like yesterday, or maybe sooner than that, Sanders will accept that he will not be the nominee. And then he needs to join the all-hands-on-deck refrain: Save the experiment, fight to make it a more successful experiment, but keep it going.