Bernie Sanders is ending his presidential campaign, he announced on Wednesday.
The Vermont independent senator’s 2020 bid started off strong. He narrowly missed first place in Iowa before picking up wins in New Hampshire and Nevada. All the while, his campaign continued to rake in millions in small-dollar donations and pack rallies full of supporters as he ascended to national front-runner status amid a crowded Democratic field.
Running as a progressive insurgent against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sanders popularized ideas like “Medicare for All.” In 2020, however, a number of candidates backed similar policies, and he faced another prominent progressive in Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who was the first to propose canceling some student debt in April.
Sanders followed with a more far-reaching plan of his own in June. Warren surged above Sanders in the fall, right up until he suffered a heart attack in October. That — along with the high-profile endorsement by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., — revived his national polling numbers, and he remained in second place until Biden’s dismal fourth-place showing in Iowa, which propelled Sanders to front-runner status.
In his 2020 bid, the senator worked to broaden his support with Latino voters, and his coalition grew more diverse because of it. But despite years of outreach to increase his popularity among black voters, Sanders failed to earn their votes in large numbers. He also lost some of his white working-class supporters to Biden, a fracture of his coalition that cost him crucial votes in states like Michigan.
Sanders also stumbled with women voters, facing accusations of sexism in January after tensions between his and Warren’s campaigns spilled out into the open. The two progressives had largely remained allies while campaigning for the nomination, but a series of leaks to the media from aides and supporters of both senators accusing the other camp of dirty tricks and lying culminated in Warren saying in a statement that Sanders once told her he didn’t think a woman could win the presidency.
Sanders denied the claim, but he was hit with further criticism of his supporters — dubbed the “Bernie Bros” — after female union leaders in Nevada who spoke out against his candidacy said they were attacked by his fans.
His campaign officially stalled in South Carolina. Fueled by a crucial endorsement from Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., Biden won the Palmetto State decisively. The moderate wing of the party then consolidated around him — Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg both dropped out of the race and endorsed him — and Biden won 10 of 14 states on Super Tuesday.
A week later, on March 10, Biden dominated in five of the six states that voted, including Michigan, one of Sanders’ biggest 2016 victories, to grow his delegate lead over the Vermont senator. Sanders’ substantial losses in Florida, Illinois and Arizona on March 17 put Biden on an insurmountable path to the Democratic nomination.
A day after those contests, and with the next voting night weeks away, Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir wrote that the candidate was “going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign. In the immediate term, however, he is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable.”
In a message to supporters, Shakir was more pointed.
“No sugarcoating it, last night did not go the way we wanted,” he said of the March 17 losses. “And while our campaign has won the battle of ideas, we are losing the battle over electability to Joe Biden.”
If this election turns out to be just between a self-proclaimed socialist and an undiagnosed sociopath, we will be in a terrible, terrible place as a country. How do we prevent that?
That’s all I am thinking about right now. My short answer is that the Democrats have to do something extraordinary — forge a national unity ticket the likes of which they have never forged before. And that’s true even if Democrats nominate someone other than Bernie Sanders.
What would this super ticket look like? Well, I suggest Sanders — and Michael Bloomberg, who seems to be his most viable long-term challenger — lay it out this way:
“I want people to know that if I am the Democratic nominee these will be my cabinet choices — my team of rivals. I want Amy Klobuchar as my vice president. Her decency, experience and moderation will be greatly appreciated across America and particularly in the Midwest. I want Mike Bloomberg (or Bernie Sanders) as my secretary of the Treasury. Our plans for addressing income inequality are actually not that far apart, and if we can blend them together it will be great for the country and reassure markets. I want Joe Biden as my secretary of state. No one in our party knows the world better or has more credibility with our allies than Joe. I will ask Elizabeth Warren to serve as health and human services secretary. No one could bring more energy and intellect to the task of expanding health care for more Americans than Senator Warren.
“I want Kamala Harris for attorney general. She has the toughness and integrity needed to clean up the corrupt mess Donald Trump has created in our Justice Department. I would like Mayor Pete as homeland security secretary; his intelligence and military background would make him a quick study in that job. I would like Tom Steyer to head a new cabinet position: secretary of national infrastructure. We’re going to rebuild America, not just build a wall on the border with Mexico. And I am asking Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark, to become secretary of housing and urban development. Who would bring more passion to the task of revitalizing our inner cities than Cory?
“I am asking Mitt Romney to be my commerce secretary. He is the best person to promote American business and technology abroad — and it is vital that the public understands that my government will be representing all Americans, including Republicans. I would like Andrew Yang to be energy secretary, overseeing our nuclear stockpile and renewable energy innovation. He’d be awesome.
“I am asking Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to serve as our U.N. ambassador. Can you imagine how our international standing would improve with youth worldwide with her representing next-gen America? And I want Senator Michael Bennet, the former superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, to be my secretary of education. No one understands education reform better than he does. Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna would be an ideal secretary of labor, balancing robots and workers to create “new collar” jobs.
“Finally, I am asking William H. McRaven, the retired Navy admiral who commanded the U.S. Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014 and oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, to be my defense secretary. Admiral McRaven, more than any other retired military officer, has had the courage and integrity to speak out against the way President Trump has politicized our intelligence agencies.
Only last week, McRaven wrote an essay in The Washington Post decrying Trump’s firing of Joe Maguire as acting director of national intelligence — the nation’s top intelligence officer — for doing his job when he had an aide brief a bipartisan committee of Congress on Russia’s renewed efforts to tilt our election toward Trump.
“Edmund Burke,” wrote McRaven, “the Irish statesman and philosopher, once said: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’”
If Bernie or Bloomberg or whoever emerges to head the Democratic ticket brings together such a team of rivals, I am confident it will defeat Trump in a landslide. But if progressives think they can win without the moderates — or the moderates without the progressives — they are crazy. And they’d be taking a huge risk with the future of the country by trying.
And I mean a huge risk. Back in May 2018, the former House speaker John Boehner declared: “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.”
It’s actually not napping anymore. It’s dead.
And I will tell you the day it died. It was just last week, when Trump sacked Maguire for advancing the truth and replaced him with a loyalist, an incompetent political hack, Richard Grenell. Grenell is the widely disliked U.S. ambassador to Germany, a post for which he is also unfit. Grenell is now purging the intelligence service of Trump critics. How are we going to get unvarnished, nonpolitical intelligence analysis when the message goes out that if your expert conclusions disagree with Trump’s wishes, you’re gone?
I don’t accept, but can vaguely understand, Republicans’ rallying around Trump on impeachment. But when Republicans, the self-proclaimed national security party — folks like Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton — don’t lift a finger to stop Trump’s politicization of our first line of defense — the national intelligence directorate set up after 9/11 — then the Republican Party is not asleep. It’s dead and buried.
And that is why a respected, nonpartisan military intelligence professional like Bill McRaven felt compelled to warn what happens when good people are silent in the face of evil. Our retired generals don’t go public like that very often. But he was practically screaming, “This is a four-alarm fire, a category 5 hurricane.” And the G.O.P. response? Silence.
Veteran political analyst E.J. Dionne, in his valuable new book, “Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country,” got this exactly right: We have no responsible Republican Party anymore. It is a deformed Trump personality cult. If the country is going to be governed responsibly, that leadership can come only from Democrats and disaffected Republicans courageous enough to stand up to Trump. It is crucial, therefore, argues Dionne, that moderate and progressive Democrats find a way to build a governing coalition together.
Neither can defeat the other. Neither can win without the other. Neither can govern without the other.
If they don’t join together — if the Democrats opt for a circular firing squad — you can kiss the America you grew up in goodbye.
More than 70 percent of Democratic midterm voters not only think climate change is happening, they’re actually “very concerned” about it, according to an Associated Press poll. Democratic candidates are catering to that with a slew of climate plans that, frankly, say a lot of similar things.
¶ Do you think climate change is a big deal? Check. Should the US recommit itself to the Paris climate agreement? Check. Do we need net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050? Check.
¶ Should the US turn to nuclear energy as a way to stop burning planet-warming fossil fuels? Now that’s where it gets really juicy. […continued…]
DeSmog – Bernie Sanders’ Plan to Phase out Nuclear Power Draws Attacks — Here’s Why They’re Wrong, by Justin Mikulka, Aug 30, 2019
Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has released an ambitious climate proposal, one which champions of the status quo were quick to criticize. One line of attack, coming from many different sources, focuses on Sanders’ plan to phase out nuclear power, but the arguments, and who is behind them, deserve a closer look.
¶ Sanders’ proposal refers to nuclear power as one of several “false solutions” to the climate crisis: “To get to our goal of 100 percent sustainable energy, we will not rely on any false solutions like nuclear, geoengineering, carbon capture and sequestration, or trash incinerators.”
¶ The Washington Post editorial board quickly blasted Sanders’ plan to eliminate nuclear power… […continued…]
GOP deregulation is ruining clean water and air. Then there is profits over lives elsewhere. In Era of Aging Reactors, Nuclear Industry’s Push for Deregulation Sparks Warning of ‘Collision Course’ With Disaster – https://t.co/9zQzFfUvB5 via @commondreams