OPINION: The Democratic’s refusal to support Sanders is detrimental

Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign rally. He is holding a microphone in one hand and pointing at the audience with the other hand.
Bernie Sanders stands to destroy a political system that works for the privileged and not the people, just as Trump did during his 2016 campaign. (Courtesy: Flickr user Phil Roeder)

In the matter of a week, the Democratic Party has managed to completely revive Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Prior to Biden’s victory in South Carolina, the former vice president was struggling to gain the votes and favor of the American people.

Much like the candidate himself, Biden’s campaign was tired, unenthused and unmotivated. Biden was trying and failing to excite and animate voters about the same policies and attitudes that have failed Americans for decades.

This begs the question: Why has the Democratic Party decided to put the full force of its resources and power behind Biden, instead of the energized and progressive campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.? 

For months now, most Democrats have been afraid of Sanders becoming the Democratic nominee. His campaign has been referred to as radical and unattainable; too much too fast in the eyes of many moderate Democrats.

It is evident by recent events in the 2020 election that many members of the Democratic Party are actively trying to obstruct Sanders from winning the Democratic nomination. This is not to say that the election is any way rigged — I am not perpetuating a conspiracy theory. There is no evidence of vote changing or ballot box stuffing, conditions necessary to consider this a rigged election

However, the Democratic Party is actively creating more support for Biden and, if given the opportunity, would stop Sanders from receiving the nomination. According to a New York Times article, Democratic establishment leaders are willing to risk intraparty damage to stop his nomination at the Democratic National Convention in July.

NYT interviewed 93 superdelegates, for which the majority was opposed to handing the Vermont senator the nomination if he arrived with the most delegates but fell short of the majority of delegates. The delegates outright said or implied that many other delegates felt the same way. 

As the race between Biden and Sanders becomes increasingly tight, this situation is more likely than ever. According to NYT, Jay Jacobs, the New York State Democratic Party chairman and a superdelegate, believed that “superdelegates should choose a nominee they believed had the best chance of defeating Mr. Trump if no candidate wins a majority of delegates during the primaries.”

The consensus among most superdelegates is that Sanders would not have the best chance of defeating Mr. Trump, despite the fact that in general election polls Sanders is predicted to beat Trump. Blocking Sanders from a nomination if he gets most of the delegates is a pure attack on the political revolution he is currently leading. The party would be denying the voices of millions of voters — many of whom are young and minorities, the groups who will be most affected by future policies.

Besides a brokered convention, endorsements for Biden from fellow Democrats and former presidential candidates have come flooding in. After Biden’s victory in South Carolina, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., endorsed Biden for president, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg followed suit March 4 and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., March 8. 

Moderate Democrats are pooling their support towards Biden, something the progressives have failed to do as former presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Julián Castro, the former housing and urban development secretary under President Barack Obama, have not yet endorsed Sanders for president.

Biden also has 66 billionaires from Wall Street funding his campaign. Many of these Wall Street people are self-described Democrats, yet they are afraid of Sanders because they see his policies as an attack on their way of life and a threat to their profit.

And they’re not wrong. Sanders has proposed a wealth tax, an increase in the corporate tax rate, the creation of a progressive estate tax on multi-millionaire and billionaire inheritances and breaking up big banks.

His campaign is focused on the liberation of the working class and taking away power from Wall Street and pharmaceutical companies. This would change the way American society and the government function, unlike Biden, who would maintain the neoliberal status quo of his Democratic predecessors.

That’s why Democrats are afraid. At the core of the Democrats’ fear is not losing to Trump again but a fear of change — change from neoliberalism to a progressive agenda that is anti-capitalist and anti-racist. This agenda would focus on the collective rather than the individual, and does not want small incremental change which never manifests itself into something concrete.

Sanders is running a people-powered campaign with no donations from corporations, billionaires or PACs against a party that does not want to nominate him and against an opponent with Wall Street in his pocket. The Democratic Party’s refusal to support him speaks volumes about their weak commitment to the people of this country. If the party wants to claim to be a party that supports equity and liberty, it must, at the very least, stop supporting Biden’s campaign. 

Anais Rivero PZ ’22 is a political studies major with a caffeine addiction. She believes the Joe Biden and Obama memes have damaged American political culture, #NotUncleJoe.

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