About a month ago, I went to go see Bernie Sanders speak at a rally in Ann Arbor. That day was one of the most empowering in my life. The charisma, passion and steadiness of Sanders was on full display. He went through his policies, talked about how together all of us were gonna change America and decried corporate money in politics.
Standing next to me, were ten thousand people. And each one of us cheered on a Green New Deal, Universal Healthcare, living wages and more. The sense of community was overwhelming.
On April 8th, he dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination citing there not being any feasible path to victory. My first reaction was one of sadness, anger and disappointment. My second reaction was to look up third party candidates.
And that’s because unlike Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders was always more than just a person who could potentially beat Donald Trump. He was a beacon of hope and change. A leader, and a person who championed his ideals for a very long time. He was unwavering and showed commitment to his moral compass. He wasn’t just a candidate, he was the face of a movement. People identified with Sanders and felt like he understood them. My vote in the primaries was not cast for the Democratic party. It was cast for Sanders.
Sanders supporters will not turn out in the general election for Joe Biden.
And that’s backed up with numbers. Here’s what a recent Politico article cited about our state, “In Michigan — a state critical to Democrats’ efforts to reclaim their general election footing in the Rust Belt — just 2 of 5 Sanders backers said they would vote Democratic in November, regardless of who became the nominee, according to exit polls.”
Even as Joe Biden takes steps toward progressive ideas like expanding medicare and student loan debt programs, Sanders supporters just won’t sway.
One, because those aren’t the major things Sanders campaigned for. That isn’t a Green New Deal and it isn’t Universal Healthcare. That isn’t systematic reform.
Two, because unlike Sanders, Biden isn’t a hero. He’s just a man who Obama picked to be vice president. He’s just a man who voted in support of the Iraq war, for NAFTA and argued for years to cut back on social security.
Sanders isn’t perfect, and it’s important for everyone to recognize that. But he is someone to look up to. He is someone that in coming years, generations will look up to.
Biden, with a win or loss in the general election won’t ever be remembered as anything but the vice president to our country’s first black president. He’s just not the person.
Biden won’t get the progressive vote. Vote for Biden so Trump won’t win isn’t anymore of a convincing argument then it was four years ago with Clinton. Much more convincing is: don’t vote at all, or vote third party until the Democratic party realizes that their nominees will continually lose or underperform without progressive support.