If this report from Axios holds any water, Joe Biden is in the middle of some private negotiations with Bernie Sanders about this year’s DNC platform and Biden’s own policies as he prepares to move into general election mode. Uncle Joe is reportedly worried about not having gotten an official endorsement from Sanders when the latter dropped out of the race this week and wants to make sure he can bring Sanders’ supporters out to the polls for him in November. And if I were a Democratic strategist advising the Biden campaign right now I’d be seeing this as a recipe for disaster.
There’s no chance Biden will adopt Medicare for All as part of those discussions. But he could at least move in Sanders’ direction on big issues like health care and climate change, as well as others like labor and corporate responsibility.
Biden’s already moved toward Sanders on making college free, and toward former rival Elizabeth Warren on bankruptcy reform.
The trick will be to figure out how much Biden can credibly give him so Sanders can satisfy his supporters that he had an impact before giving Biden his endorsement.
The two men spoke Wednesday by phone, according to a person familiar with the conversation.
On the surface, you can sort of understand the reasoning behind these negotiations. Despite the fact that Sanders was anything but gracious toward Biden when announcing that he was suspending his campaign, Uncle Joe doesn’t want to look like he’s kicking Sanders when he’s down. And his concerns over the possibility that the Bernie Bros might stay home in droves can’t be entirely dismissed. With those things in mind, a bit of diplomacy to salve Sanders’ ego wouldn’t be entirely amiss.