It’s not exactly an eloquent comparison but it sure gets the message across. The co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ failed 2020 presidential campaign sounds as though she is only grudgingly going to vote for Joe Biden in the November election. Nina Turner certainly provided an eyebrow-raising quote in a piece published in The Atlantic.
The piece is titled “Don’t Count Trump Out” and the author lists five reasons that the election can go Trump’s way in November. It has been interesting to watch the media narrative slowly turn in recent days. The media has gone from unequivocally stating that Trump is toast and will be denied a second term in office by voters to beginning to say, well, maybe he can win if this happens or that happens. This is encouraging news for the Trump campaign, which, let’s face it, has been dealing with a rough patch lately. The Bernie bros wing of the Democrat Party, though, is giving acute cases of heartburn to Team Biden and the DNC.
Nina Turner’s quote is included in reason number five – Biden’s got his own problems. There is also a very strong quote from Cornel West. The idea is that Biden may be someone who can express empathy for Americans going through tough times but to the far-left wing of the party, he’s the kind of moderate that must be moved out of the way, not elected as president.
“We have to be true to ourselves and acknowledge that Biden is a mediocre, milquetoast, neoliberal centrist that we’ve been fighting against in the Democratic establishment,” Cornel West, the Harvard University professor and a Bernie Sanders supporter, told me.
If Sanders’s primary voters stay home on Election Day out of pique, that could damage Biden’s chances, especially in must-win swing states.
Nina Turner, a co-chair of the Sanders campaign, told me she has no appetite for the choice she faces: “It’s like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.’ It’s still shit.”
So, we’ll just say that there is still a lot of tension between Bernie’s supporters and the Biden campaign. Given that this is the second presidential year cycle that they have had to step aside for a standard Democrat establishment candidate, it isn’t surprising that there is a lot of resentment still floating around. It is less than 100 days until the election, though, and Biden has a real enthusiasm problem so these quotes don’t help. Plus, as the article points out, you can bet your bottom dollar that President Trump will take advantage of the tension between the two camps and stir the pot every chance he gets. He boasts that Bernie voters voted for him in 2016 and you can believe he’ll do the same this time. Trump would be a fool not to take advantage of the opportunity.
“Last time I got a lot of Bernie Sanders voters, as you know, a very good percentage. People were shocked, mostly because of trade,” Trump said in a Father’s Day discussion last month with his son Donald Trump Jr.
“One thing Bernie was right on was trade. He said that everybody in this country is being hurt badly by our trade deals. They’re so bad. And I get a lot of support from Bernie Sanders [supporters]. I think I’m going to have it again this time.”
The Biden campaign has the Never Trumper Republicans and the Trump campaign has the Bernie bros. Sanders’ voters may not come out in strong numbers to protest Biden and vote for Trump, and they certainly won’t admit it out loud, but it could be a small factor in Trump’s re-election victory. It’s a legitimate thought, anyway.
That leads to the fifth reason that Trump may win re-election – Biden’s voters may just stay home and not vote at all. The Atlantic piece blames voter suppression due to the coronavirus and voters not wanting to risk their health to vote (though polling places have methods in place to mitigate the spread of the virus.) It’s an excuse to promote mail-in voting, which Trump and Republicans oppose, on a nationwide basis. Most states are not set up to handle all mail-in voting and it would be chaos. Election results would be delayed for days, maybe weeks, in many places. It isn’t voter suppression, it’s the reality of the situation. Voting in-person is still the best way to avoid voter fraud and protect election integrity.
California’s large delegation of Bernie supporters has a list of three women for Biden to take into consideration for his running mate. Nina Turner is one of those women. The other two women are Rep. Barbara Lee, and Rep. Karen Bass. That list will give Karen Bass heartburn, as she is trying to show she is a non-controversial choice.
In an open letter to Biden released on last week, California delegates who were chosen as supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wrote:
In order to meet this historic moment, Democrats must select an exceptional progressive Vice Presidential candidate who will both inspire the 90 million Americans who did not vote in 2016 to cast a ballot this November and lead America into a new era of equality, compassion, and economic justice. As 2020 DNC delegates representing progressives of California, the state with the largest delegation to the presidential nominating convention, we enthusiastically recommend as nominees for Vice President: Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), former State Senator Nina Turner (D-OH), Representative Karen Bass (D-CA).
This is why it is fun to watch a man who has spent his entire career in the U.S. Senate and accumulated an almost 50-year voting record now try to straddle the fence as he tries to be all things to all factions of his party. Is he a moderate or a far-left progressive (socialist)? He’s neither. He’s an opportunist with very little backbone and certainly no long-standing principles. He was pushed farther and farther to the left in the Democrat primary and he did so willingly to appeal to voters who were not at all impressed with him. He isn’t a leader, he’s a follower. The far-left of the party knows he is a phony.
Yesterday, “a key Democratic Party committee on Monday approved a 2020 platform that presents a liberal outline for the country but rejects many policies pursued by the left’s most outspoken progressives.” The far-left was holding up the process in order to negotiate their demands.
The final draft endorses universal health care coverage but, as Biden does, calls for a “public option” insurance plan to compete in existing private insurance markets as the next step. Committee members overwhelmingly rejected amendments to more explicitly endorse the single-payer insurance model like what Bernie Sanders pushed.
In a lengthy passage demanding an overhaul of the criminal justice system, Democrats decry the effects of a decadeslong “war on drugs.” But committee members rejected an amendment calling to legalize marijuana. The same section demands an end to police violence against Americans, but it does not endorse some activists’ calls to “defund the police.”
In total, the platform is part of Biden’s effort to balance the center-left establishment that has been his political home for decades with the party’s ascendant progressive wing represented by high-profile figures like Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In fact, the drafting process included a series of policy committees that Biden’s campaign convened with Sanders’ campaign after the Vermont senator finished as runner-up in the nominating fight. Ocasio-Cortez was included in that process, while Warren has emerged as a key policy adviser who talks regularly with Biden.
The platform committee felt the pressure from the Bernie bros yet their more aggressive policies were not approved. The DNC isn’t so stupid as to run a candidate with Bernie’s most extreme views. Remember, the establishment wanted to get rid of Bernie. Though Team Biden was trying to squash the tension, this likely won’t help with the rank and file voters.
Keep the popcorn handy.