A Plea to Bernie Bros
Put aside our differences, fight for progressive issues, and support Warren for VP.
By Phillip | 5/17/20
“You’re part of the problem!” screamed the Bernie supporter from across the library after I reaffirmed my intention to vote for Elizabeth Warren in the California primary. Later that day, Joe Biden took the delegate lead in the Democratic Primary, and when he took the polling lead a few days later, the contest was effectively over.
Elizabeth Warren should have endorsed Bernie Sanders the moment she dropped out of the primary, but one can understand why she didn’t. The contest was moving incredibly fast, as the moderate wing of the party only coalesced around Joe Biden the day before Super Tuesday. And up to that point, when her endorsement would have mattered the most, only around 3% of Democrats had voted. Elizabeth Warren is not the reason that Bernie lost: a historical move from the Democratic establishment and missteps from his campaign doomed him.
Elizabeth Warren isn’t the best pick to win the presidency and the senate. She is, to be curt, old and white. She is not a perfect candidate, because there is no such thing. But the progressive wing of the party has already been overruled twice, and we have received uninspiring results in Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden. Elizabeth Warren should be the pick of progressives because she is the most progressive candidate.
Now Bernie supporters are guilty of the same crime that Warren was: allowing our differences to divide us instead of uniting for a broad progressive agenda. Bernie Sanders will not be Vice President, so please focus your attention on the next best (and, in my opinion, better) option. You have already created meaningful policy changes by pushing for inclusion in Joe Biden’s task forces. On Biden’s health care task force, the members supporting Medicare For All outnumber other members. Now you have the chance to influence who will be the second most powerful person in America. It’s a consolation prize, but it is much better than the alternative. There will be those who say that Warren is the same as Harris is the same as Klobuchar, and Joe Biden is a Republican, because they are all neoliberal sellouts. This idea lacks nuance, and is the same thing that has stopped the Left from accumulating incremental power. None of the options are ideal for Bernie supporters, but Warren aligns with Bernie on the overwhelming majority of issues (and would likely align on almost all if she didn’t have to distinguish herself from him when running against him).
A growing number of Democrats are open to Elizabeth Warren as Vice President. Contrary to what Twitter would have you believe, she is the best person on Biden’s short list to unite the progressive and moderate wings of the party. Warren released her first Coronavirus plan in January, when both parties thought that there was nothing to worry about. Her careful consideration would contrast with Donald Trump’s mindlessness that has cost America thousands of lives and millions of jobs. Warren’s lifelong missions against corruption and giving money back to the American people would cut through the president’s cries of “DRAIN THE SWAMP!” and expose his firing of inspector generals. Ann Coulter, a conservative commentator, tweeted “Sen. Warren has convinced me that Bernie isn’t that worrisome. He’ll never get anything done. SHE’S the freak who will show up with 17 idiotic plans every day and keep everyone up until it gets done.” Republicans take over the government and then try to prove that the government doesn’t work, but a Warren Vice Presidency would be a great counter argument for the millions of cynical Americans who don’t vote.
Politics is all about leverage. Will the Democrats use suffering as leverage by blocking relief bills like the Republicans in 2009? Which block of the party will withhold support unless concessions are made? Whether Biden will pick Warren is based on leverage: will Bernie and his bros openly advocate for Warren. Although most of Sanders’ supporters want Warren: Sander’s organization Our Revolution picked Warren by more than 40 points over the next contender Stacey Abrams (who is actually quite moderate, but is portrayed as liberal), the loudest voices in his coalition are still opposed. They feel betrayed from a bitter primary fight for the heart of the Democratic Party for the soul of America. And I understand their pain: after Nevada I was sure that Bernie would win. But now it is time to set aside our differences and do what is right for the progressive movement and our country. If you care more about your moral superiority and memeing rich liberals, then sit this fight out. But this was never about one old white man or one campaign, so please listen to Bernie: “Not me. Us.”
I voted for a different Democrat than you. We might look different or live in different zip codes. But we believe in the same values — equality and an America that works for all of us. So I am once again asking you to support Elizabeth Warren for Vice President.