April 9, 2020
When Joe Biden joined the Democratic race, he became the biggest threat to Bernie Sanders. That threat came to fruition this week as Sanders announced the suspension of his campaign. To most democratic progressives, the announcement was a disappointment as Bernie remains the candidate of hope for the kind of leadership and change his followers craved, since he first announced his candidacy for President in 2015.
“In this most desperate hour, I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour,” Sanders said as he stepped aside. The decision paved way for Biden as the presumptive nominee. However, Sanders would remain on the ballot to gather enough candidates to help convince the democratic establishment to consider his progressive agenda.
The road to the White House became muddy for the candidate after he lost the South Carolina primary, a loss that marked the beginning of a downward spiral which gave Biden victory across the South and part of the Midwest that swept aside the Senator from Vermont. Besides the numbers that are clearly not in his favor, it became clear majority of the electorates are unconvinced that being a Democratic Socialist does not make him a communist as the opposition contend.
The Republican party has been quick to call his progressive policies “radical” and communist giveaways, while the Democratic establishment attack the candidate for being far to the left. But, considering the political situation over the past decade, it is clear that if there is ever going to be any transformation, the best able to bring such change is Bernie Sanders. With Biden, you get another four years of Obama’ style of leadership far from a change you would expect in a Sanders administration.
The idea that the candidate’ progressive policies are radical is misinformed, when most democratic nations have such programs already in their system. Many Democrats have objected to his proposals questioning whether they can be passed, while voicing concern about whether his expansive “welfare state” is in keeping with the Democratic agenda.
Far from correct is to call such proposals welfare. There is nothing radical about Medicare for all, a healthcare program that is already a success in Europe and other industrialized nations. Failure of the Trump administration to deal with the health crisis of the Coronavirus and the lack of badly needed medical equipment shows the vulnerability of America’s healthcare system and how imperfect the status quo is to prove Sanders right. The number of Americans now lost to the deadly virus is greater than any country in the world where universal healthcare system exists.
The notion that a program that calls for climate control is radical is laughable, when science points to the fact that the earth is facing destruction from human activities and fossil fuel consumption aiding the emission of dangerous gas to the environment. Sanders built his campaign on holding corporations to account by promoting a world beyond fossil fuel making his advocacy for a better environment laudable and devoid of being labeled as a radical approach.
To think that Sanders proposal for a $15 minimum wage is a socialist or radical agenda is better described as selfish. Most Americans live from paycheck-to-paycheck, a $15 minimum wage will make a big difference in the life of many who struggle daily to survive. It will help repatriate jobs outsourced to China and other places where cheap labor is easy to get and help lower unemployment as many begin to realize the American dream.
College loan debt is drowning many Americans with a college degree. A plan that calls for the restructuring of our educational system and help student payoff such debt is not in any way radical. What is bad is how the financial institutions working with the government have turned education into a business venture, making it impossible for families to afford quality education. The best universities in the country have become monopolized, while only those parents who can afford it dare send their kids to such schools to the detriment of low income families.
With Biden as a clear nominee, there is potential for the relationship between Sanders and Biden to be better but Biden must deal carefully to not anger Sander’s followers. Sander’s movement is massive and cannot be ignored by the Democratic establishment. The party and its nominee must leave room for concessions by adopting some of Sander’s programs as part of the Democratic platform.
Adeyemi Oshunrinade is an expert in law, foreign relations and the United Nations. He is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment,’ ‘Criminal Law-Homicide’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available on Amazon. Follow on Twitter @san0670.