Hillary Clinton has blamed Bernie Sanders for her 2016 election loss to President Trump. On multiple occasions, she has insinuated it and lately she has been unambiguous about this perspective. Whether or not that’s true is up for debate, but one thing is demonstrably true: Many of Sanders supporters stayed home on election day and many others voted for the anti-establishment candidate, President Trump.
Will the same thing happen this year now that Sanders has officially dropped out? Absolutely. In fact, it’s going to be even worse for Joe Biden (or whoever the nominee ends up being) than it was for Clinton. Why? Because this time, there is the Justice Democrats and other radical progressive groups that NEED the Democratic Establishment candidate to lose. If the Democratic nominee wins the general election, the radical progressive wing of the party will be weakened.
On the other hand, if the Establishment puts forth a candidate that loses to President Trump, it will spark a revolution within the party that will pull it even further to the left than it has been so far. The push for Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, Modern Monetary Theory, and whatever other hyper-leftist policy they can come up with will grow rapidly. It will get intense and the Democratic Party will be splintered dramatically and indefinitely.
In Sanders’ drop out speech today, he didn’t give a glowing endorsement of Biden. He congratulated him and said he would work with him after the convention to defeat President Trump, but he also noted that he will still be accumulating delegates so they can sway the platform.
Today I am suspending my campaign. But while the campaign ends, the struggle for justice continues on. https://t.co/MYc7kt2b16
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 8, 2020
The signal here was received by the appropriate people. They are not going to embrace Biden. They aren’t going to outright harm him, but the passion that made the Sanders campaign viable will not be transferred to the nominee. Instead, we will see Justice Democrats and other radical progressives focus on down-ballot races to get as many Marxist candidates as possible on Capitol Hill.
Keep in mind, the immediate threat to the radical progressives is not the GOP. They view the Democratic Establishment as their primary foe that prevents them from pushing forward an extreme agenda. As long as the Establishment is in control of the party, that agenda will never be front-facing and legislation will always be watered down.
But there’s another factor in play. Many in the Sanders camp aren’t just radical progressives. They are also anti-establishment, and Biden is the embodiment of the establishment after four decades in Washington DC. President Trump has demonstrated that he will root out the very corruption that Biden emboldens. Yes, many Sanders supporters will look to President Trump instead of Biden.
Hyper-leftist tears will be falling today, but many of them won’t be replaced by a resolution to support Joe Biden. Many Bernie Sanders supporters will stay home. The Democratic Establishment is the radical progressives’ enemy even more than the GOP.