The United States finds itself in the midst of a crisis that is without parallel. Health-care experts warn that our emergency rooms may soon turn into war zones, unemployment could rise as high as 20 percent and worker’s retirement accounts can expect to fall even further on Wall Street. The crisis we are entering could be the most challenging since World War II. That is why the Democratic Party must begin to present its alternative vision to Donald Trump’s presidency in one voice.
Were the dynamics of this race different — had Biden performed in a less dominant manner on Tuesday, had Sanders shown a viable path forward over the past three weeks, had the former vice president not turned in his most impressive debate performance on Sunday night — I would argue that this race should go on. But it is now clear that Joe Biden will be his party’s nominee for president.
We heard throughout this long Democratic primary all about the “damn bill” the Vermont senator wrote. He told us all he had done to make the Senate more responsive to the needs of working Americans. If Sanders has that ability to shape the national debate and bend history toward a more just future, then that opportunity is awaiting him on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and not in an empty studio fighting a lost cause by streaming irrelevant campaign speeches.
Sanders’s greatest battle against President Trump and moneyed interests on Wall Street is awaiting him on Capitol Hill. Today, a bipartisan coalition of legislators is busy piecing together corporate bailouts for Fortune 500 companies who already received massive financial windfalls from Trump’s tax cuts. The largest corporations in the United States used those billions to buy back stock instead of giving raises to workers, expanding business operations or setting aside cash reserves for crises like the ones they are now experiencing. Now, they are back at the trough lobbying for another bailout.
Is this not the type of ideological battle that first drew Sanders to public service? Does he not want to play an active role in crafting new legislation that will put the needs of workers ahead of those corporate profiteers? Will he choose to make a statement or make a difference?
Sanders’s critics will assume the worst of him. They expect the self-described democratic socialist to continue a public career defined more by rhetorical bombast than real results. But I choose to believe that Sanders will put his constituents and his country first, suspend his campaign and begin in earnest the battle before us all. That fight will be waged more on Capitol Hill than through a presidential campaign that, in effect, ended weeks ago.
It is time for Sanders and his supporters to focus their efforts where they can best impact the future. It is time for Bernie Sanders to end his campaign for president and carry his fight to Capitol Hill.