In what universe should Biden be making concessions to someone who has done so poorly in the race and who, the Democratic voters decided, holds views that make him unelectable? When a candidate wins based on voters’ perception, he is the most electable. He should not have to concede to the loser.
The Sanders gang might argue that Biden needs the Sanders people to win in November. Perhaps. Actually Biden already is well-situated to win the vast majority of Democrats as well as independents and a bunch of alienated Republicans. He has become more popular with each passing week among Democrats and, as President Trump bungles the U.S. response to the coronavirus, could be the overwhelming favorite to win in November.
As for Sanders’s supporters (who we now know from three weeks of humiliating losses are not as numerous as one might have imagined), some of them will go off in a huff no matter what, just as they did in 2016. (Some high-profile supporters, for example, voted for Jill Stein). Others have already decided that, yes, President Trump really is an existential threat, so they will of course support Biden, just as NeverTrumpers and supporters of other losing candidates have done. (Would anyone who would have otherwise refused to vote for Biden be won over if Biden said, “Sure, I love Bernie’s Green New Deal”?)
And come to think of it, didn’t Sanders promise to endorse Biden if he lost? I thought the deal was that the losing Democratic candidates would support the winner, no attempt to extort policy concessions needed.
Here’s an idea: Ignore Sanders. There are no more debates scheduled. When the primaries come along, Biden will rack up more delegates. Sanders can stay or go, but Biden should be treated as the presumptive nominee, which is effectively what he is. As I have suggested, he can give presidential-type speeches, tap someone to coordinate the convention (and plan a virtual gathering if need be), begin to vet vice-presidential candidates and start consultations with Democratic leadership on the Hill.
Biden’s agenda — expanding Obamacare to achieve universal coverage, an ambitious green energy plan, tough gun regulations, comprehensive immigration reform, Elizabeth Warren’s bankruptcy proposals, triple funding for Title I schools that serve poor children, two years of free community college, etc. — is already quite progressive. It is progressive, but sane.
Biden looks and sounds like a winner. That’s because he is. And Sanders, as he promised and as the vast number of Democrats have decided, should get behind Biden now. If not, I am rather certain Warren and other progressive stars would be happy to campaign with Biden while Sanders sulks. It’s time the left had a new standard-bearer, anyway, preferably — from their standpoint — someone who is more electable and likable.