We are in a desperate struggle for the future, and there is a candidate who must be stopped. He is a serial liar who pathologically distorts his own record. He is hostile to Social Security and Medicare, and a rabid supporter of US militarism around the globe. He has worked hard to make life harder for students, poor people, and people of color. A long-time supporter of mass incarceration, he is a friend to segregationists; many women have come forward to accuse him of misconduct; and if that weren’t enough, there is ample evidence that he is losing his mind. The candidate I am talking about is, of course, Joe Biden.
What exactly differentiates him from the incumbent? Certainly, there are many differences, though few that feel particularly relevant. And yet, as the Democratic establishment and corporate media have moved as one in recent weeks to “stop Bernie Sanders” and resuscitate the candidacy of the former Vice President, it seems now that we are faced with an inevitability. When Andrew Yang comes out and declares that “the math” now makes Biden the “prohibitive nominee,” one has to worry, and if Elizabeth Warren endorses the man who is a “Democratic candidate for the United States Senate” and can’t tell his wife from his sister, well… I don’t think she will, and I haven’t given up.
Sanders has been endorsed by true progressive leaders from Jesse Jackson to AOC, and, more importantly, he has a mass movement behind him and has been endorsed by grassroots groups of Black scholars and feminist organizers. Haven’t read much about these endorsements in the corporate media? That’s because the corporate media is bullshit (corporatist propaganda, if you prefer) and, if you give it your attention, it’s long past time that you stopped.
Short and sweet tonight, as my focus has obviously been on the pandemic, our flat-footed response to it, our failure to grasp the urgency of acting now before it spreads more broadly, and what we can learn from our response to COVID-19 about our failures to adequately confront global climate crisis, but I’ll just add my voice to the chorus: If Biden is the Democratic nominee, I fear he’ll be eaten alive in the general election. If he loses, I’m almost certain the Democratic establishment will, once again, blame Bernie Sanders for the loss rather than look in the mirror.
That lessons were not learned from the 2016 election is a tragedy, but what is playing out now is more of a farce – though one with existential significance for all of us, as for the future of organized human life on Earth – and one could hardly ask for a more fitting image than this: A flailing Party, turning its back on its base in obeisance to its corporate donors, seizing defeat from the jaws of victory by refusing to see that people are demanding a break from 40+ years of failed neoliberal policies, instead going forward with a candidate possessed of “all of Hillary [Clinton]’s weaknesses and very few of her strengths,” a relic of a politician, Yesterday’s Man, in Branko Marcetic’s apt turn of phrase. In short, a failing party, presented an opportunity for a renaissance, has instead, fittingly, put forward a senile old man as their champion, and it now looks increasingly likely that, in the general election, we’ll witness the spectacle of not one, but two white old men in deep mental decline sparring it out to become what used to be the most powerful person on Earth as, around all of us, the world tips closer to burning.
Here’s to Bernie Sanders, and here’s to the movements behind him. We’ve got a world to win, but it gets a lot harder if we lose in November.