Whither the Bernie Bros This Election?
There are so many moving pieces in this election that it’s not a bad idea to reassess one’s positions on things every few weeks. Or every few days, maybe.
Ever since Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race I’ve maintained that his supporters wouldn’t be voting for Biden in droves, despite Biden’s pivot to the lunatic fringe left on many issues. There are many reasons I have this opinion, chief among them being the undeniable fact that the Bernie Bros absolutely despise establishment Democrats, even more so since 2016.
Sanders himself only plays nice with the Democratic establishment when he needs to lend some sort of legitimacy to a presidential campaign. The rest of the time he’s a registered independent. He may caucus with the Democrats but the message is clear: One of these things is not like the others.
Many thought that Sanders might hang around like he did in 2016 just to annoy Biden and the establishment. His graceful bow-out when he saw the writing on the wall was taken by many as a sign that Team Bernie might play nice and help Biden. Sanders may have been on board, but a lot of his supporters and surrogates weren’t.
It got worse when Biden chose Kamala Harris as his running mate. To be fair, no one really likes Kamala Harris, but the progressives really, really don’t.
This is from Bernie’s national press secretary:
We are in the midst of the largest protest movement in American history, the subject of which is excessive policing, and the Democratic Party chose a “top cop” and the author of the Joe Biden crime bill to save us from Trump.
The contempt for the base is, wow.
— 💀🎃Briahna Joy Co-pay 🕸👻 (@briebriejoy) August 11, 2020
She’s loaded with angst for the party and Grandpa Gropes.
Foxnews.com shared this from a progressive activist:
— Jordan (@JordanChariton) August 11, 2020
As you can see, it’s not really far-fetched to think that the Sanders progressives won’t be turning out en masse for Biden.
I’ve frequently shared this anecdotal evidence. I live in a very progressive neighborhood. Bernie yard signs and bumper stickers are everywhere. I have several neighbors who still have Bernie 2016 signs up in their yards. They ain’t playin’. There are signs all over the ‘hood for local progressive candidates and issues. Until about ten days ago, there were no Biden signs to be seen anywhere. Now two of my neighbors have finally put some up. One of the signs is hidden behind all of the vegetation in the neighbors’ yard. It’s as if they’re saying, “OK, we’ll go out on a date with him but we don’t want to tell our friends about it.”
I walk around the rest of the neighborhood a lot and I see all of the local signage but no more Biden signs.
Does this mean anything? Who knows? I’ll wager, however, that the situation is similar in other progressive enclaves.
By the way, I’m saying “turn out” here as a matter of convenience. I’m using that as a catchall for any kind of voting.
Biden hasn’t been doing himself any favors with the progressives.
As former Vice President Joe Biden centers the closing weeks of his campaign around his talent for consolidating the country, he has verbally distanced himself from the notion, amplified by President Donald Trump and his GOP boosters, that he is a tool of the progressive left and anything remotely close to a “socialist.”
In doing so, some progressives believe he’s left Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) out to dry.
The latest instance came on Monday night, where he boasted that he’s “the guy who ran against the socialists” when asked by a voter during a town hall in Miami about attacks by Republicans meant to conjure up fears about communism and socialism in Cuban and Venezuelan communities. “There’s not one syllable I’ve ever said that could lead you to believe I was a socialist or communist,” Biden said.
The comment was just one of several recent remarks that Sanders’ allies have viewed as negative in tone about progressives leading up to Nov. 3. And they come as many in Sandersworld have long resisted the urge to criticize Biden until after the election.
The Democrats’ constant fear-mongering has no doubt scared some progressives into being willing to hold their noses and vote for Biden. The obvious question is how many.
The real question is whether the progressives will be able to stomach Harris (seriously, nobody likes this woman). Her records as a prosecutor and attorney-general were so problematic that she began running away from them as soon as she announced her candidacy for president.
Everyone knows that if Biden is elected Kamala Harris will be president sooner rather than later. With a normal candidate this may not be much of a concern. The Democrats, however, have decided to bet their chips on a senile placeholder.
My guess is the specter of Kamala Harris waiting in the wings is probably enough to keep the Bernie Bros from holding their noses.
Check back with me in a week.
PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author of “Don’t Let the Hippies Shower” and “Straight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear twice a week.