Inspired by Sen. Bernie Sanders's speech at the California Democratic Convention in California—in which the 2020 contender took a thinly veiled shot at fellow White House hopeful Joe Biden's centrist policy approach—progressives made the Twitter hashtag #NoMiddleGround go viral on Sunday in an effort to make clear that there can be no compromises when it comes to confronting the global climate crisis, providing healthcare to all as a right, and battling inequality.
"We have got to make it clear that when the future of the planet is at stake, there is no 'middle ground,'" Sanders said, in a clear reference to Biden's reported middle-of-the-road climate agenda. "We will take on the fossil fuel industry and transform our energy system."
"When it comes to healthcare, there is no middle ground," Sanders continued. "When it comes to abortion, there is no middle ground. When it comes to mass shootings and the fact that 40,000 people were killed last year with guns, no middle ground."
There is no “middle ground” compromise with Donald Trump and the GOP. pic.twitter.com/EKu13ktjyc
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 2, 2019
The Vermont senator's remarks inspired a flood of tweets from his supporters and other progressives, who expressed enthusiastic agreement with Sanders's call for an uncompromising approach to the most pressing crises facing the United States and the planet.
Middle ground on fracking: water still poisoned.
Middle ground on health care: people still dying.
Middle ground on climate: planet still becomes uninhabitable.
Dems, for all these things (and more) there’s #NoMiddleGround. Thankfully though, there’s #Bernie. #FeelTheBern pic.twitter.com/j5SKSyvdm7
— Josh Fox (@joshfoxfilm) June 3, 2019
Stopping a war with Iran #NoMiddleGround
— Josh Orton (@joshorton) June 2, 2019
— Briana Blueitt (@briana_blue) June 2, 2019
There is #NoMiddleGround with the environment and climate action. Either we save 1,000,000 species from destruction and avoid $160 trillion in environmental costs or we don't.
— Youth For Environmental Change (@youth4ec) June 2, 2019
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Middle Ground on Climate Change = Uninhabitable Planet
Middle Ground on Healthcare = 30K+ Die Each Year
Middle Ground on Wall Street = Multi-Trillion Bailouts
Middle Ground on Social Security = Work Until You Drop Dead
Middle Ground on Housing = 553K homeless#NoMiddleGround
— Warren Gunnels (@GunnelsWarren) June 3, 2019
The tweets from Sanders backers and others quickly made #NoMiddleGround a trending Twitter topic in the U.S.
Sanders's remarks demanding an unabashedly bold progressive agenda were also applauded at the California Democratic Party Convention in San Francisco, where the Vermont senator received a standing ovation while calls for moderation by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Rep. John Delaney were panned by many in the crowd.
Biden, who is currently the Democratic frontrunner according to most national polls, did not attend the California convention.
"In my view, we will not defeat Donald Trump unless we bring excitement and energy into the campaign, and unless we give millions of working people and young people a reason to vote, and a reason to believe that politics is relevant to their lives," Sanders told the San Francisco audience. "We cannot go back to the old ways, we have got to go forward with a new and progressive agenda."