Apr 07, 2020
We understand that many Democrats are calling for Bernie to drop out. They say that Joe Biden is so far ahead that the time has come for party unity, for focusing on Donald Trump. While we agree about the necessity of defeating Donald Trump, we arrive at the opposite conclusion: The Democratic Party, and all Americans, will benefit from Bernie continuing his campaign in this historic moment.
The severity of the COVID-19 national emergency has changed everything in this election year. Coronavirus has revealed--in ways that Bernie Sanders has been warning against for decades and with tragic consequences--the failings of our public health institutions and economic safety net. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Bernie's platform directly addresses these failings; in marked contrast to his rival's. As many observers have noted, with each passing day the COVID-19 pandemic is proving the wisdom of the Sanders agenda.
"The Bernie Sanders agenda made a lot of sense before COVID-19, now it makes all the sense in the world."
In particular, Medicare for All needs to be the official policy of the Democratic Party and it's presidential nominee in 2020. The pandemic has exposed America's current healthcare system for the disaster that it is. There can be no denying that having tens of millions of Americans unable to access affordable care greatly increases the public health risk for everyone. America needs universal single-payer health care; and the only way to get there is through the Democratic Party. Yet Joe Biden opposes Medicare for All, while Bernie Sanders is its leading proponent.
In the wake of COVID-19, Medicare for All isn't merely a winning political issue--it's a political landslide issue. Even if Bernie doesn't win the nomination, by continuing to campaign and win delegates to the convention, he could leverage Medicare for All into the party platform. For this alone, the nation, the Democratic Party--and even Joe Biden--should want Bernie Sanders to stay in the race.
We also need Bernie to stay in the race to insure that his voice is heard as we enter the peak days of the crisis. Over the past few weeks, Bernie has fought tirelessly on behalf of average Americans in the battles over the stimulus bills. As one of only three viable candidates for President, Bernie has a powerful platform. That will change overnight when his campaign ends; and his influence will wane, leaving Americans even more at the mercy of a political class that, on balance, prioritizes big money interests over those of the vast majority.
However, Bernie's campaign going forward is not just about building support for policies, because of we must not forget: the race isn't over. Joe Biden may have a significant delegate lead, but it's nothing that a string of 70-30 results wouldn't reverse. That might be a longshot, but it's not impossible. Think about it this way: Bernie's policies match this moment just like FDR's did in the early 1930s; and FDR won his share of landslides. Calling for Sanders to step aside is anti-democratic. Let the candidates campaign and let the voters decide.
On this final point, consider the parallel with FDR in light of the recent unemployment statistics. Only one period in American history resembles the wholesale devastation that is currently shredding the American economy, the Great Depression. How did we get out of that? After three years of Hoover's impotent response, FDR re-energized America with a revolutionary program that transformed the country forever, the New Deal--an updated version of which remains a central plank of Sanders' platform, the Green New Deal.
The next president sworn in next year will have a unique opportunity to define the direction of the country for the foreseeable future. Do we want to re-affirm a society that only works for the few while the rest of us work multiple jobs, live entwined in debt, with underfunded public schools, and a broken health care system with little hope of overcoming America's endemic crises? Or do we choose a new path that brings both our society and the planet back into balance and ensures that America will lead the world in addressing the biggest challenges of the next century?
Be honest folks, the Bernie Sanders agenda made a lot of sense before COVID-19, now it makes all the sense in the world. It's the vision that the Democratic Party needs to unify behind. The only way that happens is if the Sanders campaign continues.
The world has changed irreparably since early March when most primary votes were cast. The fallout from COVID-19 will define politics in the 2020s. We will all benefit by having the country's leading advocate for strengthening the public sector make his case in our new, transformed, reality.
Stay in the race Bernie Sanders. America needs you now more than ever.
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