Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appear together at a campaign rally in July 2018. AOC has endorsed Bernie as the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee. (Washington Post news photo)
Bernie Sanders needed a comeback. He’s been at No. 3 in nationwide and early-state polling* for a little while now, and that heart attack of earlier this month appeared like it just might doom his second presidential campaign.
But perhaps when everything is at stake is when your supporters really step up.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive rock star, and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, also a lightning rod for the neo-Nazis who comprise the Repugnican Party because she challenges the status quo (that is, right-wing white-male supremacy), this week endorsed Bernie, as did Michael Moore. (A full list of Bernie’s endorsers is here.)
Michael Moore’s popularity has been, I think, slipping over the years, so his endorsement, while certainly yet another indicator that Bernie is the real and the most dependable progressive in the race, isn’t the prize that is AOC’s endorsement. I mean, AOC has been in Congress for not even one full year yet and already we’re referring to her by her initials.
Why do AOC’s and Omar’s endorsements of Bernie matter? Again, they demonstrate that Bernie is the true-blue progressive. They demonstrate that just as the young members of “The Squad” represent the future, so does Bernie, even though he’s 78 years young.
And, of course, prominent progressive women of color endorsing Bernie blows away the DINOs’ bullshit “Bernie bros” myth; Bernie is just fine on women’s issues and on the issues of non-whites, even though according to the Billarybots, who unfortunately are still with us, he’s “just another” white man.
It’s obvious to anyone who has two brain cells to rub together that Repugnican Lite Joe Biden would be a milquetoast president at best — if he could even win the November 2020 election, which he probably could not (Hi, Billary!) — and it’s also becoming clearer that Elizabeth Warren is a cheap knock-off of Bernie.
Warren has demonstrated brains — plans upon plans upon plans, including, I’m sure, plans for more plans, and lots of political calculation — but she hasn’t demonstrated much heart. Former Repugnican Warren wouldn’t dare to run against Billary in 2016 because she is a cowardly party hack, and now she challenges Bernie, who, in my estimation, deserves the nomination alone for his central role is relegating Clintonism to the dustbin of history, where it belongs, and who recognizes, entirely unlike Warren, that capitalism must go before it kills all of us.
Why does Bernie appeal to so many of us while Warren doesn’t? Because, again, Warren is a political calculator, eerily like Billary Clinton, except that Warren has been smarter than Billary and has realized that she at least needed to co-opt Bernie’s message from the get-go if she wanted to win. (As I’ve noted, Billary co-opted Bernie’s message, but way too late in the campaign, whereas Warren slyly co-opted it before the campaign began.)
It’s true that progressive rock stars like AOC and Michael Moore may not appeal that much to the entire general November 2020 electorate, but, as Nate Silver recently noted, “Sanders’s objective for now is to win the nomination, not the general election.”
Indeed, you win the party’s presidential nomination by exciting and inspiring the base, something that Joe Biden’s woefully outdated Clintonism and Warren’s cold calculations don’t do.
Unfortunately, it will take at least several days to see how Bernie’s good performance in this past week’s fourth debate and his recent endorsements help him in the polls.
But methinks that it’s inarguable that while it looked like he was in danger of slipping off of the mountain, he’s climbing right up it again.
*Don’t get me wrong — Bernie’s many competitors who can’t even hit the double digits would love to be in Bernie’s place, with double digits in the polls and with the best fundraising numbers of any other Democratic presidential candidate, but third place in the polls isn’t optimal.
That said, I think it’s entirely likely that Biden will implode soon enough, as he did when he ran for the nomination in 1988 and in 2008, and that this race essentially will be between establishmentarian Warren and actual progressive Bernie.
If it gets ugly, like 2016 got ugly, so be it. The future of the nation and the world is far more important than is any one individual and his or her feelings and those of his or her supporters.