I worked an information desk yesterday for the local Democratic Party in my neck of the woods in Virginia. During the three hours at my post, I talked with voters, thanked them for voting and encouraged them to take information that detailed ways to assist the campaign in November. I was deeply struck by how many people commented to me they were worried that the future of the country was at stake.
It wasn’t just older people who made this comment. One younger woman, probably in her early 20s, was extremely passionate about how worried she was. I have no idea who she voted for, but she signed up immediately to work on the campaign in the fall.
The depth of Biden’s victory in Virginia surprised me. A closer contest between Biden and Sanders seemed in the cards. But Biden’s victory yesterday reflected what I personally saw at the polls. People were not so interested in a revolution as they were in getting rid of Donald Trump. People spoke of it with an almost religious fervor. They hate Donald Trump and the most important thing is to remove him from office.
If the results of yesterday’s Democratic primaries across the country indicate anything, they indicate that most Democrats believe that Joe Biden has a better chance of doing that than Bernie Sanders.
This leads to two observations:
1. If Sanders fails to win the nomination after such a promising start, he should not blame the Democratic establishment for his failure, but Trump himself.
If the Republicans had offered any other candidate but Donald Trump as the Republican nominee in 2020, center-left Democrats might have been more open to the kind of revolution that Sanders is promoting.
After 3 ½ years of a Trump presidency, however, Democrats are more interested in a return to normalcy (in the words of Jon Meacham) then a Sanders’ administration that might bring four more years of “revolutionary” discombobulation caused by a lurch to the left.
Not that Sanders’ ideas are unattractive. Healthcare for all is a great idea. I come from Canada. I lived in a system with universal healthcare. I know the benefits it bestows upon country. Canadians long ago stopped worrying about the government “controlling” healthcare. Universal healthcare means Canadians live several years longer than Americans and because they are healthier, this spins into other areas. Canadians enjoy a higher standard of living and a greater per capita income than Americans.
But the United States is not Canada.
Contemplating the kind of struggles that an implementation of Sanders’ policies would mean for politics in Washington and for the country looks to be too much for many Democratic voters.
The idea of Medicare for all needs to be introduced to the public as an option at first. I truly believe that once people have the option, they will choose it and the country will move towards Medicare for all.
2. Biden needs to seal the deal with Democratic voters.
People have spoken about “buyers’ remorse” becoming Biden’s next hurdle. Democrats, swept up with enthusiasm after Biden’s victory in South Carolina who then voted overwhelmingly for him on Tuesday, wonder if they made the right choice.
The withdrawal of Michael Bloomberg from the primaries and his endorsement of Joe Biden as the best candidate helps Biden. The many billions of Bloomberg will now go towards electing the former vice president.
This must scare Donald Trump. He worried about Biden in the past. Now dealing with a Biden who has a billionaire behind him – a billionaire who said he’s not afraid to spend a billion dollars to defeat Trump – will no doubt generate many tweets indicating how insecure our dear leader is feeling.
So prepare for a tsunami of social media claiming that the nomination was stolen from Bernie once again and criticizing Biden for doing the same things that Trump himself does.
Still, the campaign is far from over. We’ve seen one come back, maybe we’ll see another. Perhaps Sanders will discover some magic sauce that will refocus his campaign and regenerate his image in the eyes of Democratic voters.
Hmmm. Probably not.
Progressive Democratic voters will probably need to wait until Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is old enough to run for president before they score a decisive victory over the Democratic establishment. She already has my vote.