Americans should unite behind President Donald Trump and help the GOP take back the House of Representatives this fall. Until then, every available voter should do his or her part to ensure Joe Biden is the Democratic Party nominee. Allowing even a chance of Sen. Bernie Sanders becoming president is too dangerous to risk.
Some Republicans figure Sanders would be an easier opponent in a general election against Trump and root for his nomination. They may be right. Yet history is filled with cautionary tales of underestimated candidates humbling their faux champions from across the aisle.
In 1980, Democrats laughed off Ronald Reagan as a lightweight B-list actor, then lost in a 40-state landslide. George H.W. Bush was thought to be unbeatable in the aftermath of the Gulf War, but lost to 46-year-old Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton. And of course, in 2016, nearly everyone misjudged the appeal of a former real estate mogul and reality TV star named Donald J. Trump.
Putting Sanders in a position where he has even a chance of becoming president is too dire a prospect to play fast and loose. An unforeseen “black swan” event, like an economic collapse or a global pandemic, can turn a once-predictable race upside-down. Those who can still vote must prudently safeguard against any opportunity for Sanders to become president.
The 2020 Race Is Trump’s to Lose, but Expect a Hard Fight
It’s understandable that Republicans are confident Trump’s re-election this November will be a slam dunk. There are many reasons to be optimistic. The economy remains fundamentally strong. America isn’t fighting any major wars. National confidence is at a high not seen in years.
Unlike in 2016, this time Trump is running as an incumbent president with all the benefits. Trump will give his stump speeches in front of the official Seal of the President of the United States and land in swing states via Air Force One. In the last 100 years, only three incumbent presidents have lost their re-election bids. These are all positive signs. But it’s not a done deal.
Hillary Clinton was a historically unlikable candidate, but a flip of 45,000 votes in Pennsylvania, 23,000 votes in Wisconsin, and 11,000 votes in Michigan would have landed her the White House. Both Biden and Sanders have much more appeal to working-class voters living in Middle America, a segment of the population critical this November. Clinton’s campaign ignored her husband’s advice to take Trump’s support in the Rust Belt seriously. Neither Biden nor Sanders will repeat that mistake.
Democrats Voting for Biden Should Be Applauded
Now that the dust has settled after Super Tuesday, it’s clear Biden leads Sanders in the race for the Democratic nomination. Sanders’s online supporters like to claim shadowy, nebulous, all-powerful forces are thwarting the will of the people and “rigging” the election against their dear leader.
What is actually happening is real flesh-and-blood voters have chosen to repudiate Sanders and his extreme views. In the overall popular vote total, Biden leads Sanders by 50,000 votes, beating him fair and square.
Democratic primary voters have at least enough wherewithal to recognize Sanders is a threat to everything America stands for. Enough Democrats have shown the foresight and guts to stare down the Sanders anger-machine and use their ballots to proclaim: “No. We’re not going to let one of America’s major political parties be hijacked by a socialist. Not today.”
Before returning to their separate corners in the general election, instead of trying to prolong the race and give Sanders a chance to recover, Republicans and independents should help Biden supporters finish the job.
Introducing the ‘Biden Rule’
William F. Buckley Jr. advocated supporting “the rightwardmost viable candidate” for a given office. As long as Democratic Party presidential candidates include self-avowed socialists, Republican and independent voters should modify the Buckley Rule for the Biden Rule. For every open primary contest: “Vote for the most viable Democrat who will oppose socialism.”
Republicans and independents can seize the opportunity to help non-socialist Democrats put the final nail in the coffin of Sanders’s campaign. On Tuesday, March 10, they can vote for Biden in the open contests in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington, where 352 combined pledged delegates are up for grabs. Open primaries in Illinois on March 17 and Georgia on March 24 offer up another 260 total delegates.
The most recent projection from the stats gurus at FiveThirtyEight estimates Biden will end the Democratic presidential race a few hundred delegates over the 1,991 required to win the nomination — no superdelegates required. An even stronger showing by Biden in the states listed above can put the delegate count further out of the reach.
As tempting as it is for Republicans to “create chaos” in the Democratic primary, the real chaos scenario would be Sanders sitting behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office.
It’s About Protecting Our Fundamental Values
Against any reasonable, historical precedent, Biden is no “moderate” Democrat. He’s miles away from Harry Truman. He’s a far cry from the welfare-cutting, Third Way, New Democrat Bill Clinton was when he proclaimed, “The era of big government is over” (if wishing made it so…).
But at least Biden still believes in rewarding work. Biden still thinks America is a fundamentally good nation. If Trump loses, Biden would cause the least amount of damage to America’s bedrock institutions and values. Sanders would shake them to their core.
The choice of Biden versus Sanders is the difference between the U.K. Labour Party’s Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn. Men like Blair and Biden can be reasoned with. Revolutionaries like Corbyn and Sanders must be defeated at the ballot box at every opportunity.
In the realm of foreign policy, Biden’s beliefs are far and away preferable to Sanders’s penchant for blaming America for the ills of the world. Sanders proposes more than $1.2 trillion in drastic cuts to the U.S. military. This would hamper America’s ability to secure the frontiers of our sphere of influence. It would make the world a more dangerous place.
Imagine a President Sanders cozying up to far-left regimes across the globe, deploring America as inherently shameful, and slandering our founding documents from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Imagine the Democratic Party cowed into propping up the bankrupt morality of Sanders’s socialism and paying homage to leftist dictators such as Nicolas Maduro or Raul Castro. As The Federalist’s Emily Jashinsky and Madeline Osburn have shown, “radical” doesn’t begin to convey the nature of Sanders’s ideas.
When in Doubt: Do the Least Bad Thing
Republicans have a decent chance to hold the Senate in November and maintain their advantage in that chamber for the near future. Even if Trump hands the keys to the Oval Office to Biden in January 2021, Republicans can expect to reap the added boost that the party out of the White House typically receives. Since 1962, the sitting president’s party has lost an average of 23 House seats and three Senate seats in midterm elections.
Since 1968, Americans have shown they prefer a divided government — wherein one party holds the White House while the other party keeps them in check via Congress. Radical bills can be voted down. Leftist judges can be rejected. Just as the Newt Gingrich-controlled Congress forced President Clinton to triangulate to the center or even the right on many issues, Biden would be much easier to deal with than Sanders.
In a scenario where Trump loses, the GOP can work with Biden and mitigate the damage. Sanders, on the other hand, will be more likely to wield executive orders and the president’s reserved plenary foreign policy powers in ways detrimental to American interests and her allies.
If it must, America can batten down the hatches and weather through a Biden administration. A Sanders presidency, however, would pose a genuine threat to liberty. How long would the Free World remain free if a socialist were to occupy the White House? Americans who love their country can’t afford to find out.