Perhaps the most significant item to come out of the March 15 Democratic presidential debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders was just how much the so-called moderate agreed with the radical.
Biden said he and Sanders agree that “health care should be a right.”
Contrary to the policy of the Obama administration, under which Biden loves to remind us he served, the former vice president said of those in the financial services industry who were bailed out, “I agree with Bernie, some of them should have gone to jail.”
According to Biden, he and Sanders, in fact, share many points of agreement:
“We both agree we have to deal with student debt.”
“We both agree we have to deal with education and access to education.”
“We both agree that we have a new Green Deal to deal with the existential threat that faces humanity.”
Biden concluded, “We disagree on the detail of how we do it,” but “we don’t disagree on the principle.” Sanders’s leftism is the brand on which Biden’s policy agenda and goals would be premised.
Sanders and Biden’s Common Vision
Accordingly, Biden said he would support the septuagenarian socialist Sanders were he the nominee. In response to a question from CNN’s Jake Tapper about how he would reach out to Sanders supporters when, contrary to his responses during the debate, “you do disagree on so many issues,” Biden stated:
He’s making it hard for me right now. I was trying to give him credit for some things. He won’t even take the credit for things he wants to do. … I want to make it clear that [if] Bernie as (sic) a nominee, I will not only support him, I will campaign for him … because the existential threat to the United States of America is Donald Trump.
Biden may have tried to wrap his hypothetical support for Sanders in a bow of Trump-hatred, but in his remarks two days later, following victories in the Florida, Illinois, and Arizona primary contests, Biden made his sentiments perfectly clear, saying, “Sanders and I may disagree on tactics, but we share a common vision,” lauding Sanders for having “shifted the fundamental conversation in this country.”
This is to say nothing of Biden having served as the No. 2 person in the most radically leftist administration since President Lyndon B. Johnson. Nor is it to mention his unique role in poisoning the Supreme Court confirmation process, from “Borking” to the high-tech lynching of Justice Clarence Thomas. He now pledges to further undermine the highest court in the land by vowing to discriminate on the basis of race and sex for his first Supreme Court pick. This was a bridge too far even for Sanders.
Biden’s Leftward Lurch Is Obvious
Whether Biden is at heart a Sanders socialist or is merely pandering to keep the Democratic coalition together is really of secondary importance to the fact that the socialist wing of the party is so big, strong, and vocal that Biden clearly believes he must appeal to it.
That Biden has calibrated his positions and rhetoric to the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party is consistent with the thesis of my new book, “American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party.” Omar is both a symbol of and critical player in the increasingly Sanders-dominated New Democratic Party, with their shared radical views on Jews and Israel, identity politics, and patriotism increasingly becoming mainstream Democratic positions.
Contrary to the notion that the Sanders-Omar wing is popular but politically impotent, I suggest that indicators such as the radically leftist positions of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment charade, and the party’s unwillingness to censure Omar by name and her antisemitic rhetoric specifically, indicate that wing is strong. The party is merely following the leftward slide of its electorate, led by disproportionately influential white elites.
The fact that the Democratic establishment apparatus apparently sprang into action, consolidating behind its generic candidate to halt Sanders’s march, is not so much a function of disagreements on “vision” — as reflected in Biden’s campaign — but fear that open radicalism could doom Democrats up and down the ticket. Why? Because the voting public writ large, and the older and more moderate voters who still make up a significant portion of the Democratic voting base, are not yet with him. Give it another decade, however, and the Sanders wing of the party is poised to inherit it.
Progressives Are Poised to Dominate Democrats
The single greatest piece of evidence for this claim can be found in the growth of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). When then-Rep. Bernie Sanders founded the CPC just more than a generation ago, there was a total of six members. Pelosi was an early joiner, only departing in 2003 when she was elected minority leader. In today’s Congress, there are nearly 100 CPC members, including Omar, who serves as whip. The CPC now represents more than 40 percent of all House Democrats. It has enjoyed a 15-fold increase in membership in less than 30 years.
While the old Democratic establishment clings to power amid a progressive onslaught that struck closest to home when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., primaried longtime Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley, consider what just transpired in the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.
Rep. Dan Lipinski had been a representative since 2005, when he succeeded his father, who had served since 1983. In the 2018 general election, Lipinski garnered 73 percent of the vote — and in 2020 lost to challenger Marie Newman. Newman was endorsed by a coterie of far-left politicians and activist groups, led by Sanders, several “squad” members, and their affiliated Justice Democrats PAC.
As the Wall Street Journal detailed in an op-ed, Lipinski paid a price for being one of the final anti-abortion members of the Democratic Party, no longer able to count on the “traditional working-class Democrats who … used to be a keystone in the party’s base.” The connection to Biden is that he, like Lipinski, opposed taxpayer-funded abortion — until the 2020 presidential campaign, when either by a change of heart after decades or a recognition of the political imperative to do so, Biden reversed his position on the Hyde Amendment.
The WSJ op-ed highlights exit polling from the diverse set of states that voted in the March 17 primaries in which Biden romped. The polling indicates the party’s shift in Sanders’ direction, noting:
Medicare for All registers 55% support to 33% oppose in Florida; 61% to 32% in Illinois; and 58% to 34% in Arizona. In President Obama’s old turf, Illinois, 43% say they want the nation’s next leader to be more liberal than Mr. Obama. Only 37% want a restoration of what Mr. Biden sometimes calls “our administration.”
Do not let the Democratic establishment fool you. It is increasingly Bernie Sanders’s party, just with superficially less radical frontmen.