Opinion: Biden, Bernie now need to join forces if Dems want to win


Lindsay Bonetti

Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race on Monday.

Lindsay Bonetti, News Editor

A few weeks ago, I was driving home from South Park Shops and noticed the jarring bareness of that infamous house dedicated to supporting Bernie Sanders. All of the cardboard cutouts of Bernie’s face, the Feel the Bern posters, and the yard signs had vanished. It was the first time I had seen the lawn at that house since Bernie announced his first campaign back in 2015. 

Those yard signs made it through five years of thunderstorms and snow squalls. But clearly they could not withstand the unexpected fury of the Joe Biden campaign.

It seems as if even Bernie’s biggest supporters knew the time had come. 

Today, Sanders announced the end of his 2020 campaign, leaving Biden with a clear path to the Democratic nomination. 

Sanders made the right decision to drop out of the race when he did. But he needs to rally his supporters around Biden for the Democrats to stand a chance of taking the White House.

Moments after the Sanders announcement, the top trend on Twitter was “Trump and Biden,” as people apparently were frustrated by having to pick the lesser of two evils or not vote at all. For some people, it seemed like a haunting flashback to 2016.

For Sanders, the problem was not so much policy, but bad timing. It’s hard to replace a radical right with a radical left. ”

But this cannot be the end for the Dems. “Bernie or Bust” will not get them to the finish line. 

Yes, it is true that Biden is not an ideal candidate and that he has a controversial past. But if Bernie supporters stay at home on Election Day, it will only ensure a landslide Republican victory and four more years of Trump.

With no rallies or debates in the near future due to COVID-19, Bernie had no opportunities to make up ground on the surging Biden. Instead of the party remaining divided, which historically has been a tragic downfall, Biden and Bernie now can focus on defeating Donald Trump rather than each other.

For Sanders, the problem was not so much policy, but bad timing. It’s hard to replace a radical right with a radical left. 

If Trump was not the opponent and the race was a competition of policy rather than persona, Bernie would have had a greater chance.

Universal health care, canceling student debt, and mending the climate emergency are not unpopular ideas among Democrats. What was unpopular was Sanders’ inability to compromise and attract moderate Republicans. This was magnified by the looming question of whether Sanders would be able to beat Trump. And then the young voters whom Bernie had hoped to inspire did not turn out in big enough numbers.

With this uncertainty, most liberals fled to the campaign that comforted them with their biggest fantasy — returning to the time of Obama. 

Biden has an immense new responsibility now without Bernie in the running. He needs to start staking out clear-cut policies that secure Sanders’ supporters, such as how in the last debate he mentioned being in favor of free college tuition for the majority of income brackets.

However, most importantly, Biden needs to excite the young voters still disheartened about the failure of Sanders. Biden did promise to choose a woman as his running mate, but it should be a young, inspiring one to bring greater energy to his campaign.

Bernie ran two historic campaigns and undoubtedly changed the fervor and goals of the Democratic Party. It’s saddening to see him go, but Dems must keep their eye on the prize.