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Here’s Why Bernie’s Endorsement Of Biden Is Different Than 2016

Last week, one-time 2020 Democratic frontrunner and highly popular self-styled democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders shocked many of his hardcore supporters when he pulled out of the 2020 Democratic Presidential Contest, leaving a clear path of victory for former Vice President Joe Biden.

The populist independent senator from Vermont made his support of Biden’s candidacy official after endorsing Biden him Monday in a virtual event.

Biden, largely seen as a centrist Democrat of the old variety who mostly opposed Sanders’s more progressive agenda, does not want to make the same mistakes that Hillary Clinton made in 2016 when she arrogantly wrote off Sanders and his supporters. Not only did this cause a near rapture at the 2016 Democratic National Convention (I was there), but it spilled into the 2016 general election when some angry Sanders supporters either refused to vote for Hillary or, worse yet, voted for Trump.

Unlike Clinton, Biden seems to like and respect Sanders, thus explaining why he decided to extend an olive branch to Bernie’s army of supporters by promising to take on some of his more bold progressive initiatives.

Even if Sanders failed to secure the Democratic Nomination, nobody (and not even the DNC) can dismiss the enormous effect he has had on the Democratic electorate and public policy. One might say he’s the progressive movement’s version of Barry Goldwater; that is, he may not ever be president, but he has laid the groundwork for a progressive revolution and an eventual winning unapologetically progressive candidate within the next 10-15 years.

After all, Medicare-for-all wasn’t only ignored in 2016 by the DNC, it was pretty much a pipedream. Sen. Sanders not only made it mainstream, but he got many 2020 Democratic candidates to adopt versions of it into their healthcare proposals.

And, sure — die-hard “Bernie or Bust” voters will still make a lot of noise on social media, allowing ample opportunities for Russian bots and Trump campaign people to exploit.

However, it shouldn’t be anything like what we saw in 2016 since there doesn’t really exist any true animosity between Biden and Sanders as there did between Hillary Clinton and Sanders. Plus, Sanders did Biden an enormous favor by dropping out so early and giving him ample time to reach out to progressives while preparing to take on Trump in November.

Featured image credit: Image of Sanders, via Gage Skidmore/Flickr; image of Biden, via Gage Skidmore/Flickr



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