Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont has to be the most frustrated person in public life right now. It is bad enough that he had to choose which of his three homes to shelter in place in now that the Senate is out of session. Now he has to contemplate what might have been and to imagine how, somehow, he can jump-start the revolution that he once thought was going to transform the United States into a soviet republic with him as president. Biden is not even cooperating by continuing the face by agreeing to another debate.
Back when the coronavirus pandemic was just something that was happening to the Chinese, which is to say an eon ago, Bernie was riding high after a victory on Nevada and serious talk abounded that he just might win the nomination this time. Then the Democratic movers and shakers rallied around former Vice President Joe Biden. Bernie’s main rival went through the subsequent primary schedule like Sherman through Georgia. As a result, Biden is the presumptive nominee and Bernie, just like in 2016, is left out in the cold.
In between grandstanding during the senate debate on the coronavirus rescue bill, Sanders is still officially running for president. CNN poses the one-word question: Why?
“Sanders is more likely to draw more attention from the national media as a still-presidential candidate than as a former presidential candidate. If he wants people to pay attention to what he thinks should be done about coronavirus — or any other issue — that platform of being a presidential candidate is irreplaceable.”
Sanders wants to keep pushing Biden to the left, the theory is that even if Bernie cannot win the nominations, his ideas might. What happens in November is at best an open question.
Besides, considering Biden’s recent performances on his abortive coronavirus “shadow briefing” the idea that he won’t even make it to the Democratic National Convention becomes a real possibility. Then, as the last man standing, Bernie could still win it all.
Toward that end, Bernie Sanders wants to meet Biden in a debate scheduled in April. He is, as former President Barack Obama once said of himself, all fired up and ready to go.
But, as for Joe Biden, not so much where debates are concerned. Hot Air notes that Biden has stated that he is too focused on the coronavirus pandemic to bother with any debates. However, the current crisis may be the excuse. But the real reason resides elsewhere.
“Every sustained appearance at a microphone before a large audience gives Biden a new opportunity to commit a major he’s lost a step gaffe. Even if he’s cogent, new debates will be little more than an exercise in Bernie ranting about socialism and attacking Biden on his record, neither of which does Joe any good this fall. Short-circuiting the debates and trusting Sanders fans to forgive and forget might be the less risky play. It’s not like Biden needs more debates because he needs to continue to make the sale to Democratic voters. The race is as good as over.”
The math is against Bernie Sanders. According to Nate Silver, Biden could lose all of the remaining primaries by up to 10 points and still get enough delegates for the nomination. Bernie would have to pull the electoral equivalent of drawing an inside straight to even have a brokered convention, which he is not likely to.
The only reason for Biden to agree to a debate with Sanders is to get more face time in an era where the news is coronavirus all the time. However, past performances suggests that Biden getting face time can be very tricky.
Bernie Sanders can claim that the coronavirus pandemic “proves” the need for Medicare for All. Leaving aside how bad the pandemic has been for countries with socialized medicine (think Italy) Bernie is pushing against a viral social media meme that is rather powerful.
The gentle reader has surely seen it. The image is usually someone looking forlornly at an empty supermarket shelf and thinking, “I guess this is what a Bernie Sanders presidency would be like.”
Anyone who had the misfortune to live in the old Soviet Union knows about that. Debate with Bernie Sanders. Biden, as slippery as his grasp on reality must be, must know that the debate is over and Bernie has lost.