For the briefest moment not too long ago, the Democratic presidential nomination was effectively a two-man race.
Joe Biden, the establishment favourite, and heir to the Obama legacy, was the presumptive front-runner, but by no means was he assured the Democratic mantle.
His socialist contender, Bernie Sanders, still posed a significant threat to his presidential aspirations.
That all changed Tuesday, however, with Biden’s sweep of the primary states of Florida, Illinois and Arizona, securing himself an even more commanding delegate lead.
Barring any sudden turn of events, Biden will now be the party’s presidential nominee come July.
For Sanders supporters, it’s a devastating reality to accept. Yes, Biden is certainly preferable to the re-election of Donald Trump. But the policies he espouses are no where near the progressive change Bernie has championed.
Furthermore, Bernie is simply far too old to campaign for the presidency a third time.
As disappointing as Bernie’s loss is, though, progressives cannot be too surprised by the outcome.
It was always going to be an uphill battle for a true, working-class champion like Bernie.
Throughout the duration of his campaign, he faced an onslaught of attacks from not just much of the corporate media, but the Democratic establishment itself.
Biden, on the other hand, was the overwhelming favourite amongst the establishment.
In recent weeks, he won the endorsement of countless former rivals and establishment has-beens, including the likes of Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang.
In contrast, Bernie received only the backing of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Marianne Williamson, neither of whom wields much influence over the Democratic electorate.
Further narrowing Bernie’s chances at clinching the nomination was the fact that progressives (unlike the establishment which coalesced around Biden) remained divided,
After all, Elizabeth Warren stayed in the race far long after she had any real shot at success. That would have been fine, except that her presence on the ballot helped siphon off votes from Sanders, particularly on Super Tuesday.
Not only this, but after dropping out of the race, Warren refused to boost Bernie’s chances of success with a much-needed endorsement.
Instead, she chose to wait on the sidelines, and bide her time, perhaps indefinitely.
It’s a shame, for Warren’s endorsement could have gone a long way in fueling momentum back into the Sanders campaign. Unlike other candidates who fell by the wayside, Warren is highly respected amongst Democratic voters.
She campaigned fiercely over many months in an increasingly acrimonious competition to become a top-tier candidate. And throughout it all, she remained poised and articulate, exuding both empathy and intelligence.
Warren also had the most detailed policy platform of all the Democratic candidates. And she was often the most formidable participant on a debate stage. Her smackdown of Michael Bloomberg in Nevada was perhaps the most significant development in halting his campaign, saving the Democratic Party from a sexist oligarch as its next nominee.
For this, Warren deserves credit.
Unfortunately, that’s about all the praise that she deserves right now.
For with every day that Warren stayed silent, refusing to publicly back Bernie, her friend and fellow progressive, momentum only grew for the Biden campaign.
And a Biden victory will merely see a return to the centrist policies of the Obama years instead of the truly progressive change advocated by both Bernie and Warren,
Many of Warren’s supporters certainly understood the importance of publicly backing Bernie over Biden.
Alas, Warren herself has chosen to stay silent, abandoning the progressive movement in its most pressing moment of need.
And that silence only helped seal Bernie’s fate, along with the fate of progressive change in America, at least for the foreseeable future.
Warren might not have personally owed Bernie her endorsement.
But she did, however, owe her progressive supporters far more than just her silence.
Photo Credit: CBS News
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