When Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential primary race on Wednesday, the Biden camp breathed a huge sigh of relief. However, while even Bernie acknowledged that he was 300 delegates behind Biden, he didn’t actually endorse the former vice president. In fact, Bernie said he would leave his name on the ballots of future primary states.
The reasoning is that the more delegates Bernie collects heading into the convention, the more sway he will have in the writing of the party platform. And The Hill claims that Bernie’s “movement” has already “won.”
They’ll never not admit it, but Biden and Sanders actually agree on far more than they disagree. Both champion universal health care, raising the minimum wage, raising taxes on the wealthy, wiping out student debt, making college affordable, if not free, and leading the fight against climate change. They differ only on how to get there. For Sanders, it’s revolution, or sudden change. For Biden, it’s evolution, or gradual change. Democrats must decide how far and how fast they want to go.
But here’s what’s more important: Whatever they choose, revolution or evolution, they’re both paths to the same progressive goals. And those goals were first set by Sanders in 2016. That’s why I argue that Sanders has already won the Democratic primary.
But. . .is that true. . .and does it matter? The Conversation notes that candidates often ignore the party platform, which is more a statement of ideals, rather than a roadmap of action.
Even if some Americans pay attention to a few prime-time addresses during the convention, few will read the roughly 50 pages of policy positions that each party publishes as their platforms. Platforms are a staple of party politics in the U.S. and elsewhere, but many see platforms as insignificant to our voting and electoral process. . .
My research on political interest groups and parties shows that platforms serve an important role in our politics not because they’re useful for persuading voters, but because they help party organizations build election-winning coalitions.
Party platforms are really just internal documents, helping to pull people into the party, but once elected, the platforms are usually thrown into the recycling bin. Bernie is hoping a progressive platform will allow him to speak to his young fanatics, hoping to keep them in the party tent. It should be noted that in 2016, ten percent of Bernie-or-die fans chose to see his ideals die—voting for Trump—and provided more than enough to throw the election to the Republicans. But CNN says that won’t happen this year.
OK, so if the party platform is not that important, what’s the difference if Bernie runs up a lot of delegates? It’s because the delegates choose the nominee—or deny the nomination from a candidate. This year, as a tip to Bernie, the DNC (Democratic National Committee) changed the rules so that Superdelegates are not allowed to vote in the first ballot. If Bernie’s supporters wake up and vote, they could actually keep Biden from being nominated. [Superdelegates are party stalwarts who earned their position through service to the party, not election by the public.]
For example, in 1924, William G. McAdoo was the presumptive nominee at the Democratic convention, getting 431.5 delegates on the first ballot, compared to only 241 for Al Smith. Charles W. Bryan received only 18 delegates. Since no one had a majority, they did a second ballot, a third, and so on. At one point, Al Smith had a plurality, but the voting continued for a total of 103 ballots. Finally, on the last ballot, the exhausted partisans gave up and compromised on Bryan, who became the nominee. He went on to lose to Republican “Silent Cal” Coolidge.
That could happen again, certainly not in 103 ballots, but a deadlocked convention could swing to a “dark-horse” (unlikely) candidate. Cynics, of course, say the nefarious “establishment” has already picked Biden, and it’s a sneaky, done deal. However, all partisan Democrats are more interested in winning than in backing any, particular candidate. And Biden is just not the kind of candidate who arouses strong feelings.
That brings us to Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York. He has risen to be the most visible Democrat this spring, with polls showing that his handling of the Coronavirus crisis has been considered better than Donald Trump’s—and it’s the most important issue for the foreseeable future.
Of course, Cuomo praises Biden (how could he not?), and claims that he will “never” run for president. However, no one since Civil War hero William Tecumseh Sherman has given a true “Shermanesque Statement.” Sherman said, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer says Cuomo should be drafted (you’re not “running” if you’re drafted)—and, moreover, Biden should make it happen.
At the Democratic National Convention, whether it happens conventionally or virtually, Vice President Biden could, and perhaps should, step aside, and ask his delegates to vote to nominate Governor Andrew Cuomo. This, despite the Governor’s declarations of non-candidacy. . .
He [Cuomo] is showing capacities, intellectual, emotional and moral, and skills, managerial and as a communicator, which seem to me to make him the best standard bearer for his party in this election and a potential next president of great promise for our country, as it tries to heal and rebound from all it will by then have suffered.
The point here isn’t a comparison between the qualifications or the qualities of Biden and Cuomo, but rather a recognition that the current crisis has been a major blow to the Biden campaign because the reality of the situation has propelled the Governor into the position of being the major contrast to Trump being heard at a national level.
Even Trump says that Cuomo would be a better opponent, according to Politico.
“I wouldn’t mind running against Andrew. I’ve known Andrew for a long time. I wouldn’t mind that, but I’ll be honest, I think he’d be a better candidate than Sleepy Joe,” Trump said on Monday on “Fox and Friends.”
But can you believe that Trump “wouldn’t mind running against” Cuomo? Our own commenter, who goes by, “Straight Shooter” once proudly said that Trump is a “master manipulator,” so you never know whether Trump is saying what he thinks, or what he thinks will control your thoughts.
Even Fox has praised Cuomo.
Cuomo has won bipartisan praise for his evenhanded and steady approach in combating the crisis and managing his state’s response, as he mixes in a healthy dose of empathy and shares personal stories during his briefings.
Ok, it’s a long-shot, but if Bernie’s supporters give him enough new delegates to block Biden, and Democratic Superdelegates think Cuomo has a better chance to beat Trump, they could very well swing to Cuomo, and it won’t take 103 ballots this time.