Sanders has endorsed Biden, but progressives won’t join him without a massive policy shift

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders has now endorsed establishment rival Joe Biden for the US presidency. The two had previously clashed during the Democratic Party primary over policy issues like the ‘Medicare for All’ universal healthcare plan (which Sanders advocated and Biden opposed). But Sanders cited ongoing work between the two camps on several policy matters, and the importance of defeating Donald Trump in November, as key reasons for backing Biden. His endorsement, however, did little to convince many of his progressive supporters.

‘Biden must make meaningful concessions to the left if he wants our support’

Many progressive backers of the 2019/2020 Sanders campaign are not happy with the endorsement. Among them are staff members from that same campaign. For example, Briahna Joy Gray – the former national press secretary for the Sanders campaign – tweeted:

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She also stressed:

The support of a multitude of progressives hinges on Biden making meaningful concessions to the left — not just lip service — not merely symbolic overtures.

She explained her views further in an interview with the Hill:

Former Sanders speechwriter David Sirota, meanwhile, insisted that Biden needed to listen to progressives if he wanted to beat Trump. He wrote:

The best hope to defeat Trump is to positively and constructively motivate a large Democratic turnout. The best way to do that is to show progressive voters they are actually valued, rather than taken for granted. And the best way to show them that they are valued is to actually embrace an agenda that they want.

He also pointed out that this will require a change in attitude from the Biden camp:

He further emphasised that progressive pressure on Biden must continue until he starts to listen:

If Biden needs votes, he must earn them

Other Sanders backers also made it clear that Biden would have to earn their support if he wanted it:

In short, Biden and the Democratic establishment may see the Sanders endorsement as a massive victory. But left-wingers are making it very clear that the battle for progressive policies is far from over, and that the Democratic Party will have to earn their votes. If the Democrats want to beat Donald Trump in November, they’ll need to start listening.

Featured image via Jay Godwin/Jackson Lanier, with additional content via Press Association

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