Joe Biden is doing his best to convince American voters that he’s a good ol’ boy Democrat in the tradition of your grandfather’s progressivism, a fig leaf that obscures the fact that he’s worked with the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders to craft his agenda. We’ve been skeptical for some time that Biden can actually pull off this illusion, but Sanders appears to be worried that the former vice president actually has the opposite problem: That by tacking to the middle, he will alienate and demoralize the young, leftist army that can actually help him defeat Trump in November.
Sanders has “told associates that Biden is at serious risk of coming up short in the November election if he continues his vaguer, more centrist approach, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive talks,” reported the Washington Post.
According to the Post, Sanders is worried that younger progressives – his base, in other words – are not getting the attention they “deserve” from Biden. He wants Biden to jump back to the left in the final weeks of the race and bring those progressives back into the fold.
“The senator has identified several specific changes he’d like to see,” the Post reports, “saying Biden should talk more about health care and about his economic plans, and should campaign more with figures popular among young liberals, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).”
This is, of course, ludicrous advice (unless you’re a socialist who cares more about building a cult following than actually winning elections). Biden isn’t going to defeat Trump by appealing to kids on college campuses or impressing Woke Twitter. He isn’t going to win the election by getting another two million votes in California. His only chance is to do better than Hillary Clinton in the Midwest, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and the other swing states. Going out there and talking about the Green New Deal may make AOC happy, but it isn’t going to improve his chances of winning.
That said, we do sort of understand where Sanders is coming from. He’s looking at the electorate and noticing that there’s really no pro-Biden excitement out there. This election is a referendum on one man: Donald Trump. People coming out to vote are doing so for only one reason: To vote for or against the president. And yeah, if you’re the other guy in the election, it’s a problem that basically no one cares about you one way or the other.
But at this point, it’s not a problem Biden can solve by tacking left. That’s only going to make matters worse for him.