Will he be able to save his party from its communist odyssey?
Former Vice President Joe Biden had a superlative Super Tuesday. Although his closest challenger Bernie Sanders won in California, the largest state up for grabs on Tuesday, Joe Biden ran the table virtually everywhere else in the country. He won in the Northeast with victories in Massachusetts and Maine. He won the second largest state contested on Tuesday, Texas. He won Minnesota in the upper Midwest and swept across the South in Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. He also picked up Oklahoma. In addition to California, Sanders won his home state of Vermont, as well as Utah and Colorado. Sanders, the front runner going into Super Tuesday, is now behind Biden in the delegate tally – 566 to 501 as of the writing of this article. With Mike Bloomberg’s decision to drop out of the race and endorse Biden, following Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg who dropped their candidacies and endorsed Biden before Super Tuesday, Biden is now in a commanding position as the sole survivor navigating the so-called “center” lane.
Bernie Sanders significantly underperformed. Last minute undecided voters went in large numbers for Joe Biden, including in delegate-rich Texas where Sanders had been leading in recent polling. Minnesota, known for its ultra-liberal streak, became Joe Biden country after its home state Senator Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race. Elizabeth Warren's candidacy is on life support after her humiliating third place finish in her home state of Massachusetts. She is reportedly reassessing her next steps.
On the surface at least, it looks like the socialist wing of the Democratic Party took it on the chin. A National Review column called Tuesday night’s results “the biggest setback for socialism since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.” The more “moderate” wing coalesced in support of Joe Biden, who pulled together a broad coalition of African Americans and other centrist voters older than 45. Bernie Sanders was unable to broaden his own coalition beyond the young voters, Latinos and leftists who want to fundamentally transform America’s economic and political systems from the bottom up.
However, before prematurely writing an obituary for socialism in this country, consider this. While socialism’s messengers have faltered, their radical message remains very much alive. Bernie Sanders, along with Elizabeth Warren, have moved ideas considered too far out for prime time just four years ago to the mainstream of today’s Democratic Party.
For example, Democrat-Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez popularized an ambitious Green New Deal plan that would drastically remake the U.S. economy by transitioning the United States to a 100 percent renewable energy system by 2035. Joe Biden’s website states that “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.” He would take 15 more years than Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to reach the same objective of ensuring that “the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions.” Biden would also recommit the United States to the disastrous jobs-killing Paris Agreement on climate change, under which China committed to lax greenhouse gas emission targets by 2030 deemed “highly insufficient” by the Climate Action Tracker.
Joe Biden is pushing for a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million of those he calls “undocumented” or “unauthorized” immigrants – i.e., illegal aliens. Mike Bloomberg agreed with this sentiment, by the way. Here is what this ex presidential candidate-turned-Biden supporter said when he was still running for president: “One of the things in immigration is you’ve got to do some things quickly in immigration. Stop this craziness with 11 million people living in a shadow. You’ve got to give them a clear path to citizenship. You’ve got to staple a green card on every degree when they get out of college…”
Joe Biden, it should be remembered, raised his hand in the affirmative during the first Democrat primary debate last summer when asked whether his government health plan would provide coverage for “undocumented immigrants." Democratic-Socialist Sanders, as well as other debate participants in the so-called center lane such as Pete Buttigieg, also raised their hands. Biden may not yet embrace the Sanders version of “Medicare for All,” but he is willing to use taxpayers’ money to subsidize health care for illegal aliens. As President Trump tweeted at the time, “How about taking care of American Citizens first!?”
Biden’s alternative to the Sanders “Medicare for All” program, in which Biden offers massive new subsidies and a government-run “public option” plan, would still move the needle in the direction of much further government involvement in the health care industry. Its estimated cost is at least $750 billion over 10 years. Biden’s public option plan would cover abortion. At the same time, Biden is opposed to even modest incremental pro-life laws such as clinic regulations, waiting periods, and parental involvement laws, just like the extremists in his party.
Meagan Day, a writer for the socialist magazine Jacobin, and Bhaskar Sunkara, the socialist magazine’s editor, wrote an opinion column for the New York Times, entitled “Modern Day Debtors’ Prisons.” They wrote in support of Bernie Sanders’ call for an end to cash bail across the country. The authors observed that there was evidence of “the idea’s transformation from activist demand to mainstream policy proposal.” Joe Biden has proved their point. “Cash bail is the modern-day debtors’ prison,” Biden’s website says.
Joe Biden does not espouse communist ideology like Bernie Sanders does, and Biden has proclaimed that he’s “not the socialist” in the race. It is true that Biden does believe in some form of a capitalist system, although with far more burdensome government regulations and higher taxes. But the Democratic Party’s establishment “savior” will either lead, or be led by the nose, in the direction of the ideological base of today’s Democratic Party, which is built around socialist ideas including those he has already embraced.