Why Is Bernie Still In the Race?

March 12, 2020

Bernie's odds of defeating Biden are narrow; but he's winning on the issues.

Bernie's odds of defeating Biden are narrow; but he's winning on the issues.


bernie

Story Transcript

Bernie Sanders: While we are currently losing the delegate count. Poll after poll, including exit polls, show that a strong majority of the American people support our progressive agenda. While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability. Today I say to the democratic establishment, in order to win in the future, you need to win the voters who represent the future of our country. And you must speak to the issues of concern to them.

Marc Steiner: Welcome to Real News, I’m Marc Steiner. Bernie Sanders just went up at one o’clock today. Just say he’s still running and said a great deal more. And I’m joined here by Charles Lenchner, who is our Digital Director here at the Real News and worked on Bernie’s last campaign. Charles, so what we just witnessed here is Bernie saying, we had the generations with us, we have the future with this, but we lost this particular piece of the campaign, we’re not done. So what’s the essence here?

Charles Lenchner: Bernie Sanders made a point that he had lost to some extent the electability argument with a majority of the voters so far. But he was also making the case that he’s won the generation argument in terms of having large majorities, but especially the young people support him on the issues, whether that’s Medicare for all raising taxes on the wealthy and supporting so many of the causes that animate young people today, like free college.

Marc Steiner: So, but he also said he was going to take it to Biden on Sunday and he listed all the ways he was going to take it to Biden on Sunday. So the question is, I mean, what does this mean about the battle being set up? I mean clearly if you take it backwards for just a moment, Bernie’s campaign did not organize this correctly over the last four years. It might not be in this position if you’re organized among black voters, if he organized his base and got them out in a way that really built a movement when you’re just saying we have a movement, so where does it go from here?

Charles Lenchner: Bernie Sanders grassroots is not happy, as you might imagine.

Marc Steiner: Yeah.

Charles Lenchner: The defeats on Super Tuesday and yesterday are real and painful. But if you compare the situation today to the situation during Occupy Wall Street, how many more people we have involved in meaningful work, how many more people and staff and volunteers and super volunteers are learning the mechanics of running in campaigns of running for office, of helping to support the kind of things that these folks want. We are way ahead of the game if you give it that kind of comparison and given the majorities of young people that support Bernie Sanders vision, the future looks bright.

It’s also important to note that there is complete unity on our side of the fence about the need to defeat Trump and to make sure that no matter what, a Democrat replaces him in office in November, but the fight around the fights inside the democratic party, that’s not one event that takes place in Milwaukee at the DNC. That is hundreds or thousands of events at the county level, municipal level, state level. At the DNC, there’s a platform committee, there’s a rules committee. Maybe we’ll finally get rid of all the superdelegates. There’s all that productive work to be done and many, many people eager to engage in it between now and July in Milwaukee.

Marc Steiner: So you said one thing is really important. I think a, there’s never been a time in American history before where people on the left, where people will call themselves socialist, people think of themselves constantly left, have had this mass of people in a party and just pushing this country forward and it has its roots go way back. The question is, in the last election people went, look, if it’s not burning, I’m that out there. 8 million people who voted for Obama in 2008 did not vote in 2012 another eight and 2016. 10% of Trump supporters were Obama supporters before that and then, and so this could be very intense. The question becomes why are you so confident that this means that folks are going to come out in November to defeat Trump if Bernie’s not the man?

Charles Lenchner: I’m not confident at all. I think that Biden as a nominee is going to make turning out large number of young people much more difficult than it would be. All the more reason for the Biden forces, even if they feel confident or that they’re going to win, they ought to be nervous as hell about making sure they win in November. There’s a lot of doubts expressed because if we don’t get young people to vote and turn out in large numbers, we’re going to see a second Trump term. So what’s needed by Biden is to be on that stage, to listen to Bernie’s criticisms and policy proposals and instead of smacking them down and talking about what he’d veto, he needs to show us that he can grow and he can do better. That he’s open to embracing the principles of the Bernie Sanders movement. If he fails to do that, it bodes very badly for our chances in November.

Marc Steiner: and that’s very frightening. I mean, I will see what happens Sunday night. I mean Bernie has a chance Sunday night to really push Biden a lot and we don’t. This is not over yet in terms of when I watch our movements grow and had been in politics a lot long time myself, this is not over. The real danger is what happens in November when you have this white nationalist clique around Trump and these neoconservative around Trump who are defining what’s our future. That’s the danger. The question is, will people see that’s the danger?

Charles Lenchner: I certainly hope that they do. The Corona virus is becoming the third most important character in this election play. The pandemic, it’s not been officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. I believe it’s going to have a dramatic impact on our political process for the next chunk of time and that the values of solidarity, a strong safety net of people coming together, of taking care of each other, our values that the pandemic inadvertently promotes because it forces our communities to ask the question, how do we make sure that the most vulnerable are protected? Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because if we fail it that we’re all going to suffer.

Marc Steiner: Well, we’re going to see what happens this Sunday when this debate takes place for these two men. And Monday morning, we’re willing to get out here and tell you what we think and, and really get into this in a very deep way. We’ll see how this week pans out and it’s good to have Charles Lenchner on the air and we’ve got a great deal more to come.

Charles Lenchner: Thank you, Mark.

Marc Steiner: Thank you. And I am Mark Steiner for the Real News Network. Good to have you.