On Wednesday 8 April Senator Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race to become the Democratic Party candidate to face Donald Trump in the 2020 US presidential election. This was Mr Sanders’ second time of running to secure the Democrat nomination. Last time he was stitched up big-time by the Democrat hierarchy who wanted the arch war-monger Hilary Clinton, believing that she would ‘walk it.’
Bernie Sanders walked away from the race he had at one point commandingly led because he lost a series of primaries to the former Vice-President, Joe Biden, who is seen by the Democrat great and good as the one to beat Trump this time. Senator Sanders also pulled the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic into his decision, saying; “I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour.”
Both prior to and since Mr Sanders’ announcement that he was bowing out of the contest, his ‘camp’ and that of Senator Joseph Biden had been in negotiations over what parts of the Sanders platform to hoist onto the Biden bandwagon in order to get Sanders and, more importantly, his supporters, to back Biden’s campaign. Biden had been fairly lack-lustre so far, even by US Presidential standards, leaning heavily on supposed experience gleaned from his time as Barak Obama’s Vice-President and also his personal enmity with President Trump. The assumption that he is trying to build in relation to this idea of ‘personal enmity’ is, of course, that Donald Trump must consider him the most dangerous possible opponent to have since he had asked the Ukrainians to investigate him and his son’s murky business interests in Ukraine only in order to ‘smear him’. The danger for Biden with this narrative is that Trump won the impeachment battle related to the phone call he had made to the President of Ukraine, leaving the question of Biden and son’s guilt in Ukrainian dirty politics and dodgy business dealings hanging in the minds of voters when the Presidential election comes.
At this time we have no definite idea of the final platform on which Joe Biden will stand, but to carry those Sanders supporters it will have to, initially at least, go some way towards universal public health care, solving homelessness to some extent, moves towards a $15 per hour national minimum wage, and student loans to help poorer kids get through college. Whatever the end result, Mr Biden immediately responded to the Sanders capitulation with the following words; “I’ll be reaching out to you… You will be heard by me.” Adding: “And to your supporters, I make the same commitment: I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country.”
Even on the surface this seems very friendly, and it is telling that Sanders absolutely forbade his camp to challenge Biden on the Ukrainian allegations that President Trump raised or any issue that suggested criminal activity. In January 2020 Zephyr Teachout, a law professor allied to Mr. Sanders’ campaign, wrote a column in The Guardian saying that Joe Biden had “a big corruption problem.” Sanders made clear to CBS News; “It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way” and one of Sander’s aides who agreed with Ms Teachout was virtually forced out of the team.
It has been speculated that Sanders used his early lead to open negotiations with the Biden camp even before Biden’s Super Tuesday victories shot him into the lead. One unnamed Sanders team member speculated that Sanders was prepared to lose if he could get Biden to take on board most of his platform. It does seem possible when we look further at Joe Biden’s gushing reply to the Sanders surrender: “Senator Sanders and his supporters have changed the dialogue in America,” the former vice-president said. “Issues which had been given little attention — or little hope of ever passing — are now at the centre of the political debate.”
Another incident that could suggest a Sanders/Biden double act was the strange campaign trail adopted by Sanders. Bernie Sanders had to recognise Joe Biden as the main contender for the Democratic nomination, and yet he spent days trying to force two other candidates out of the race by campaigning in Minnesota and Massachusetts, the home states of Ms Klobuchar and Ms Warren (winning neither) who both threw their weight behind Biden when they ran out of steam.
One weapon that Joe Biden has in his electoral arsenal that Sanders lacks and which could have helped him make the decision to step aside, getting Biden to carry much of his platform into the Oval Office, if indeed he did do this, is the older black vote. A big majority of older black people still look to the Obama presidency as one of the greatest events in US politics, and Biden was Obama’s right-hand man. Despite Obama being no better than any other president of the USA in terms of foreign policy or home policy, despite his continuing war and meddling in other countries’ internal affairs (helping bring open fascists to power in Ukraine instantly springs to mind), and despite the vastly increased executions of black people on the streets by police forces across the country during his term in office, Obama was the first and as yet the only black president and Joe Biden was his loyal vice-president.
So, it now seems understood by all, even though it is not yet official, that Joseph Biden will stand against Donald Trump for the presidency. The platform will be assembled at the Democratic National Convention, but, owing to the coronavirus pandemic, there are many voices being raised in favour of that platform being carried out via the internet. This would mean a greater level of control by the Democrat Party elite within the Democratic National Committee and less chance of any Sanders supporting delegates rocking the boat from the floor.
Whatever the platform is and however it is arrived at, it will still have to survive the pugilistic and direct style of the Republicans under Trump’s leadership. Biden’s mental state and ability to do the job has already been called into question through newspaper articles, and Trump has publicly labelled Biden as ‘Sleepy Joe’ a nickname that seems to be gaining some ground.
Marc A Thiessen, a columnist for the Washington Post wrote an article on 12 March (well before Biden was the only man standing in the Democratic nomination race) entitled; “It’s fair to speculate whether Biden is mentally fit to be president” in which he listed recent gaffes by the 77-year old Joe Biden. Some of these gaffes highlighted by Thiessen’s article are, as he says, nothing by themselves, but taken together over a short period may give some concern.
Some of the Biden gaffes are a slip of the tongue but others show that gaps do exist in his memory and others that reality appears to have toddled off somewhere by itself while he is talking. Biden’s grasp of what is happening now seems blurred as, when talking of the upcoming Presidential election, he declared; “I think we can win back the House.”
He forgot the words of the Declaration of Independence, saying “We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women are created, by the, you know, you know the thing.”
While campaigning in South Carolina, he forgot what office he was running for, declaring “My name’s Joe Biden. I’m a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate.”
On three occasions, Biden declared to the press that he was arrested in South Africa trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison — an incident his campaign team later admitted never happened.
He described, in an interview with the Post, meeting a Navy captain in Afghanistan, but the Post reported that “almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect.”
He claimed to have worked with Chinese leader “Deng Xiaoping” on the Paris Climate Accord 2015, although Deng died in 1997.
He claimed during a debate that “150 million people have been killed [by guns in the USA] since 2007” (which would be nearly half the US population).
He said he met with Parkland mass shooting victims while he was the vice president even though the shooting took place after he left office.
He has declared that Democrats should "choose truth over facts.”
He has said that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids” (which is perhaps more of a Freudian slip than anything else as it’s a good bet that a black kid in the USA is more likely to be poor).
He has pledged to use biofuels to power “steamships.”
He repeatedly gets confused about what state he is in during campaigning.
He has claimed that his late son Beau “was the attorney general of the United States.”
He publicly confused former British prime minister Theresa May with the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Taken together as a whole these gaffes may form a pattern – and raise questions about whether Biden has experienced a cognitive decline.
Of course, mental illness has never stopped anyone else from becoming the President of the United States of America: take Ronald Reagan who was obviously suffering from Alzheimer’s during his last term. George W Bush was hardly fluent in English or common sense. It is a fact, though, that much of the left throughout the world will be hoping that Biden beats Trump. Why? Because they have not yet learned that it doesn’t matter who the President is, or what colour or sex they are, as the USA is regardless the world’s most prolific murdering and robbing imperialist state in existence. Just as it doesn’t matter who is the leader of the British Labour Party it remains a power exclusively for British imperialism and nothing more. Would anyone excuse the crimes of a mass murderer simply because he had been kind to his old mother? So why excuse the crimes of a murderous imperialist state because it is willing from time to time to distribute scraps of welfare to the exploited and oppressed? Understand what imperialism is, what it does and that individuals, no matter how well meaning, or stupid, cannot change it even if they sit on seats of supposed power. Revolution will sweep imperialism away and it will not come from a multi-millionaire or a social-Democratic party be it led by a right or left Social-Democrat.