VALLE IZQUIERDA, CALIFORNIA — When Bernie Sanders endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential campaign during a livestream hosted by the former Vice President this morning, he took just about everyone by surprise. Sanders eventually endorsed and campaigned for Hillary Clinton back in 2016, but many were still unsure if he’d do the same for Biden. When Sanders suspended his campaign last week, many speculated about whether he was actually dropping out, or just laying low and waiting for the Democratic National Convention, where he could attempt to use his delegate count to force the convention into a brokered state.
Sanders put all those questions to rest when he endorsed Biden’s campaign today, weeks ahead of when the DNC would have been held, were it not for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis gripping the nation.
“Today, I am asking all Americans — I’m asking every Democrat; I’m asking every independent; I’m asking a lot of Republicans — to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse, to make certain that we defeat somebody who I believe is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country,” Sanders told Biden. (Politico)
It’s still not entirely been settled just how many of Sanders’ supporters refused to vote for Clinton in 2016, but Owen McMichaels, a 32 year old self-described “Bernie or Bust” voter, announced today that he would “certainly not be” voting for Bernie any longer. Owen had planned to vote for sanders “one way or the other.” He could never see himself voting for a “neoliberal hack” like Biden, and so Owen had figured that in California, he wouldn’t really be helping President Trump win, since the state has been reliably blue for so long. Owen would rather vote with a clear conscience for Sanders, even with Bernie having no chance at winning, than to vote for a moderate like Biden.
That was, until Sanders made his surprise endorsement of Biden this morning.
“Between endorsing Hillary and now Biden, I’m starting to think he really is a Democrat, no matter what Hillary Hawks told me in 2016,” Owen said in a Skype interview we conducted with him. “And I’m sorry, but I will not vote for any DNC shill, even if it’s the shill I shilled for over the course of four years and two presidential elections. I just can’t believe he’d go and do exactly what he did in 2016. I also can’t believe a politician let me down and did something I didn’t want them to do. I really thought Bernie was better than that.”
Owen’s not really sure who he’s going to write in now. He thought about shifting his support to Sen. Liz Warren of Massachusetts, but he figures with Sanders out of the race, it’s only a matter of time before she also endorses Biden. He can’t write-in Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez because she’s only 30, and the Constitution requires a presidential candidate be at least five years older. McMichaels figures he’ll have it all worked out by election day, though.
“These are confusing, strange times we’re living in. I really thought I could trust Bernie not to sell us all out,” Owen said, “but I guess he just wasn’t the guy after all. I just hope Biden doesn’t start championing Bernie’s policies, because then I’ll have to disown the policies I said I was so committed to I’d never vote for anyone other than Bernie.”
In the final analysis, Owen says he just “doesn’t get what Bernie was thinking.”
“It’s almost like as a politician for the last four or five decades, he’s decided that winning elections and incremental change is better than making perfect the enemy of good,” Owen opined, “and I just don’t get why I couldn’t count on a career politician to not do the politically-motivated thing.”
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Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.