Primary concerns

The revolution will have to wait. That’s the take-away from last week’s Super Tuesday primary, when Joe Biden out-performed even his expectations. After the South Carolina contest, it was sad but inevitable to see moderate rivals Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar drop out of the race, and even more painful to watch Elizabeth Warren—a progressive with a solid record of achievement—conclude she had no path forward.

Would I have preferred someone else had emerged from the Democratic field? Of course. I was, and remain, a Warren supporter—and Biden was near the bottom of my list of preferred candidates. Like many progressives, I’m annoyed and frustrated that our party, which supposedly values racial and gender equality, now has two elderly white men duking it out for the nomination, and one of them doesn’t even identify as a Democrat.

It’s hard to fathom, but that’s the reality we face in March of 2020, along with a disgraceful Republican president who espouses nonsense about the coronavirus “hoax” and continually calls people childish names on Twitter—and lies to us about virtually everything.

Joe Biden has a lot to answer for in his long career, such as the disastrous 1994 crime bill, his treatment of women from Anita Hill to everyday acquaintances and his support of banks and credit card companies, turning a blind eye as they pillaged the finances of the working class. Not to mention allowing his son to trade on the family name. But when you put those transgressions up against Trump’s innumerable failings, such as his latest “hunch” that serious cases of coronavirus are under one percent of the people who have it, really, it’s no contest.

I do believe that many non-partisans and rational Republicans will support Biden because he’s a fundamentally decent, stable leader who will help us regroup as a country and start dealing with the fallout of the Trump years, rebuilding our reputation and influence in the world and redirecting resources away from immoral actions like separating children from their parents at the border to helping people survive here and around the world.

Biden is not yet the Democratic nominee, but I think Sanders has reached his ceiling. Many Warren supporters won’t convert to the Sanders team despite his more liberal policy positions. He doesn’t have a record of being able to implement big ideas, and he’s a lightening rod who will drive away the votes we need to defeat Trump. Then there’s the problem of a Sanders ticket in vulnerable House or Senate districts. This is not an election we can afford to lose.

Even though I’m deeply disappointed by the primary results, I’m strangely more hopeful today about our chance to reclaim our democracy in November. There are lots of signs that new voters are energized to participate—and, certainly, most of us are more motivated than ever to vote Trump out.

Although the hours of waiting in line to vote in Nevada, California and Texas exceeded any reasonable expectation, you have to feel heartened by the tenacity and determination of so many people to cast their ballots. But in a country as wealthy and advanced as ours, surely, we can do better.

Biden would do well to pick his vice-presidential candidate early, hopefully a woman of color. He could also start announcing leadership positions in his Cabinet and look first to his well-qualified, dynamic and younger rivals. Building a deep bench of Democrats with national administrative experience over the next four years would create a powerful legacy.

The revolution of universal health care and narrowing income inequality needs to happen, but it can wait a bit if it means we rid ourselves of the monster in the White House. That moment can’t come too soon.