Time is short. We need you now.

Mindy Isser

Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren hug after participating in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Which side are you on?” In many ways, this has been the core ques­tion posed thus far by he Demo­c­ra­t­ic Pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, which has become a bat­tle between an emerg­ing mul­tira­cial coali­tion fight­ing for a pro­gres­sive agen­da, and that of the busi­ness as usu­al” Demo­c­ra­t­ic estab­lish­ment. Eliz­a­beth Warren’s depar­ture from the race, revealed today, offers an oppor­tu­ni­ty for her to either strong­ly answer that ques­tion with an endorse­ment of Bernie Sanders and the pro­gres­sive move­ment she’s iden­ti­fied her­self as being a part of, or to choose anoth­er path that makes the fight against the cen­trist wing more dif­fi­cult and mud­died. She just said at a press con­fer­ence she won’t be mak­ing an endorse­ment today, but that means we need a Sanders endorse­ment first thing tomorrow.

Splitting the progressive vote ultimately helps no one but our adversaries.

Either Sanders or Joe Biden will face Trump in the fall. If Sanders, a demo­c­ra­t­ic social­ist, rep­re­sents the poten­tial future of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty — a pro­gres­sive insti­tu­tion focused on the inter­ests of work­ing peo­ple — Biden rep­re­sents what we need to leave in the past: an attach­ment to the sta­tus quo and putting the inter­ests of Wall Street and cor­po­ra­tions at the top of the agenda.

The left wing of the par­ty may have bet­ter and more pop­u­lar ideas than the cen­ter, but it has a lot to learn from the Biden camp. Imme­di­ate­ly after Biden won the South Car­oli­na pri­ma­ry, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out and endorsed him. And then Michael Bloomberg, the bil­lion­aire who fund­ed his own pres­i­den­tial cam­paign — and who promised to fund whichev­er Demo­c­rat got the nom­i­na­tion — endorsed Biden too. Oth­er endorse­ments rolled in too from count­less estab­lish­ment Democ­rats who coa­lesced around Biden when con­sen­sus emerged that he was their can­di­date to stop Sanders and the work­ing-class insur­gency his cam­paign is building. 

Since then, Biden has received fawn­ing media cov­er­age, all but declar­ing him the even­tu­al nom­i­nee. Almost overnight, it appeared that a once-dis­tant third or fourth place can­di­date was now the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty fron­trun­ner, thanks to the momen­tum caused by a sin­gle pri­ma­ry vic­to­ry, and the deci­sions made by a few key polit­i­cal play­ers. Wall Street sig­naled its sat­is­fac­tion with this deci­sion too, as health­care stocks — which had tum­bled to mul­ti-year lows after Sanders’ vic­to­ry in Neva­da — ral­lied fol­low­ing both the South Car­oli­na and Super Tues­day results.

Although Biden is the wrong can­di­date to unite behind, the estab­lish­ment has the right idea. Split­ting the pro­gres­sive vote ulti­mate­ly helps no one but our adver­saries. Luck­i­ly, Warren’s agen­da close­ly match­es that of Sanders,’ with sim­i­lar plans for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and an end to col­lege debt. And while vot­ers made it clear that they pre­fer Sanders’ not me, us” to Warren’s I have a plan for that,” their shared ideas are beloved by many. And yet, those ideas have been rou­tine­ly reject­ed by the estab­lish­ment wing of the Par­ty — the wing that has almost unlim­it­ed resources, thanks to their bil­lion­aire donors.

That’s why it’s imper­a­tive for War­ren to unite with Sanders and endorse him today. Encour­ag­ing her sup­port­ers to go all in, mobi­liz­ing her cam­paign resources and infra­struc­ture, and help­ing to coa­lesce broad­er sup­port around the Sanders cam­paign would be of great ben­e­fit to bol­ster­ing the move­ment for the fight ahead — which promis­es to only become more dif­fi­cult and treach­er­ous from here. We can expect an even more intense onslaught of cor­po­rate mon­ey, media air­time, and oth­er dirty tricks from the Demo­c­ra­t­ic estab­lish­ment to under­mine Sanders from here on out. Hav­ing a more uni­fied con­tin­gent of pro­gres­sive cam­paigns is our best hope for thwart­ing these attacks and tak­ing on the cor­po­rate elite who run the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party.

Dis­clo­sure: The author of this piece has vol­un­teered for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 cam­paign. Views expressed are those of the writer. As a 501©3 non­prof­it, In These Times does not sup­port or oppose any can­di­date for pub­lic office.

Mindy Iss­er works in the labor move­ment and lives in Philadelphia.
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