Senator Bernie Sanders calls for his progressive supporters to back Joe Biden, stressing this upcoming election as “the most important” in modern U.S. history.

Two time Former Democratic Presidential Candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont was unequivocally clear in his speech at the Democratic National Convention: even the most progressive of voters need to vote for Joe Biden. 

Sanders saw his progressive campaign make massive strides this past year; he is the candidate who refers to himself as a “democratic socialist” and garnered enough momentum to push himself to the front of the race. 

On Monday, at the convention, Sanders put party politics aside and placed the American people first, painting Trump’s presidency as “the path of authoritarianism.”   

“This selection is the most important in the modern history of this country,” said Sanders. “In response to the unprecedented crises we face, we need an unprecedented response, a movement like never before of people who are prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency and against greed, oligarchy and bigotry.”

Sanders slammed Trump’s pandemic response

Sanders kicked off his address by thanking his supporters and the movement they built with his campaign. “Many of the ideas we fought for, that just a few years ago were considered radical, are now mainstream,” he said.

“But let us be clear. If Donald Trump is reelected. All the progress we have made will be in jeopardy,” Sanders continued.

Sanders offered the full weight of his support to Biden, his primary opponent for much of his campaign, and to the Democratic Party, whose officials, he once claimed, mistreated him and thwarted his campaign. The common enemy, Sanders made clear, is Trump. 

“At its most basic this election is about preserving our democracy. During this President's term, the unthinkable has become normal… under this administration, authoritarianism has taken root in our country,” said Sanders. 

Much of Sanders’s speech attacked Trump for his response to the pandemic, his efforts to undermine the postal service and prevent people from voting, and his lack of fitness to serve as President. 

“Nero fiddled while Rome burned — Trump golfs,” said Sanders.

In particular, Sanders criticized Trump’s “fraudulent” executive orders on unemployment relief. After the Trump administration and House Democrats failed to reach an agreement on what the unemployment relief bill should look like, Trump swooped in with four executive orders he claimed would help Americans. 

“Instead of maintaining the $600-a-week unemployment supplement that workers are receiving and the $1200 emergency checks that many of you receive, instead of helping small businesses, Trump concocted fraudulent executive orders that do virtually nothing to address the crisis, while threatening the very future of Social Security and Medicare,” said Sanders.

(A fact check by the New York Times pushed back against Sanders’s evaluation of Social Security and Medicare, as the payroll cut tax suspension will only delay tax money from being collected, unless Congress decides to waive it entirely.)

Sanders acknowledged he doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with Biden, but that Biden will at least move the country forward. He listed some of Biden’s more progressive plans: raising minimum wage, making it easier for workers to join unions, creating paid family leave, funding universal pre-k, making childcare more affordable, fighting climate change, and expanding healthcare.  

Sanders said, “my friends, I say to you, to everyone who supported other candidates in the primary, and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake.”

 

 

Candy Chan

Candy Chan is studying History with a focus on War and Revolution at Barnard College. She is currently a staff writer at the Columbia Daily Spectator, covering issues pertaining to Columbia's...