In a surprise appearance on former Vice President Joe Biden’s daily livestream, former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) endorsed the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee and pledged to do “all I can” to help defeat President Donald Trump in November.
Speaking to the former Veep’s supporters, Sanders, who dropped out of the race last week but said he would remain on the ballot in most upcoming states in order to collect delegates, pledged to take an active role in Biden’s presidential campaign.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 13, 2020
“We have to make Trump a one-term president and we need you in the White House,” Sanders said. “I will do all that I can to see that that happens, Joe.”
“I want to thank you for that,” Biden responded. “It’s a big deal. Your endorsement means a great deal, a great deal to me.”
“As you say, ‘not me, us.’ That’s your phrase, pal,” Biden added. “And your supporters and I are going to make the same commitment.”
“You’ve been the most powerful voice for a more fair and just America,” Biden finally complimented the Vermont socialist. “You don’t get enough credit, Bernie, for being the voice that asks us to takle a hard look in the mirror and ask ‘have we done enough?'”
Sanders responded that “it’s no great secret” that the pair do not see eye to eye on a majority of policy issues, but that the two are working together to create six joint policy working groups on the economy, education, criminal justice reform, immigration, climate change, and “the economy” (presumably the sixth will be hashed out in greater detail at a later date).
“It’s no great secret Joe that you and I have our differences, and we are not going to paper them over. That’s real,” Sanders said. “But I hope that these task forces will come together, utilizing the best minds and people in your campaign and in my campaign, to work out real solutions to these very, very important problems.”
The purpose, Biden added, would be to put Bernie’s plans into action “not just to win but to govern” and to help guide the country through the coronavirus pandemic and any subsequent economic hardships.
Sanders’ endorsement isn’t entirely unexpected — after all, he endorsed his former competitor, Hillary Clinton, after losing the nomination in 2016. But Sanders seems to be making things easier on the Democratic party this time around, endorsing his top competition for the 2020 Democratic presidential endorsement within a week of dropping out of the race and well before all of the state-level primaries finished.
Democrats likely hope that an early partnership between Biden and Sanders can help bring reticent Sanders supporters into the Democratic Party’s fold. According to a poll taken earlier in April, most Sanders supporters plan to cast their ballot for Biden, but a handful of hardliners are still holding out.
The Democratic Socialists of America say they won’t fall in behind the more “moderate” Democrat, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the most prominent Democratic socialist in office, says she’s waiting for an overture from Biden’s campaign — an overture that doesn’t seem to be coming.