Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took great pains, Monday night, to distance himself from one of his top campaign advisors, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and assure voters that he is not a stalking horse for a progressive presidential agenda.
President Donald Trump has long insisted that a Biden administration would be among the most progressive in history, and Biden has done little to dismiss that claim, welcoming a number of far-left Democratic legislators — including a handful of “Democratic socialists” — on to his campaign policy teams, and making Sanders, a well-known socialist himself, a chief surrogate.
Monday night, though, in a town hall event hosted by NBC News, Biden claimed that his victory over Sanders proves that he intends to govern as a moderate.
“‘Look, I’m the guy that ran against a socialist,” Biden said. “Remember, I got in trouble with the whole campaign, 20-something candidates? Joe Biden was too centrist, too moderate, too straightforward. That was Joe Biden.”
That was also before Biden won the Democratic presidential nomination. Since then, Biden has welcomed progressives and Democratic socialists on to his campaign team and implicitly endorsed major progressive programs, like the Green New Deal (though Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) insist that such support is only for a bare framework of the radical environmental policy).
In an effort to recruit reticent progressives to support his campaign, Biden also struck a deal with Sanders, bringing the Vermont socialist to the forefront of his presidential campaign. Sanders, in an appearance over the weekend, even suggested that Biden had promised him plum legislative committee appointments in return for his support.
As The Daily Wire reported Monday, Sanders told an approving audience over the weekend that he would be “the chairman of the Subcommittee on Health” if Democrats win control of both the White House and the Senate.
Sanders, of course, is supportive of a “Medicare-for-All” or “single-payer” type health care program, a substantially different system than the one Biden supported as Vice President. Biden, of course, says he will continue to support the Affordable Care Act, which passed while served under President Barack Obama, and has pledged to expand the program.
Campaign watchers have also pointed out that Biden’s agenda is “centrist” only on its face, and includes major tax hikes, expensive coronavirus relief packages, and expansions to health care, social security, education funding, infrastructure, and housing — a policy platform that could cost trillions.
During the NBC town hall Monday, Biden also committed to a progressive position on abortion rights, telling the audience that if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade while he is in office, he would codify abortion rights in federal law, making a constitutional right to abortion the “law of the land” — a position that few Democrats have staked out. President Donald Trump lashed back at Biden Tuesday morning calling the Democrat “extreme” on the issue.