Bernie Sanders: Biden could become ‘Most Progressive President’ since Franklin Roosevelt
NEW YORK: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate and his former rival, on Tuesday delivered a compromise roadmap for uniting the party’s base against Donald Trump.
Bernie Sanders has praised the new platform of Joe Biden he helped craft, saying it would make him “the most progressive president” since Franklin Roosevelt.
Sanders, once the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, dropped out of the primaries in early April after Biden, the establishment favourite, secured an all-but-insurmountable lead.
After the self-described “democratic socialist” senator endorsed Biden, they continued to craft a joint agenda to unite the Democratic electorate against Donald Trump in November. Sanders is also determined to push the party further to the left, while the former vice president wants to win over Sanders supporters and younger voters.
They formed six task forces, focusing on climate change, criminal justice reform, the economy, education, health care and immigration. On Wednesday, these task forces unveiled a 110-page joint policy road map.
“These folks, needless to say, represented the progressive movement and had a different perspective on things than did Biden’s people,” Sanders said of negotiators from his camp in an MSNBC interview.
“But there was serious discussion and I think a real honest effort to come up with a compromise. And I think the compromise that they came up with, if implemented, will make Biden the most progressive president since FDR.”
Sanders was hopeful that, if implemented, that agenda will improve life for “tens and tens of millions of working people”, as well as the environment, criminal justice system, and the living conditions of low-income people.
The newly-crafted agenda contains a series of compromises between the Democratic Party’s “progressive” and “moderate” wings. For instance, it outlines a faster timetable for achieving net-zero carbon emissions than Biden initially set, instead of the Green New Deal that envisioned an overhaul of environmental policy.
There is also no endorsement for Medicare for All, a single-payer health system championed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but instead there are proposals to expand health insurance coverage by building on former president Obama’s Affordable Care Act (which was Biden’s policy during the primaries).
The plan was immediately attacked by Republicans. Steve Guest, the spokesperson for the party’s National Committee, noted that it cited passages word-for-word from Sanders’ previous agenda on social security, disability rights, and some other proposals.
“The fact Joe Biden has embraced Bernie Sanders’ radical agenda verbatim is proof that while Bernie may not be the one leading the Democrat Party, Biden is more than happy to be his champion in its lurch to the left,” Guest said.