Creative Loafing Tampa Bay endorses Bernie Sanders for president

Joe Biden is the status quo; the status quo is what gave us Trump.


There’s one thing that every Democrat can agree on: We need a candidate that can beat Donald Trump. And that person is Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.

Sanders’ plans are both pragmatic and inspiring. If we’ve learned anything from the past, it’s that uninspiring centrist candidates lose, and the more Democrats pander to the right, and to the increasingly-thinning myth of undecided voters, the more red the party becomes.

So, now is the time to pull Overton’s Window hard to the left and call for real Democratic policy, regardless of whether or not you think any of it is plausible.

We need a vision that brings people out in November. 

Joe Biden’s biggest selling points are that he knows Obama and he’s not Trump. Hillary Clinton tried this strategy; It didn’t work. You can’t expect to win a general election with watery ideas and the promise that you’re not the suckiest candidate in the room. Barack Obama understood this.

Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board endorsed Biden, and its reasons included things like he’s moderate enough to appease to the right, he won’t ban fracking immediately, and he thinks people with student debt should work off their loans with public service. These are horrifically bad reasons to endorse a candidate. But they’re also not shocking at all when you consider that the Times also endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary. Not to mention the fact that there’s just one woman on the Times Editorial Board, while the rest of it consists of middle-aged white guys, including Times CEO Paul Tash, a guy that stands to lose the most in tax breaks since he makes at least 10 times more than the median Tampa household.

Here’s the thing: The Democratic establishment is afraid of Sanders. Why? Because they aren’t really Democrats, and they are no longer willing to make sacrifices to benefit those who truly need their help. Unlike Biden, Sanders isn’t beholden to billionaires. Asking the richest 1% to pay the same taxes as everyone else isn’t asking for the moon. Neither is asking Fortune 500 companies to pay more than literally 0% in federal income tax, or curbing military spending, bolstering public education, and banning energy practices we know are actively destroying our planet.

These aren’t radical ideas.

Unlike Biden, Sanders’ beliefs and platforms are incredibly transparent and have largely unwavered over his political career. Even if you don’t think he can accomplish a fraction of his programs, it’s better to start somewhere—especially for issues that are common sense. Medicare For All is common sense (a GoFundMe isn’t a healthcare plan.) The Green New Deal is common sense (Florida residents are abandoning neighborhoods because of sea-level rise.) Universal child care is common sense (and increasing labor force participation is a good thing.) Free higher education is common sense (if everyone says you need a college degree, why isn’t it included in public education?) 

Bernie’s policies set future generations up to have a fighting chance in an economy that’s become increasingly beneficial to the ultra-rich and less navigable for the middle class. Aggressively acknowledging climate change means everyone—including the rich, but especially the poor and working class—won’t have to seriously consider whether or not their great grandkids are going to have to live in a stilt house. It’s vital to get rolling on these issues, and you can do that when you have a massive grassroots movement, something Biden does not have.

Sanders has a clear message, a fundraising machine, and an army behind him. The last thing is the most essential. 

As The Nation said earlier this week in its endorsement, “The movement Sanders has helped to build—a multiracial, multiethnic movement of working-class women and men, people of all ages, all faiths, gay, straight, and trans, veterans and pacifists, teachers, farmers, bus drivers, nurses, and postal workers coming together to demand justice and redeem the endlessly deferred promise of America—deserves our enthusiastic support.” 

We couldn’t agree more. 

More importantly, if a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for the status quo, something Biden does not deny, then it’s important to remember that the status quo is what gave us Trump. Democrats love to say that Trump is the “symptom,” and not the root cause of our issues. So, if that is indeed true, then Biden is the equivalent of a political cough drop. You’re still sick, but hey at least you get a little lemony treat.

Let’s imagine that Democrats do beat Trump with Biden. Then what? Does President Biden win over Trump’s MAGA movement? Do they truly believe that his policies will benefit them so much that they’ll somehow turn on their king? A more important question: Do you truly believe that the “status quo” even exists anymore? What does a return to normalcy mean when our institutions are actively crumbling around us?

But arguably one of the best reasons to vote for Bernie is how it will trigger Trump in the general election. Just like Hillary’s emails, Trump will hammer Biden about his son’s involvement with Ukraine, no matter how false those claims may be. It’s a straightforward, well-practiced strategy that he knows how to play. And, most importantly Trump will win. 

In terms of Sanders, we already know what Trump will beat him over the head with, and that’s the dreaded “socialist” label. But, this is a much better play for Sanders. Under the same definition put forward by the GOP, your fire department is a socialist program, so is the library, Medicare, and thousands of other things Americans use everyday. People already understand this, and it’s becoming more and more clear that the GOP’s efforts to label Sander’s as a “socialist” or “Marxist” or “communist” or whatever, aren’t sticking. 

In fact, a poll released earlier this week by CBS News/YouGov found that the majority of Democratic voters in Texas and California have more positive views of socialism than capitalism. TEXAS! 

Which brings us to polls. Right now, Sanders leads in just about every poll against Trump, and though he may struggle in Florida, he also polls higher in vital battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Sanders also polls higher than Trump among Black voters, Latinos, and women.

Another recent poll shows that for the first time ever, there’s literally more registered independents than Republicans. Guess who crushes Trump by nearly 18 points among independents? Bernie. 

The argument that Biden is the best choice for a head-to head general election with Trump holds zero water. 

For all of these reasons, we at Creative Loafing Tampa Bay fully support Bernie Sanders as the candidate for the Democratic Party, and we believe he is the best choice to beat Trump. 

—Colin Wolf, Ray Roa, Jenna Rimensnyder, Kyla Fields, Joey Neill and Jack Spatafora

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