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Bernie Sanders giving speech

Should Bernie Drop out of the Race?

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By Robert Safir

The latest Bernie fan to jump ship seems to be Larry David.

“I feel he should drop out,” David told the New York Times in an interview published Saturday. “He’s too far behind. He can’t get the nomination. And I think, you know, it’s no time to fool around here. Everybody’s got to support Biden.”

Sanders is a "third cousin or something," David told reporters at a Television Critics Association event on Wednesday. David impersonated the senator on "Saturday Night Live" during the 2016 election, and said he learned about the genealogical connection while filming an episode of the PBS series, "Finding Your Roots."

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"We're Assessing Our Campaign"

Buttons: Yes, No, Maybe
Gettyimages | FRANCESCO ZERILLI/ZERILLIMEDIA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

In an April 1 episode of ‘The View’ with Whoopi Goldberg, Sanders responded to questions about why he’s still in the race. “We are assessing our campaign,” he said. This response seems to be the new default answer to this question, because let’s face it, it doesn’t really say anything.(Whoopi wasn't having it.) If Bernie was assessing his campaign ten days ago, what happened the next day? We can guess that he was assessing his campaign. And the next day and the next day – same answer.

This answer might fly better if nothing else was happening in the world. But lots of things happened. Joe Biden came out of nowhere, when he was not the frontrunner in two primaries, and took the lead – by big margins. Then there was a global pandemic that became like a science fiction movie with the relevant name, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still.’ Then reporters, news anchors, and people in general, starting asking that question again – why are you still in the race?

Here Comes the Pandemic

Marquis - The World is Temporarily Closed
Unsplash | Edwin Hooper

There is a stark coincidence that goes along with this story. During a presidential race, a global pandemic breaks out – coronavirus, sometimes referred to more specifically as COVID-19. No one was prepared for this event – not even closely. People knew right away that this pandemic was going to strain the healthcare system in the United States until it could barely strain any further. It’s sometimes referred to as a crisis because it is, indeed, a crisis.

A hallmark of Bernie’s campaign has been his call for overhauling the healthcare system under the banner, ‘Medicare for All.’ (Not a bad idea, but it would be an easier sell to call it ‘Universal Healthcare.’

Democratic Socialism = Social Programs

Letters change from Capitalism to Socialism
Gettyimages | Fokusiert

Bernie Sanders calls his platform ‘democratic socialism.’ (This is another branding problem – the word ‘socialism’ scares a lot of people off.) Nevertheless, he believes in recognizing healthcare and education as rights, an economy that works for all, protecting the environment, and an overhaul reforming of the political system.

He did gain a large following until that unfortunate turn in which Joe Biden became the front runner, even in states that Bernie should have nailed down. But actually, that’s not the bad news.

Bad News + Bad News

Sign: Bad News Travels Fast
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The bad news has been the coronavirus pandemic. With a tremendous bit of irony, the things that Bernie has been talking about – not only in his campaign, but in Congress for decades – is exactly what’s needed right now. Universal healthcare could take the financial burden away from millions of people. Testing and treatment that are usually beyond the budget of most people would be given for free. Testing – free. Medication –free. Hospital stays – free. Job security – yes. Unemployment benefits – absolutely.

Timing, Timing, Timing

World clock
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The truth is that even if these things could get us out of the jam we’re currently in, it can’t possibly happen during the worst pandemic this country has ever seen. You could not put all of the systems in place to deal with the crisis in a timely enough manner. As it is, thousands of people are dying by the day. The effort would be like trying to win a tennis tournament by taking your eyes completely off the ball. Sure, the treasury could print tons more money to finance a platform such as Bernie’s, but his platform would still be a tough sell for millions of people on the Right as well as Independents. It’s a case of horrible timing. It doesn’t help that Joe Biden seems to be the likely choice by the Democrats.

As we keep hearing every day, we’ll get through this. It is unfortunate for Bernie Sanders that it likely won’t be under his watch.

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