Bernie Sanders may have missed his chance to finally head the Democratic ticket, but he still holds considerable clout.
Which is why Joe Biden was busy wooing the Vermont socialist’s supporters this past week. “Senator Sanders and I may disagree on tactics,” he said. “But we share a common vision.”
That’s good to keep in mind as the media try to cover up Mr. Biden’s recent leftward lurches and convert him into a “moderate” to seem less scary in November.
However, they’re both heading toward the socialist cliff, just in different vehicles. Bernie’s is a red Ferrari, while Joe’s is more like a red bus with “No Malarkey” on the side. Same road, same cliff. Different speeds.
There’s nothing “moderate” about either of them. Well, Joe’s hair is not as wild.
They both oppose any restrictions on abortion — even parental consent for minors — and want to force taxpayers to subsidize them. Likewise, Bernie and Joe want “free” tuition to four-year state colleges, although Joe limits the largesse to millions of families making under $125,000. Both want taxpayers to pony up to cover billions in outstanding student loans.
Both advocate advancing toward a single-payer health care system, which is code for socialist medicine. Bernie wants an outright government takeover, with his “Medicare for All” putting private insurers out of business and costing more than $30 trillion over a decade. Joe proposes an expanded version of Obamacare, with a new “public option,” which would cost “only” $750 billion over 10 years and would get us to Bernie’s dream, just not as fast.
Both want federally subsidized child care, with nothing for stay-at-home parents. Joe’s is means-tested, while Bernie wants it for every single child, no matter how rich the parents. This indicates that his plan is less about helping hard-pressed parents with costs than getting kids into an institutional setting as soon as possible — a longtime goal of the left.
Both Bernie and Joe want to overturn most of the Trump tax cuts that unleashed the economy before the coronavirus tanked it. They want to impose new taxes on those they deem “the rich.”
Both support the entire LGBTQ agenda, including “The Equality Act,” which would effectively criminalize Christianity and empower the government to enforce the left’s frontal assault on the moral order. Joe has proclaimed transgender rights “the civil rights issue of our time.”
That might not sit well with the many black Americans who are not big fans of “Drag Queen Story Hour.”
Both men would appoint hard-left lunatics to the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts, ending President Trump’s spirited, effective effort to reestablish constitutional jurisprudence.
Bernie embraces the Green New Deal, the utopian scheme advocated by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has declared war on fossil fuels, cow flatulence, cars and airplanes. This includes requiring 100 percent renewable sources of energy for electricity and transportation by 2030, cutting domestic emissions by 71 percent by that year and putting aside millions for workers who lose their jobs.
He claims the whole thing will cost only $16.3 trillion and create 20 million new jobs in wind, solar and other renewables. Oh, and it will “pay for itself” in 15 years. If you believe that, I have other nifty federal “starter” programs that will never cost more than I promised.
During the primaries, Joe embraced more and more of this cockeyed scheme. He now wants to end fossil fuel subsidies and ban any new oil and gas permits on public lands. Like Bernie, he would have the United States re-enter the Paris climate treaty, which would put the United States under emission reductions dictated from Europe. Energy independence? That’s so Trump.
On immigration, the Dems agree on reversing most of Mr. Trump’s policies. Both want free health care for illegal immigrants. Bernie would end deportations and raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and halt construction of the border wall. Joe would raise the refugee admissions cap from 18,000 to 125,000 and throw $4 billion into Central America to help stop the flow. As far as the wall, Joe once supported funding for part of it, but has been evasive of late.
Both candidates would greatly strengthen union power, with national edicts for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, a national ban on state right-to-work laws, a law mandating “card check” for unionizing a workplace, and public employee unions.
They both oppose election safeguards like voter ID laws as “voter suppression.”
There’s much more to this picture, but Mr. Biden is going to have to walk a fine line in order to keep the Bernie legions happy without frightening the Boomers, who vote in far more dependable numbers.
Then there’s the choice of a vice presidential candidate. Joe has promised to name a woman, while Bernie hinted he would do the same. Vice presidential nominees help cover a candidate’s flank, as Mike Pence did for Donald Trump in 2016 with conservative Christian voters.
Even with Mr. Biden’s swerve to the left, he still needs to cover the Bernie flank with a ditsy leftist woman.
The pretend moderate Amy Klobuchar might do the trick, if the crazies don’t object, but there’s also that perennial media favorite out there, tanned, rested and ready for another shot.
• Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times. His website is roberthknight.com.