Budowsky: Sanders, Obama lead Democratic unity surge
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the greatest progressive leaders in many generations, deserves a standing ovation for all that he has done throughout a brilliant career that has many more achievements to come, and for his leadership today uniting Democrats behind the most consequential cause of our generation, ending the presidency of Donald Trump.
President Kennedy once said that courage is grace under pressure. Throughout his 2020 campaign, and now with his unequivocal endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden for president, Sanders demonstrated courage and grace and all that is best about the Democratic Party and American democracy.
And now Democrats are lifted again as former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama—who I believe should be on a short list of potential vice presidential nominees for Biden — join the Democratic unity surge in full force.
With the penultimate unity of Biden and Sanders and every Democrat who ran for president in 2020, the stage is set for Democrats to regain the presidency. To make a strong bid with a good chance of success to regain control of the Senate. To increase the Democratic majority in the House. And to reverse the Supreme Court packing by a Republican president and Republican Senate that must and will be ended and reversed if a Democratic president works with a Democratic Senate in 2021.
What Sanders, Biden and every Democrat who ran for president in 2020 understands and embodies is a great truth about American politics and democracy today.
The Republican Party, which was originally founded in opposition to slavery as the party of Lincoln, has become a cult of personality as the party of Trump. Liberal Republicans no longer exist. Moderate Republicans are held in contempt. Many principled conservatives who were devout supporters of President Reagan are derisively labeled, to their great credit, as never Trumpers.
While the party of Lincoln is dead, the Democratic Party, which is the party of Jefferson, Kennedy and Roosevelt, the party of Clinton and Obama, the party of Biden and Sanders, and the party of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Michael Bloomberg, is thriving and united.
The Democrats are a big tent party that welcomes all of the diverse people from different backgrounds who believe that America is a special place and a great family where good health care is available to all. Where the rising economic tides should lift all boats. Where human rights, simple justice and full equality should be rights for every man and woman everywhere! Where political opponents are treated as opponents. Not as enemies of the state as the incumbent president, who divides our nation and pollutes our politics, has made a hallmark of his unpopular presidency.
In the coming weeks and months, it will be increasingly apparent that there are wide areas of agreement on first principles of policy between those who backed Biden, those who backed Sanders, and those who backed all of the candidates who ran for the Democratic nomination. There will be dramatic initiatives to save the world from climate change. To make availability of Medicare a right for all. To save students and their parents from the crushing burden of student debt. To create economic policies that help all Americans and do not give special privileges and crony capitalist profits to the few.
The secret weapon for Democrats in 2020 is the public yearning for more civility in our civic life, more decency in our politics, more fairness in our economy, and a renewed respect for a shared American patriotism — the exact opposite of the Trump brand of bitterly divisive politics.
Sanders and Biden both embody a politics of decency and mutual respect. They have long been good personal friends and colleagues with many areas of agreement, a few areas of disagreement and a good faith search for common ground rooted in basic decency — which is what Biden and Obama and Sanders, the Democratic Party, and American democracy are all about.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.
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