In order to win, Bernie does not need to “go negative’. He does not need to attack the Billionaire Class. He does not need to rail against The Establishment.
He does not even need to promise Revolution or delineate his policies. He has already won the policy debate by massive margins.
He simply needs to jog people’s memories.
I do not know whether the upcoming debate will be the best venue for this speech, but the following is the argument that Bernie needs to make in order to succeed.
So read this and imagine a thick Brooklyn accent if you want. Enjoy!
My friends, as I mentioned in my press conference last week, we know that while the vast majority of Democratic voters support our campaign on the issues, many of you are still choosing to vote for my opponent because you think he is best able to beat Trump. While you may personally support our policies on Medicare For All, Free Public College and the Green New Deal, you may want to vote for Joe Biden because you consider him to be the “safe” choice to beat Trump in the fall.
And why shouldn’t you think that way? The media is telling you that he is the safe choice. The Democratic establishment is telling you he is the safe choice. In short, everything and everyone you see on TV and in the news are telling you that in this race, ONLY Joe Biden can beat Trump in November.
But – what if they are all wrong?
Looking back on recent history, it seems that whenever we have decided to go with the “safe” candidate, WE LOSE.
In 2000, Al Gore was the safe candidate. Everyone knew him, he had served with a very popular President. He couldn’t lose.
And yet, he did lose.
In 2004, Howard Dean led a movement of young people in the Primaries. He said he represented the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” But the party establishment and the media said he was too radical, that he couldn’t win. They told us John Kerry was the “safe” choice.
And we lost again.
Then, in 2008, we had a situation that was very similar to what we have today. There was one candidate who was the Establishment favorite, who was associated with a very popular Democratic President, who had lots of experience, who had every world leader in a Rolodex, who had been a successful Senator, who ticked every box, who fit the bill. And the media and the party establishment all supported Hillary Clinton.
Running against her was a very unlikely opponent: a black man with a Muslim name: Barack Hussein Obama.
And as if that name was not problematic enough, he was running on a platform of Change. He wanted to put an end to the “stupid” wars, as he called them. He wanted to overhaul the system; he wanted to give everyone the chance to have government paid healthcare. He was running on a strong progressive platform.
Of course, the media and the establishment were all lined up against him. They tried everything to make him look dangerous, to make him look “un-electable.” They bombarded the airwaves, the newspapers and all the other media with pundits, experts and Democrat leaders to tell you that Barack Obama was too dangerous, too radical; that white people would not vote for him; that older people would not vote for him; that the white working class would not vote for him, that those elusive “swing voters” and “moderate voters” would not vote for him.
But you, the Democratic voters, decided to take a chance. You voted the way your own heart and head told you to. The way your gut told you to. You chose Barack Obama to be your champion in the general election, and WE WON.
And we won again in 2012.
You see, when we go safe, we lose. But when we take a chance, when we vote for the policies that we actually want, when we vote the way that our conscience tells us to – THAT is when WE WIN.
Still, you may think, can’t a safe candidate also win?
I don’t think so. AND – we have the proof. We have the experience, the test case to look back on.
Four years ago we had the same choice between a “safe” establishment candidate, whom the Party and the Media supported, and a progressive candidate running on a platform of change. I was that progressive change candidate. The safe candidate was Hillary Clinton, the same “safe” candidate who lost to the progressive in 2008. She was the one that the Party establishment told us was “the most qualified person ever to become President”. She was the one the media, the pollsters and the pundits all said would win in a LANDSLIDE. And so, we chose Hillary Clinton, the safe candidate, the sure thing, to be our nominee.
And we LOST to Donald Trump.
So I am asking you tonight to remember our history. Remember the lessons we learned from electing Barack Obama. Remember that when you ignore the noise and the propaganda from the media, when we vote for the policies that we want, when we vote for the future that we want, WE WIN.