fbpx
Monday, November 30, 2020

Dear Joe Biden, Don’t Pick The Bernie Sanders Left As Your Running Mate

Celebrate that outcome by doing exactly what the voters did: repudiate the Bernie Sanders vision.

Print This Article

Dear Mr. Vice President:

I know you have a lot on your mind, what with preparing for what one hopes will be an actual, in-person Democratic convention, and dealing with the recent charges of sexual misconduct. But I think it’s fair to assume that you will be the Democratic Party’s nominee, so I’d like to focus on your vice presidential pick. I know you are getting lots of input on this, and that you’ll soon have a committee looking into it.

I hope you will excuse my temerity in writing to you in this fashion, via an open letter. My qualifications for doing so are slight. I’ve followed, and voted in, every presidential election for the past 55 years. Not always for winners. Like you, I’ve seen many campaigns. Oh, and I wrote a column last December, printed in the Journal, comparing Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) to British politician Jeremy Corbyn and urging “moderate Democrats to come out in droves in the coming primaries to reclaim their party or risk repeating the Labour debacle” in Britain. Although I don’t think my scribblings were the key, Democrats did just that.

I’m urging you to celebrate that outcome by doing exactly what the voters did: repudiate the Bernie Sanders vision.

Now I’m urging you to celebrate that outcome by doing exactly what the voters did: repudiate the Bernie Sanders vision. Curiously, Sanders isn’t a Democrat; he’s a self-described “democratic socialist.” And although many of his ideas radically would transform American capitalism, he never fails to note that “we are the richest country in the history of the world.” He typically follows this accolade with a criticism, for example noting that there are homeless people in America or Americans without adequate health insurance.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (L) listens as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on November 20 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Although Sanders says that these and other issues can be addressed precisely because we are the richest country in the world, what is astonishing is his failure to appreciate why this is so, and what it means for the so-called progressive solutions that he is urging.

America is prosperous because of its embrace of capitalism, the very economic system that troubles Sanders. Now, capitalism certainly needs rules, and it’s fair to argue about what those rules should be. But the underlying principle is that self-interested economic behavior can be made to work for the benefit of society as a whole. That people can become rich, and be rich, is not a deplorable problem but rather a motivation, an incentive. Taking away the profit motive — by demonizing those with money, by requiring corporate boards to have a large percentage of members whose interests are not in corporate prosperity, by taxing the accumulation of wealth, and by restricting the ability to pass wealth on to one’s children (which is one of the incentives for accumulating wealth) — undermines the very reasons that America is so wealthy.

The progressive agenda was overwhelmingly rejected by Democrats in the primaries this year.

Mr. Vice President, you know all of this. But my point is that in choosing a running mate, it would be best to look for someone who shares your views, and not those of Sanders; someone who unites Americans, not someone who polarizes us into angry, warring groups. Usually the choice of a vice president has little or no positive impact on a presidential election outcome. However, it can have a negative impact, as when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) selected Gov. Sarah Palin in 2008.

Some say that progressives will sit out the election if you don’t give a progressive the nod. But the progressive agenda was overwhelmingly rejected by Democrats in the primaries this year. The bigger risk for Democrats is if moderates sit out this election, or vote for a write-in, or even cross over to the other side.

Putting aside the recent, disputed charge of sexual misconduct, it is your age that hangs over this election. As the Clancy Brothers sing in “Isn’t It Grand Boys,” “the longer you live, the sooner you’ll bloody well die.” This is what makes your choice of a vice president so crucial. To many, in this election, the vice presidential choice will matter. To anoint someone from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which you so soundly defeated, is an invitation to disaster.


Gregory R. Smith is an appellate attorney practicing in Los Angeles.

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Giving Season

One Form of Giving: Spreading Kindness

“It started as a spreadsheet, a very basic spreadsheet,” Elana Sichel, a recent graduate of University of Maryland says. She and Hadassah Raskas, a U Penn rising senior, are the co-founders of Corona Connects, an initiative that pairs volunteers with organizations needing the extra hands during this chaotic time of living through the Coronavirus pandemic. The idea originated in a strong desire to be of service, stemming from their observant upbringing. Raskas explains, “I think it really was our Jewish values that really created this thing inside of us…it’s so deeply ingrained.”

Pandemic Has Altered The Rules of Fundraising

This article originally appeared in The New York Jewish Week The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is massive, costing hundreds of thousands of lives and...

Two Phrases That May Explain Why Giving Comes Naturally

Two women pass a beggar on the street. They have the same income and expenses. The first weeps at the suffering of the beggar and gives him $5 out of the goodness of her heart. The second notices but rushes past. Later in the day, however, she feels compelled because of her religious beliefs and returns to give the beggar $100. Who is the better person? Why are Jews so generous?

Latest Articles

Abbas Seeks United Stance With Amman, Cairo Ahead of Talking to Biden

The Media Line — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas conducted his first diplomatic tour of the year, meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Aqaba...

YIVO Institute Virtual Exhibition: “Beba Epstein”

The exhibition encompasses over 200 artifacts and is divided into chapters about Epstein’s life.

Pandemic Times Episode 108: Conversation with Rabbi Steven Weil

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. The new CEO of FIDF weighs in on some of the hot issues of the day. How do...

Home Shalom Monday Message #33

Home Shalom promotes healthy relationships and facilitates the creation of judgement free, safe spaces in the Jewish community. Home Shalom is a program of...

The Golden Age of the Court Jew

Apparently, Jews being appointed to high places crosses party lines.

A Moment in Time: A Thanksgiving Message from the Shapiro – Galperin Home

Dear all, From our home to your home, Happy Thanksgiving! With love and shalom, Rabbi Zach Shapiro and Controller Ron Galperin

How a Jewish Shaman Released Me From My Parents’ Mutual Hate

I’ve been desperate for validation to prove I’m better than my parents’ hate.

Rashida Tlaib Retweets ‘From the River to the Sea’ Tweet

The tweet that Tlaib retweeted read, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."

The Invisible Student: A Tale of Homelessness at UCLA and USC

Each of the 68,000 homeless students in the nation has their own story of resilience.

The Oxygen We All Breathe

The man was looking at my baby’s face, and tears were falling from his eyes.

Culture

YIVO Institute Virtual Exhibition: “Beba Epstein”

The exhibition encompasses over 200 artifacts and is divided into chapters about Epstein’s life.

Breathing New Life Into A Thanksgiving Pumpkin Tradition

Why stick with the ordinary pumpkin when you can accessorize into a whole line of winter squashes with far more panache?

MOTs Score Grammy Nominations

This year’s nominees include several Members of the Tribe, including Jerry Seinfeld, Tiffany Haddish, Rachel Maddow and Spike Jonze, in categories that reflect their particular talents.

Talking with Maya Batash About “Talking With God”

Maya Batash was grappling with personal issues when she first ventured to Uman, the renowned burial place of the 18th century mystic and kabbalist,...

Donations of Appreciated Stock Unlock Charitable Currency, Bring Fulfillment

A few years ago, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) ran an advertisement with an attention-grabbing headline: To open a charitable...

Latest Articles
Latest

Abbas Seeks United Stance With Amman, Cairo Ahead of Talking to Biden

The Media Line — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas conducted his first diplomatic tour of the year, meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Aqaba...

YIVO Institute Virtual Exhibition: “Beba Epstein”

The exhibition encompasses over 200 artifacts and is divided into chapters about Epstein’s life.

Pandemic Times Episode 108: Conversation with Rabbi Steven Weil

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. The new CEO of FIDF weighs in on some of the hot issues of the day. How do...

Home Shalom Monday Message #33

Home Shalom promotes healthy relationships and facilitates the creation of judgement free, safe spaces in the Jewish community. Home Shalom is a program of...

The Golden Age of the Court Jew

Apparently, Jews being appointed to high places crosses party lines.

Hollywood

‘Oslo’ Drama Underway from Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt

Steven Spielberg, Mark Platt and David Litvak are bringing the J.T. Rogers’ Tony Award-winning play “Oslo,” about the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Peace Accords, to HBO....

‘Valley of Tears’ Tells Harrowing Stories of the 1973 Yom Kippur War

As Yom Kippur began in 1973, attacks by Syria and Egypt took Israel by surprise, launching a 19-day war in which more than 10,000...

Sophia Loren Plays a Holocaust Survivor in ‘The Life Ahead’

In her first feature film since “Nine” in 2009, screen legend Sophia Loren plays a Holocaust survivor who takes in motherless children in “The...

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 108: Conversation with Rabbi Steven Weil

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. The new CEO of FIDF weighs in on some of the hot issues of the day. How do...

David L. Graizbord: The New Zionists

Shmuel Rosner and David L. Graizbord discuss his new book, The New Zionists: Young American Jews, Jewish National Identity, and Israel. David Graizbord is an...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

x