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Bernie Sanders and Progressives in Our Winter of Discontent

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Bernie Sanders Admits Joe Is Already Snubbing The Left
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Bernie Sanders is not in a good political position right now. Yes, he continues to speak vital truths to -- and about -- power. His ability to reach a national audience with progressive wisdom and specific proposals is unmatched. And, during the last several decades, no one has done more to move the nation's discourse leftward. But now, Sanders is in a political box.

After a summer and fall dominated by the imperative of defeating Donald Trump, progressive forces are entering a winter of discontent. Joe Biden has offered them little on the list of top personnel being named to his administration. While Sanders wants to maintain a cordial relationship with the incoming president, he doesn't like what he's seeing.

"The progressive movement deserves a number of seats -- important seats -- in the Biden administration," Sanders said last week. "Have I seen that at this point? I have not."

Sanders foreshadowed the current situation back in mid-November, when he told The Associated Press: "It seems to me pretty clear that progressive views need to be expressed within a Biden administration. It would be, for example, enormously insulting if Biden put together a 'team of rivals' -- and there's some discussion that that's what he intends to do -- which might include Republicans and conservative Democrats -- but which ignored the progressive community. I think that would be very, very unfortunate."

At this point, Sanders and avid supporters of the Bernie 2020 campaign have ample reasons to feel frustrated, even "enormously" insulted. It's small comfort that Biden's picks so far are purportedly "not as bad as Obama's" were 12 years ago. That's a low bar, especially to those who understand that Barack Obama heavily corporatized his presidency from the outset. And given the past decade's leftward political migration among Democrats and independents at the grassroots, Biden's selections have been even more out of step with the party's base.

Reporting on Biden's overall selections as this week began, the Washington Post found that "about 80 percent of the White House and agency officials he's announced have the word 'Obama' on their re'sume' from previous White House or Obama campaign jobs."

Biden conveyed notable disregard for Sanders by nominating an OMB director with a long record of publicly expressing antagonism toward him. The Post just reported that "the transition team never reached out to" Sanders about "Biden's decision to tap Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to a person familiar with the lack of communication, despite Sanders's role as the top Democrat on one of the committees that will hold Tanden's confirmation hearings."

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Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is currently a coordinator of the relaunched Bernie Delegates Network. (more...)
 

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