Bernie Sanders on Monday night offered his most forceful argument yet on behalf of former primary rival Joe Biden, beseeching his supporters to back the Democratic nominee in November or risk seeing “all the progress we have made” be thrown into doubt.
“Our campaign ended several months ago, but our movement continues and is getting stronger every day,” Sanders said. “Many of the ideas we fought for that just a few years ago were considered radical are now mainstream. But let us be clear. If Donald Trump is re-elected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy.”
Sanders also took direct aim at Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the administration’s refusal to engage with Democrats seeking to extend ramped-up unemployment benefits and other aid to workers and hard-hit communities.
“Millions of working families are wondering how they will feed their kids, and they're worried that they will be evicted from their homes,” Sanders said. “And how has Trump responded? Instead of maintaining the $600 a week unemployment supplement that workers were receiving and the $1,200 emergency checks that many of you received, instead of helping small businesses, Trump concocted fraudulent executive orders that do virtually nothing to address the crisis while threatening the very future of Social Security and Medicare.”
Sanders also sprinkled in an uncharacteristic zinger.
“Nero fiddled while Rome burned,” the Vermont senator said. “Trump golfs.”
As he’s done throughout the campaign, and during his own, Sanders also expressed concern that Trump’s rise mirrored those of authoritarian leaders from the past.
“I and my family and many of yours know the insidious way authoritarianism destroys democracy, decency and humanity,” Sanders said. “As long as I am here, I will work with progressives, with moderates and, yes, with conservatives to preserve this nation from a threat that so many of our heroes fought and died to defeat.”
And in a final appeal to voters, Sanders asked Americans to “come together” to elect Biden – then considered the alternative.
“The price of failure,” he said, “is just too great.”