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New York Post

Time to rally around Joe

Progressives: Don’t take your ball and go home in a snit

Jeffrey Denny

I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustration,
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a fifty-amp fuse”

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well, you just might find
You get what you need

— Sir Michael Philip Jagger and Keith Richards, 1968

Major props to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and their loud, proud, passionate, progressive and undeniably righteous supporters.

You dreamed boldly of building a better America. You proposed big, smart plans. You raised critical issues that matter to families, our country and humanity. You spoke out for the inalienable rights and needs of the overlooked, under-served, disadvantaged and disrespected in America, and thundered about equality.

You vented your frustration, gave money, work, talent and time, and fought the good fight from heart and soul, with belief in our democracy, that Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature” can triumph.

Yay! You are exactly what America needs, has always needed, and why we are still Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on the hill,” the light of democracy for the world and humanity. In spite of Trump’s tarnishing and appeals to our worst angels to divide us for the power and glory he desperately needs.

Sanders/Warren supporters are true patriots. Not the play-acting, self-appointed militia ignoramus trogs and trolls who show up in Charlottesville or Richmond in fake military camo bristling with real military-grade weapons, guys I fear rather than trust with our liberty because Americans are a peaceful people and democracy is not about threatening fellow citizens.

Real patriots back enlightened visionaries — both progressive and pragmatic. They don’t sit at home on their keyboards blurting incoherent violent psychotic paranoia on the deep dark web like useful tools of Russian espionage. Nor do they incite presidential rally-goers to chant “lock her up,” “send them back,” or “enemy of the people” at the professional media our Founders protected in the First Amendment and the president’s people invited to cover the rally.

But, in all due appreciation for our progressive patriots, time’s up.

You haven’t or can’t give enough decent, common-sense, hardworking Americans a good reason to join your revolution and upset the apple cart.

Certainly not now, when all most voters want is a) a good economy; b) stability; and c) to get Trump the hell out of the White House with his insane clown presidency that’s making Covid-19 and America worse.

Most Americans — right or wrong — don’t like when Democrats sound like so-called socialists.

Whether the simplistic label is fair or unfair, Sanders/Warren progressives have thrown a fat pitch across the plate for Trump to select not if, but where he sends it out of the park, like Babe Ruth’s legendary “called shot,” and into the cheap lots. While Trump shamelessly crows even more about his greatness, like a parody of Henry VIII who was voted by the internet as “worst monarch in history.”

Plus, as expected, for all their sound and fury, the youth vote backing Sanders or Warren signifies the kids aren’t all right when it comes to actually voting, where their important voices really count.

USA Today tallied the embarrassing under-30 turnout on Super Tuesday: Alabama, 10%. North Carolina, 14%. South Carolina, 11%. Tennessee, 11%. Virginia, 13%. Texas, 15%. Massachusetts, 15%. In Sanders’ own Vermont, 11%.

Youth turnout in this crucial 2020 election actually was lower than in 2016. And, on trend, far lower than all the adulting cohorts, where turnout reflected the usual 30-60+%.

As Sanders conceded, “Have we been as successful as I would hope in bringing in young people in? And the answer is no. … We’re making some progress, but historically everybody knows that young people do not vote in the kind of numbers that older people vote.”

Cue Huffington Post articles about how progressive youth, who have powerful excuses not to vote or know how, when or where, are being victimized by the old white patriarchy, as usual, so their important voices for our future are not heard.

So … what now?

As an old boss, friend and mentor taught me, “When all else fails, be for what’s going to happen.”

That means, my wonderful progressive friends: Instead of clinging to the mast as SS Bernie sinks; lamenting that an old white establishment Democrat is winning more trust and votes than an old white Democratic Socialist; calling fellow Democrats stupid and captive to capitalism; or keening about how Democrats can’t pick a woman or person of color for president — how about keeping the eyes on the prize? You know, beating Trump.

Many voters on Super Tuesday picked Biden for exactly that reason.

Carping about Democrats choosing old Joe over old Bernie (or old Liz) reminds me of the old Borscht Belt joke about the two old guys having their usual lunch in an old deli.

One says, “The food is terrible here.” The other says, “Yeah, and the portions are too small.”

Yet they both ate there, week after week, because while it wasn’t a Michelin five-star steakhouse, it was good enough to do the job.

Voltaire warned about making the perfect the enemy of good.

While Bernie (or Warren) might be perfect in young progressive eyes, they don’t turn out or have the votes.

Biden is the good that most Americans believe is the best chance to end the Trump fever dream that’s making us more divided, nastier, hateful and not the great country we are.

So instead of threatening a divisive brokered Democratic convention this summer, how about if Sanders and his base see the writing on the wall and throw their support — right now — to Biden, as Klobuchar, Buttigieg, Bloomberg and other failed competitors on the Democratic debate stages have already done. They have their eyes on the prize.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.

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