News, University News

Tweet from Brown Students for Bernie highlights misgivings with Biden campaign

Post that said group would not be endorsing Biden taken down following Sen. Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of former Vice President

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Many Sanders supporters on campus feel that Biden has not done enough to win their vote. Discontent with Biden’s campaign has led many to hold reservations and in some cases opposition to the former Vice President’s candidacy.

“We are not endorsing Joe Biden” read a post from the Brown Students for Bernie’s Twitter account late Sunday. It came five days after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced he was ending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. The post has since been deleted, remaining on the social media platform for at least 11 hours and accruing at least eight comments, 61 reposts and 218 likes.

On Monday afternoon, Sanders himself endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, making him the presumptive Democratic nominee to face Donald Trump in November. “We need you in the White House,” Sanders said to Biden in a live stream broadcast from the Biden campaign Monday. “I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse.”

When asked about the Twitter post, Jack Doughty ’22, a Brown Students for Bernie organizer, said that while “it was a process in which several people decided to have it posted,” the tweet was not an “official statement” from the student group. The tweet “is not as robust of a statement as we intend to have. It’s meant to fit into the greater discontent Bernie supporters are feeling,” Doughty said. The post follows the same general format as posts from similar Bernie student groups across the country and was inspired to show solidarity, Doughty added.

The tweet was intended to signal that the group is “disenchanted” and “unsatisfied with how Biden has conducted his campaign and what his campaign stands for,” Doughty said. However, the Brown Students for Bernie account has taken down the post to “revisit” the message’s language. The group hopes to eventually post a statement in the future with “more clear language that encourages people to see how we are thinking and possibly get involved themselves,” Doughty said. 

While Sanders has signaled his support for Biden, Sanders supporters on campus have been less than enthusiastic about Biden’s new role as the presumptive nominee. The topic has been discussed anonymously on Dear Blueno — a student-run Facebook page that solicits and posts anonymous submissions — with posts indicating that some students who formerly supported Bernie are considering not voting at all in the 2020 election or voting for Trump. 

Some of Sanders’ supporters have viewed his endorsement negatively, according to Doughty. “While today came as a little unexpected, a little sudden, it was going to happen,” Doughty said. “A lot of (Sanders) supporters are opposed to this decision.”

Ricky Zhong ’23, a member of Brown Students for Bernie, echoed Doughty in saying that while Bernie’s endorsement was a fulfillment of a campaign pledge to support the eventual Democratic nominee, many of his supporters are unlikely to be swayed by the announcement. “A lot of people support Bernie’s campaign, ideas and the movement he has built, but they do not support him endorsing Biden,” Zhong said.

Sanders supporters who are resistant to supporting the former Vice President think Biden has not done enough to court their vote. “Biden has … demonstrated in the last couple of days that he is not willing to do enough to win the support of Bernie supporters,” Doughty said. “Whether we are talking about rapid climate transformation with the Green New Deal, investing in a Universal Health Care program with Medicare for All, even down to workplace democracy — these are things that are severely lacking in Biden’s platforms.”

Zhong added that there is a difference between endorsing and agreeing to vote for a candidate, the former representing a more favorable reflection on the candidate. “Endorsing Biden is not going to help the progressive movement at all. Supporting him as individuals is one thing, voting for him is one thing, but endorsing a candidate is different than voting for a candidate.”

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  1. Reynolds Woodcock '13 says:

    The art of politics and successful governing & leading is rooted in the ability to compromise, something that is lost on both Bernie’s most strident supporters and virtually all Trump supporters.

  2. There is no progressive “future” if our deranged failed president gets another term and another Supreme Court Justice.

    Good luck ever having Medicare for All with Judge Jeanine on the bench.

    • I quite agree with you: if the compromise between Trump and Sanders is Biden, I’d rather take that than another 100 conservative judge placements & 2 more conservative judges on the supreme court, where Roe v Wade would inevitably be overturned ://

      • I kinda doubt Biden would be to the left of Trump on SCOTUS nominations. Biden is responsible for pushing through Clarence Thomas, who is actually to the right of Kavanaugh.

        • This is just plain false. Biden voted against Justice Thomas’s confirmation.

          Biden has promised to put a black woman on the Court. Biden will be a good president.

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