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Joe Biden
Alex Brandon/AP

‘Uncommitted’-Backing Bernieworld: The Primary Is Over, Time to Vote for Biden

Three leading progressive groups are plotting a strategy to push the Democratic Party platform while calling on the left to rally around the president.

Prominent national progressive groups that have spent months boosting the “uncommitted” movement in presidential primaries are now urging support for an inside-the-tent strategy to influence the Democratic Party’s platform for a second Biden administration.

Leaders of those groups are now expressly calling on lefties to support the reelection of President Joe Biden, calling it the “best strategy” to “preserve and amplify our voice while fighting the most dangerous threat to U.S. democracy in our nation’s history.”

It’s an important data point for Democrats scrambling to answer a burning question ahead of November: Will livid progressives who turned out to cast a vote against Biden in battleground primaries help to hand former President Donald Trump a win?

They shouldn’t, leaders from Our Revolution and Progressive Democrats of America — two groups directly related to the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party — told NOTUS this week. Both groups have publicly supported the “uncommitted” campaign, which aimed to show Biden could lose important swing states if White House policy toward Israel did not change.

Now, along with a third group, the State Democratic Party Progressive Network, they’re calling on progressives to push the party left in the years after Biden is elected. In a seven-page list of platform proposals released Monday, the groups called on progressives to push the mainstream Democratic Party in the way they did following the 2020 primaries when Sanders and Biden worked out a plan to craft a unity party platform.

“For all intents and purposes, the primaries are over, right?” said Paco Fabian, deputy director of Our Revolution. “There’s a lack of energy for the presumptive Democratic nominee. We need to find ways in particular to get progressives excited about voting for Biden. And one of the things we think that can do that is advocating for progressive positions.”

The groups differed slightly on what they planned to do next. Alan Minsky, executive director of PDA, said his group would not endorse Biden (adding that it almost never formally endorses) but is prepared to help him win.

“We will work nonstop to defeat Trump,” he said. “In fact, I think the fact that we don’t endorse formally makes us even more efficient at working to defeat Donald Trump when we speak to progressives.”

Fabian said Our Revolution is “not there yet” when it comes to spending resources to help Biden, saying the president needed to make policy shifts before getting official help.

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But both groups signed onto the plan that says Biden is running against “a fascist takeover” and that electing him is a progressive goal in 2024, if only as a means of pushing out more moderate Democrats down the road. The plan calls on progressives to fight for delegate seats at their state and national conventions and push for a more progressive party. The platform ideas include calling on Biden to “move towards” “Medicare for all,” higher taxes on the rich and free college. It also urges shifts in U.S. policy in Israel, including conditioning aid and reinstating the goal of a two-state solution.

But it doesn’t call any of those a litmus test for progressive support for Biden. Trump’s election would be too detrimental to progressivism, leaders say, for progressives not to support Biden’s reelection.

When asked if the progressive plan was telling an angry “uncommitted” voter in, say, Wisconsin that it was time to come home to Biden, Minsky said, “It does. It does, and I stand by that.”

But Minsky said that the politics behind the movement, which elements of his group continue to support ahead of the New Mexico primary, could make that choice hard for some people.

“I do carve out a space, just because of the human heart, to fully respect people who have had a direct human impact on the tragedy and the avoidable human tragedy that is Gaza and Israel,” he said. “But for everyone else, as horrible as that has been, defeating Donald Trump is essential to the maintenance of the society that we want to build here, and we need to build here in the United States.”

Minsky sees the moment as an existential one, whether to preserve democracy or not. After Trump is defeated, he said, progressives have a job to do.

“The minute he is declared the winner, the day after, the debate begins about the direction of the Democratic Party,” he said.

These progressive groups command a large following but, of course, do not speak for all progressive voters. The Biden campaign has said it is working hard to shore up lost supporters and to rebuild its winning 2020 coalition.

Fabian warned that the case still needs to be made, even if organized progressive groups like his are ready to say Biden should stay in the job he has.

“We recognize the threat of Trump, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “But you know, we can say, ‘Yes, vote for Biden,’ you know, we can shout it from the rooftops, but people are really going to want to see a reason to vote for Biden.”

Evan McMorris-Santoro is a reporter at NOTUS.