Though Bernie Sanders was defeated twice in his Democratic presidential candidacies, he has achieved a level of political power second only to presidents. “The successful adoption of a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package, more than twice the size and scope of the 2009 stimulus package, is a triumph not only for President Joe Biden, but also for Sanders. The size of the bill and its ambitious focus on reducing poverty bear its unmistakable stamp. Far from fading from defeat, Sanders has followed the path of the late Ted Kennedy, whose failed presidential bid boosted the national presence that made him a rostrum in the Senate.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton said about Sanders: “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he hasn’t done anything. He was a career politician. It’s all nonsense and I feel so bad that people got drawn into it. “When asked about that statement in 2020, Clinton confirmed that she still believed it was true. This is the standard centrist line at Sanders: He’s a truculent spoiler with negligible performances.
Clinton’s view has always been unfair, as Sanders has demonstrated throughout his career an ability to combine progressive advocacy with regulatory arrangements when he worked with the late John McCain to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs.
But the stimulus plan undeniably shows that Sanders is both a seasoned MP as well as one of the most consistent ideological politicians in modern America. As the stimulus package moved through Congress, Sanders played a brilliant game of keeping the party’s progressive wing together while pushing the Biden administration to be as expansionary as possible. There were, of course, disappointments such as the abolition of the minimum wage increase. But even this proposal was not finally rejected by the Democrats, only submitted for one more day.
As the Los Angeles times observed“The longtime outsider, who irritates Democratic and Republican institutions and is the belligerent fly, is proving wise to play the inside game from his powerful new seat on the Senate Budget Committee. His fingerprints are all over the historic $ 1.9 trillion aid package that President Biden signed last week. ”
The paper draws attention to the way in which Sanders served as the fulcrum for the Democrats: “Sanders has been artfully steering a high-stakes, high-wire act for the past few weeks to calm troubled progressives, the more wanted, and fend off fearful moderates who wanted to. The price of the bill was lowered and the White House’s confidence in Biden was maintained at all times. “
Write in PoliticoSam Stein make the revisionist case that Sanders is more powerful than even West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. As the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, Manchin has negative veto power, which enables him to cut politics on the margins. But in terms of actual policy making, Sanders is at the forefront.