Presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden debuted a series of “unity” guidelines, authored with the help of a Joe Biden-Bernie Sanders “unity task force,” and while a number of the Vermont socialist’s most progressive policies aren’t listed among the “compromise” positions, a great deal of the guidance pulls directly from Sanders’ agenda.
The “unity” plan is designed to prevent clashes between Biden supporters and Sanders supporters during the Democratic National Convention’s policy platform sessions, and the task force is charged with making recommendations directly to the DNC to avoid conflicts between moderates and progressives, per the New York Post.
Sen. Bernie Sanders backed the proposal in a statement issued Wednesday.
“While Joe Biden and I, and our supporters, have strong disagreements about some of the most important issues facing our country, we also understand that we must come together in order to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history,” he said. “Though the end result is not what I or my supporters would have written alone, the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country.”
But there’s very little from Sanders’ agenda left off the unity guidelines, aside from his “Medicare for All” plan, which would have required Biden, one of the primary backers of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, to abrogate his support for his former boss’s signature achievement.
The guidelines do not include support for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” but the missive is just the first of many and touches only briefly on environmental issues. The guidelines do recommend that Democrats “commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035 through technology-neutral standards for clean energy and energy efficiency.”
A primary focus of the first set of “unity guidelines,” however, is education — and for that, they pull extensively from Sanders’ own platform. In fact, the guidelines destroy nearly all competition for public schools.
“The plan bans for-profit private charter schools, opposes private school vouchers, and any policies that would take taxpayer-funded resources away from the public school system,” the plan notes. “The platform aims to put an end to the school-to-prison pipeline and pledges ‘adequate resources for hiring guidance counselors, social workers, and school psychologists.
The plan also calls for “the reinstatement of Title IX protections for transgender students and protections for LGBT students from discrimination,” per ABC News.
On criminal justice reform, they guidelines pull directly from Sanders’ policy sheet, recommending a “civilian corps” of non-police first responders who can handle 911 calls instead of police, according to Republican strategist Steve Guest.
Today, Joe Biden’s unity task force released recommendations for the DNC platform that crib straight from Bernie Sanders’ radical agenda.
We found multiple instances of word-for-word copying from Bernie.
Biden’s Criminal Justice Unity Task force copied Bernie. pic.twitter.com/jPU3BWw3tw
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) July 8, 2020
The guidelines also crib generously from Sanders’ social security policy.
As Guest notes, the “unity” policy does seem to make one thing clear: Democrats are concerned that progressives will defect from the party and refuse to support Biden as the nominee, even though the specter of President Donald Trump’s re-election looms large. That concern largely makes Sanders — not Biden — the controlling force in the 2020 election and, if Biden wins, could lead to a much more progressive administration than previously predicted.