Former top officials in Bernie Sanders campaign form super PAC to back Joe Biden

Former top officials and staff members in Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign announced Tuesday that they are launching a new super PAC, “Future to Believe In,” to direct resources to electing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Specifically, the new political action committee is aimed at winning “young voters of all races, very liberal voters, blue collar progressives, and Latino voters” to the Biden campaign.

Leading the effort is Jeff Weaver, who served as Sanders’ campaign manager in 2016 and as a top adviser in 2020. Other top Sanders officials involved in the endeavor include Chuck Rocha, a senior adviser for “Latino outreach,” Tim Tagaris, who oversaw digital strategy and fund-raising, and Shelli Jackson, a California strategist for the campaign.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden during Democratic primary debate in South Carolina [Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky]

The PAC is not officially associated with Sanders or his campaign. However, the indirect connection could hardly be more overt. The name of the PAC, “Future to Believe In” is a long-standing slogan of the Sanders campaign and is cribbed from the title of Sanders’ 2016 book Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.

Official association with the PAC would be damaging to whatever remains of Sanders’ progressive image. For years one of Sanders’ major campaign talking points has been opposition to super PACs, which can accept unlimited donations for candidates. But Sanders has been silent on the creation of the “Future to Believe In” PAC, declining to comment to the bourgeois press.

In an interview on Tuesday, Weaver said that Sanders is “not supportive of super PACs” and is “not supportive of this super PAC.” He added that Sanders “would prefer we had not done it through a super PAC.” In other words, Sanders is fine with pulling out all the stops for the Biden campaign, however he would prefer that the effort be carried out in a manner that does not so blatantly expose him and his campaign for the fraud that they are.

The formation of the super PAC is revealing, though not surprising. The move further confirms the analysis made by the World Socialist Web Site at the outset of the first Sanders presidential bid in 2015, that his campaign was aimed at channeling the leftward movement of workers and youth back behind the Democratic Party.

Sanders’ aides, who are for the most part long-time Democratic Party operatives, are now utilizing the Sanders machine to help fund the Biden campaign under the “left” cover of the Sanders campaign name.

For his part, Sanders has spent the three weeks since formally ending his campaign dragooning his supporters into voting for Biden. This included an interview with the Associated Press in which he slandered as “irresponsible” any of his supporters who did not themselves campaign for Biden.

To justify support for Biden, the Sanders campaign and the various organizations in its orbit have echoed the usual Democratic Party electoral platitudes: that one must vote for Biden because he is the “lesser of two evils,” and that Sanders’ role in supporting Biden is to “push him to the left.”

Explaining the move to form the PAC, Weaver said he felt it was the “most efficient” way for the Sanders movement to “lock in some of the gains progressives have made” by electing Biden and ousting President Trump. He went on to say that Sanders’ “success” in elevating “progressive issues” in the national conversation won’t mean anything “if we don’t elect the candidates we have pushed, and continue to push, to be more progressive.”

Since ending his campaign, however, Sanders has not issued a single demand to the Biden campaign and did not make a single criticism of him in his official endorsement. In fact, the two campaigns have recently come to a friendly agreement that will allow Sanders to keep hundreds of delegates to the Democratic National Convention this summer. The friendly relationship is just the latest move aimed at promoting Democratic Party “unity.”

A memo released jointly by the campaigns underscores the amiable relationship. It states: “Our campaigns are grateful for the unity and spirit of collaboration within the Democratic Party as we look to defeat Donald Trump and establish a government by and for the American people.”

The illusion that Biden, and more fundamentally the Democratic Party as a whole, can be “pressured” to the left is belied by the facts. In virtually every election cycle, the end result of such arguments is the nomination of the most right-wing of the major contestants for the Democratic nomination. The 2020 election is no exception.

Biden, who repeatedly attacked Sanders during the primaries for his “extreme” position on health care, complaining that Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal would cost trillions of dollars, has given every indication that he intends to run a conservative campaign, and, if elected, head up a right-wing “national unity” administration.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden has declared his full support for the “back to work” drive, publishing an op-ed piece in the New York Times last month under the headline “My Plan to Safely Reopen America.” Along with the entire Democratic Party, including Sanders, he has backed the massive bailout of corporations and Wall Street, which far surpasses what was done in the 2008 crisis.

On foreign policy, his campaign recently ran a series of campaign advertisements attacking Trump for being too soft on China.

On Thursday, Biden’s campaign announced the co-chairs of its vice presidential selection committee. All of those named are conventional establishment Democrats. There are no sops to the so-called “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party. The committee includes right-wing figures such as former Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Cynthia C. Hogan, a former White House and Senate counsel to Biden.

Biden has said he might announce cabinet positions prior to the election in November. Raising the possibility of a “bipartisan cabinet,” he told donors Wednesday that he would not place “any limitation on if someone were a Republican, if they’re the best qualified person.”

Such is the outcome of Sanders’ mythical “political revolution.”

The argument that the Democratic Party can be reformed ignores the history and class character of this party—the oldest existing capitalist party in the world. It ignores in particular the fact that the Democratic Party’s policies of austerity and war, embodied in its 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, resulted in the election of Trump in first place.

During two full terms in office, Barack Obama, with none other than Joe Biden at his side, presided over unending war, a historic transfer of wealth to the ruling class, and the continued erosion of the living standards of the vast majority of the population. All this from a president who campaigned on the slogan of “hope and change.”

Many workers and youth are once again disgusted by the “options” presented to them in the 2020 election—a choice between Trump and Biden, or some other reactionary Democrat. Millions who had supported Sanders because they were looking for a radical change are disgusted with the role that he is playing, all the more so under conditions where the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the rot of capitalism and the unbridgeable chasm that separates the interests of the working class—the vast majority of the population—and those of the corporate-financial aristocracy.

It is critical that youth and workers draw the necessary conclusions from these experiences.

Sanders is not the spokesman of the political radicalization of workers and youth and the growing opposition to capitalism. His role is and has always been to contain this opposition within the framework of capitalist politics.

Not a single step forward can be taken in the struggle against capitalism and the fight to defend jobs, living standards and democratic rights without establishing the political independence of the working class from all the corporate-controlled parties.

This is the perspective for which the Socialist Equality Party and is candidates for president and vice president—Joseph Kishore and Norissa Santa Cruz--are fighting in the 2020 elections. We call on all workers and young people to join this campaign and support this fight.

To support and get involved in the SEP election campaign, visit socialism2020.org.