Bernie and Barack: it’s complicated

While Michael Bloomberg was having a difficult baptism of fire last night, I got interested in a story published by the magazine The Atlantic.

Despite the criticism he received after his eight years in office, Barack Obama is still today the most popular and respected figure in the Democratic world.

Since the primaries and caucuses began, the first black president has refused to support any of the candidates. However, Joe Biden served with him and Elizabeth Warren also answered his call. If he refuses to give his support when he is already stamping on the idea of ​​getting involved to defeat Donald Trump, it is quite obvious that he appreciates one of the candidates less: Bernie Sanders.

Obama’s reservations about Sanders have deep roots, according to the article by Edward-Isaac Dovere. The two men have had difficult relations since Obama’s election to the Senate in 2004. Even if the young senator’s speech at the Boston Democratic convention helped raise him to the rank of super-leader, the most progressive elements consider him like a disappointment, an empty shell.

Despite his doubts about the quality of his young colleague, Bernie Sanders wanted to take advantage of his aura, and he asked Obama to help him during his election campaign in 2006. Good prince, Barack Obama had accepted the invitation and sang the praise from Bernie, thus contributing to victory.

Despite Obama’s involvement and influence, Bernie refused to support him in 2008. The Atlantic reveals that Sanders had very seriously considered running against him. How serious is the senator from Vermont? To the point where heavyweights of the party, like Harry Reid, had to meet him several times before he abandoned his project.

If Sanders did not launch in 2008 or in 2012, he was nevertheless one of the rare democratic voices to criticize very openly Obama, to whom he criticized the lack of progressiveness of his policies. To which the first black president always replied that Sanders was not pragmatic enough, a criticism that Obama always makes behind closed doors.

If the confidences obtained by Edward-Isaac Dovere are proven, not only did Sanders always remain very critical of a popular and respected president, but he would sometimes have downright disrespected him, lecturing him during meetings between Obama and groups of democratic senators. Obama and Sanders have never been close and it is clear from their meetings that they have few hooks.

For Obama, Sanders is a radical who does not understand the realities of the political game. How can Bernie promise a revolution which the system in place will never allow to happen? We all know that to rule the United States requires mastering the workings of the system, mastering the art of compromise, and having strong allies in Congress. Despite his usual rants, even Donald Trump must sometimes submit to the will of leaders in the House or the Senate.

Once the caucus and primaries have finished, Bernie may be the standard bearer for the Democratic Party. If he’s already assured that Obama will join him on the warpath, it will be interesting to see how the two men can put their differences aside. There is at least one point on which they have mutual respect: their ability to galvanize the troops. Democrats will need it in September and October.

If you are interested in Dovere’s text, click here.

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