Washington – Joe Biden and his main rival in the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders, launched a joint initiative on Wednesday to promote the unity of that party based on a consensus around six priority issues.
They formed a team charged with generating that consensus in which Alexandria Ocasio Cortez could play a prominent role, who will work in the group that will deal with climate change and appears as a possible mediator between the progressives who supported Sanders and the centrists who supported Biden.
Six commissions of eight members each were formed that will focus on health, immigration, education, criminal justice reform, climate change and the economy, which has suffered a setback due to the paralysis of activities caused by the coronavirus .RELATED
Throughout the Biden and Sanders primaries, they expressed differences around a number of issues, especially regarding the idea that a government-run system should replace private health insurance. Biden is reluctant to accept Sanders’ “Medicare for all” proposal, as the senator’s unique health insurance is called. Medicare is retiree health insurance, which Sanders wants to expand.
Biden’s proposal in this area combines a public option and also private ones.
The former vice president, who is virtually assured of the nomination, has made some concessions and adopted policies that promote the liberal sector of the Democratic Party, aware that he needs those votes to reach the presidency. For example, he agreed to broaden the criteria for Medicare, cancel the student debts of millions of people and reform the system that governs bankruptcies, all these initiatives that favor Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, another exponent of the liberal wing of the party.
“Party unity is vital in defeating Donald Trump in November and pulling the country out of an unprecedented crisis,” Biden said in a statement. “The work of these commissions will be essential to identify ways to encourage our progress and not simply go back to the days before Donald Trump, but transform our country.”
Whatever differences they may have, Sanders argues that everything must be done to get Biden to defeat Trump and has urged his supporters to support the former vice president, something that many progressives are reluctant to do.
Ocasio Cortez will co-chair the climate commission along with former Secretary of State John Kerry, who supported Biden in the primaries. The commission that will deal with the economy will be chaired by representative Karen Bass and by Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, who gained notoriety defending labor rights during the pandemic.
California Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard co-chairs the immigration commission.
Representative Bobby Scott is co-chair of the commission on criminal justice, which includes Eric Holder, who was secretary of justice under the Barack Obama administration. Representative Marcia Fudge is on the education commission, and her colleague Pramila Jayapal and former director of public health Vivek Murthy are part of the health commission.
Some former Sanders collaborators, for their part, formed a separate group to promote Biden’s candidacy and progressive proposals, always with the aim of fostering party unity.
Sanders issued his own statement announcing the creation of these commissions, in which he said the goal is to promote the interests of the working class and a “fairer society” in the midst of the pandemic.
The Democratic Party must stand up to powerful special interests and fight for economic, social, racial and environmental justice. I’m pleased that strong progressive leaders will work with the Biden campaign to unify our party in a transformational and progressive direction. pic.twitter.com/SwcTl9kd6s
– Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 13, 2020
“The Democratic Party must think and act boldly, and fight to change the direction of the country,” said Sanders. “I commend Joe Biden for working with my campaign to form a group of great thinkers and activists who can and will unify our party, for transformative and progressive purposes.”