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An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
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Elliot Benjamin is a philosopher, mathematician, musician, counselor, writer, with Ph.Ds in mathematics and psychology and the author of over 230 published articles in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, pure mathematics, mathematics education, spirituality & the awareness of cult dangers, art & mental disturbance, and progressive politics. He has also written a number of self-published books, such as: The Creative Artist, Mental Disturbance, and Mental Health. See also: www.benjamin-philosopher.com.
An Integrative Miracle
Sanders Working With Biden To Defeat Trump
Thus I see this event of the joining of forces between Biden and Sanders for the goal of defeating Trump in November to be a very significant effect.
I have utilized the term “integrative” in a number of my Integral World essays to refer to bringing together “diverse contrary views for the purpose of finding common ground on one particular issue” . As in my previous Integral World essays, once again the particular issue I am seeking common ground on is beating Trump in November, 2020, and the diverse contrary views I am referring to run the gamut from Democratic progressives to moderates, and also include Independents and moderate Republicans . In regard to the term “miracle,” I am utilizing one of the definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “an unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.” And with these definitions I contend that the recent set of events that have witnessed Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and even a number of Republicans endorsing Joe Biden with the goal of defeating Trump in November, 2020  is worthy of the term “integrative miracle.”
Virtually all of the major Democratic presidential contenders have now endorsed Joe Biden: Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Bloomberg, Harris, Klobuchar, O'Rourke, Booker, Gabbard, Steyer, etc., as well as a number of Never Trump Republicans . But what I find to be by far the most impactful and impressive of these endorsements is the recent one by Bernie Sanders . And I don't want to lose sight of how monumental this endorsement by Sanders is, as can be seen from the following excerpt from an article written about a week before Sanders dropped out of the race :
“I voted for Bernie in the 2016 Virginia primary. Then, by early May of that year, it was clear that Hillary had won the Democratic nomination. I expected that Bernie would pivot from that contest to do all he could to rally everyone he could behind the nominee in order to prevent Donald Trump from becoming President (which he had then, as now, declared to be of utmost importance). He didn't. Instead, he continued his battle against the person whom the party had chosen to be its standard bearer. And in the fall, Trump's victorynarrow but no less disastrousplunged the nation into a grotesque and continuing nightmare. One would have thought that Bernie Sanders would have learned something from that terrible scenario. But. . . Bernie has declared that he's staying in the race. The situation is essentially the same. . . .
Well less than 2 weeks after this article was written, not only did Bernie drop out of the race but he genuinely and even enthusiastically endorsed Biden . In fact, he actually even went further than this, as he criticized his supporters who won't support Biden as being “irresponsible” :
“He railed against the Republican president but also offered pointed criticism at his own supporters who have so far resisted his vow to do whatever it takes to help Biden win the presidency. . . . I believe that it's irresponsible for anybody to say, 'Well, I disagree with Joe BidenI disagree with Joe Biden!--and therefore I'm not going to be involved.'”
Although I think Sanders did the responsible and honorable thing in endorsing Biden in a genuine way and that this will help at least somewhat in the goal of beating Trump in November, there is certainly a lack of enthusiasm for Biden from nearly all of Sanders' supporters, as well as a backlash against Sanders from some of them :
“In interviews with two dozen Sanders primary voters across the country this week, there was a nearly universal lack of enthusiasm for Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Some called him a less formidable candidate than Hillary Clinton was in 2016. Many were skeptical of his ability to beat Mr. Trump. Others were quick to critique Mr. Biden's sometimes incoherent speech. Taken together, the voters' doubts raised questions about how many would show up for Mr. Biden in November, including their likelihood to volunteer and organize for him, an important measure of enthusiasm. In a poll last month, four out of five Sanders supporters said they would vote for Mr. Biden, with 15 percent saying they would cross over to Mr. Trump, about the same share that did so in 2016. . . .
And here is a flavor of the feelings of some of these Sanders supporters who are now disappointed and/or angry at Sanders and so turned off to Biden that they will most likely either vote for the Green party, not vote, or even vote for Trump , :
“What it feels like is the Democratic Party relies on guilting progressives into voting for them, and they don't want to have any meaningful changes. . . . For the third election in a row, to have a candidate you're not excited about makes me a little more interested in voting third party.”
“I know the media will never understand this but this moment right now, with Bernie trashing his own supporters is exactly why he lost. He was more committed to maintaining power for Dems than claiming it for his own movement.”
“Watching the man I respected tell me I'm selfish as a veteran and rape victim to not fall in line and vote for a war criminal rapist is one of the most painful things I've felt in politics.”
I fully understand that the 15 to 20 percent of Sanders supporters who say they won't vote for Biden are very unlikely to change their minds, though it is beyond my capacity to understand how anyone professing to be a progressive could have any thought whatsoever about voting for Trump, much less actually doing so. However, apparently there are some Sanders supporters who do not think that Trump is as repugnant and destructive as I have repeatedly conveyed in my Integral World Trump essays . But I am glad to see that Bernie's chief progressive advocate, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), said that when it comes down to it she will vote for Biden, and it is not inconceivable that perhaps she would even endorse Biden, though I think this is unlikely as it would necessitate Biden moving further into progressive territory than I think he is willing to, or even capable of, moving . And if it somehow happens that AOC actually endorses Biden, then I think there would be a similar backlash against AOC from some of her supporters as there has been against Bernie from some of his supporters.
At any rate I most definitely think that not only has Sanders done the responsible thing here in endorsing Biden, but that he has done so in a way that can have a beneficial effect on inducing Biden to make his platform as progressive as he is capable of making it. In the 35 minute video conversation between Biden and Sanders in which Sanders conveyed his endorsement, Biden and Sanders agreed to form six joint task force committees covering the areas of the economy, education, criminal justice, immigration, climate, change, and healthcare, “to bridge any gaps between the two wings of the Democratic Party” .
Thus I see this event of the joining of forces between Biden and Sanders for the goal of defeating Trump in November to be a very significant effect; actually I see it as more than a very significant effectI see it as an integrative miracle.
Notes and References
1) See in particular Elliot Benjamin (2020), “Sanders vs. Biden et al. from an Integrative Beating Trump Perspective.” www.integralworld.net
2) See Dan K. (2020), “Republicans Endorse Biden.”, www.dailykos.com, April 15, 2020
3) See Laurence Lewis (2020), “Bernie Endorses Biden!” www.dailykos.com, April 13, 2020
4) See Andy Schmookler (2020), “Something Wrong with Bernie Sanders.”, www.dailykos.com, March 30, 2020
5) See the 35 minute video conversation between Biden and Sanders in which Sanders endorsed Biden :
6) See Lefty Coaster (2020), “Bernie: 'It's Irresponsible for Anybody to Say,-I'm Not Going To Be Involved.' (in Backing Biden).”, www.dailykos.com, April 15, 2020
7) See Trip Gabriel (2020), “Vote for Biden? Sanders supporters Say It's 'Up in the Air', www.nytimes.com, April 18, 2020
8) See the Twitter comment page of Krystal Ball
9) See my various Integral World Trump essays at www.integralworld.net