Bernie Sanders urges left to back Biden to stop ‘very dangerous’ Trump | Bernie Sanders

Progressive US voters must unite behind Joe Biden rather than consider any of his Democratic primary challengers because the threat of another Donald Trump presidency is too great, Bernie Sanders has said.

“We’re taking on the … former president, who, in fact, does not believe in democracy – he is an authoritarian, and a very, very dangerous person,” the senator and Vermont independent, who caucuses with Democrats, said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I think at this moment there has to be unification of progressive people in general in all of this country.”

Sanders’ remarks came as Trump continued grappling with more than 90 criminal charges across four separate indictments filed against him for his efforts to forcibly nullify his defeat to Biden in the 2020 presidential race, his illicit retention of classified documents, and hush-money payments to porn actor Stormy Daniels.

Despite the unprecedented legal peril confronting him, Trump enjoys a commanding lead over his competitors in the Republican presidential primary, polls show.

And though polling for now shows Biden generally is ahead of Trump, that has not stopped Robert F Kennedy Jr and Marianne Williamson from mounting long-shot Democratic primary challenges – or third-party progressive candidate Cornel West from running.

Sanders himself was the runner-up for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 White House race won by Trump and in 2020, with West among his supporters. But Sanders this time quickly endorsed Biden’s re-election campaign, a decision which prompted West to accuse him of only backing Biden because he is “fearful of the neo-fascism of Trump”.

The senator responded to that criticism on Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, saying, “Where I disagree with my good friend Cornel West is – I think, in these really very difficult times, there is a real question whether democracy is going to remain in the United States of America.

“You know, Donald Trump is not somebody who believes in democracy, whether women are going to be able to continue to control their own bodies, whether we have social justice in America, [whether] we end bigotry.”

Sanders didn’t elaborate, but his remarks seemed to be an allusion to the Trump White House’s creation of the US supreme court supermajority, which last year struck down the federal abortion rights that the Roe v Wade decision had established decades earlier.

That court also struck down race-conscious admissions in higher education as well as a Colorado law that required entities to afford same-sex couples equal treatment, among other decisions lamented by progressives.

“Around that, I think we have got to bring the entire progressive community to defeat Trump – or whoever the Republican nominee will be – [and] support Biden,” Sanders added on State of the Union.

Sanders nonetheless said he planned to push Biden to tackle “corporate greed and the massive levels of income and wealth inequality” across the US. On Meet the Press, he suggested he would urge Biden to “take on the billionaire class”.

Those comments came about four months after Sanders called on the US government to confiscate 100% of any money that Americans make above $999m, saying people with that much wealth “can survive just fine” without becoming billionaires.

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