Even when Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race last week, it appeared he was planning to wait until the Democratic National Convention before formally endorsing Joe Biden.
Then yesterday, Bernie suddenly hopped on a live stream with Biden and endorsed him on the spot. Bernie cited the pandemic in general, and Donald Trump’s threats against Dr. Fauci in particular, as reasons why he didn’t want to wait any longer. But there’s something else in this for Bernie.
Bernie Sanders publicly stated several weeks ago that he didn’t see a Biden-Sanders ticket happening, because two old guys weren’t going to fly. He’s right. When you have a seventy-seven year old nominee, you don’t give him a seventy-nine year old running mate who’s coming off a heart attack. Biden has already firmly committed to a woman as his running mate anyway. We don’t see Bernie being interested in a cabinet post either; having to run an entire agency doesn’t seem like his style.
But Bernie Sanders is currently the ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee. If Joe Biden wins by a large margin, it could carry the Democrats to a majority in the Senate. In such case, Bernie would by default become the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. This would put him in a position of power when it comes to all the financial reform he spends so much time talking about. He could hold any hearings and investigations he wants. He’d be writing his own ticket.
Of course this only happens for Bernie Sanders if the Democrats manage to gain four seats in the Senate – a tall task even if 2020 is another blue wave. The best shot at flipping the Senate is if Joe Biden wins by a large margin and carries the Senate with him. By getting behind Biden and unifying the party now, instead of waiting until the convention, Bernie may be able to help Biden run up the score. If Bernie gets just happens to land the committee chairmanship he’s always wanted in the process, more power to him.