In just five months, Americans will have a chance to throw out of office the single most corrupt, incompetent and dangerous president in our country’s history.
For anyone with any doubt, the recent threats made against political opponents of the president, be it in Michigan, Kentucky or Washington, D.C.—threats he has encouraged—solidify the importance of this election.
And in just five months, Americans will have a chance to elect the single most qualified, effective and compassionate president in our country’s history.
Never have the differences between two candidates been clearer or more consequential.
That’s why, as passionate supporters of different candidates in the Democratic primary—Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden—we are writing this piece together. Now is the time for Democratic unity.
Throughout the primary, we both duked it out, fighting for our candidate and making our case in both the public square and behind the scenes. That is how democracy works.
This is something that we have both been doing for years on some of the most complicated issues confronting our country. One of us has made a name for himself fighting to end gun violence; the other by championing global peace and diplomacy. There is much we agree on and areas where we disagree as well.
But one thing united us throughout the primary season: our passion for social justice and our desire to return decency and civility to our White House.
That is something completely missing in the current occupant of the White House; and it is what unites us now in praise of Sanders and support of Biden.
Social justice is what Biden represents. A person of character who will govern with decency and civility is who Biden is.
For Biden, it means that he will fight hate and intolerance, unlike the current occupant of the White House, whose incitement and glorification of violence for his own personal political gain has now forced Twitter to condemn him. And it means that he will pursue racial justice and combat the systemic racism that has plagued our country since its founding.
It means that he will renew and expand upon the promise of the Affordable Care Act that has been gutted by Donald Trump and his right-wing sycophants who want to deny health care, which is a human right, to Americans.
It means that he will revive the shattered American economy, just as he did in 2009 alongside President Barack Obama after the last economic meltdown, by making it work for all Americans, not just the wealthy few.
It means that he will advocate for women’s rights and ensure that we have a Supreme Court that guarantees a woman’s right to choose, not one that prevents it.
It means that he will take on the NRA and the gun manufacturers who profit on the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans every year, restoring safety to our communities, homes and schools.
It means that he will fight climate change as if our future depended on it—because it does.
It means that he will protect immigrants and help them achieve the American dream, rather trample their rights and separate their families at the border.
It means that he will protect Social Security and fulfill our country’s commitment to our seniors, rather than raid it dry.
And it means that he will restore America’s standing in the world at a time when countries laugh at and mock our president in full public view, as was done at the United Nations.
But to do this, it means that, first, we Democrats have to unify behind our candidate. And we are.
It starts from the top, as Biden and Sanders have formed policy working groups to hash out the governing issues that will animate a Biden presidency. Sanders has endorsed the former vice president and there will be no question that, once these ideas are formally adopted in the Democratic Party platform, Biden will be championing the most progressive policy platform ever advanced by a major presidential nominee.
Supporters of both candidates should therefore take pride in what is happening.
This is a moment for celebration in the Democratic Party, not despair. This is a moment for optimism about what we can achieve with Biden in the White House.
Trump will be gone, and with him, the scarred landscape of more than 100,000 dead Americans and 40 million lost jobs because of his unfathomable mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis. And we will have a man in the Oval Office who has the capacity and empathy to heal our country from the loss of life, the destruction of our economy and the social injustice of the current president.
That is why now is the right time for Democratic unity. Our internal primary fight is long over. We now have something to fight for, alongside each other. We no longer oppose each other. Instead, we oppose the greater threat. Our unity is our strength, and it gives us purpose.
It’s crucial now to remind our Democratic peers about what will happen if Biden doesn’t win in November. We all remember the disastrous eight years of George Bush caused by Al Gore narrowly falling to him in the 2000 election. We know all too well what has happened in the past three and a half years after Trump won only 46 percent of the popular vote in 2016. We Democrats were not unified in either of those two elections, and it can happen again if we’re not careful.
If we get four more years of Trump, there’s no telling just how bad it can become. Imagine a Trump unencumbered by re-election constraints; it would make the last few years look easy. It’s not an overstatement to say that our democracy and the freedoms we take for granted are at their greatest risk this November. We cannot afford to fail.
As two people who supported two different Democratic candidates for president during the presidential primaries, we can both say without hesitation that now is the time for us Democrats to join forces to take our country back from the nightmare of the past few years.
Biden is our leader in this effort and putting him in the White House will provide sweet social justice for us all.
Fred Guttenberg is the founder of Orange Ribbons for Gun Safety, a gun control activist and a Joe Biden for President national surrogate.
Joel Rubin is the former Jewish Outreach Director for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, a peace and diplomacy advocate and a former senior U.S. State Department official.
The views expressed in this article are the authors’ own.