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Symone Sanders Worked for Bernie in 2016. How’d She End Up on Team Biden?

In 2018 we did see this explosion of activism and the elevation of these new voices in government and even in the media. And you, in some ways, were part of that. And I think I’m correct to assume you’re broadly supportive of those forces and the way they’ve coalesced. And I know you know that the former vice president is not a 29-year-old upstart anymore, and he has been doing this a long time.

Well, I hope he’s not the same person at 29 that he is now. I don’t want to be the same person that I am now all those years later.

Sure. But, there are valid questions about whether he’s the right person to represent the particular coalition that came together. Why is he, with his long history, the person who can and should sit atop that new coalition that has been built from the grassroots up?

So, the voters are going to have to decide. It’s up to the American people whether or not vice president Biden will be the Democratic nominee, will be the next president of the United States of America. All he can do is go out there on the campaign trail and make his case to the American people. And I’d like to remind everyone, we’ve been in this race for just about a month. It feels like years, but it’s only been a month. We did our official kickoff rally last weekend, and he is ready to make his case. Now, who’s to say [the next nominee] won’t be a woman? It won’t be a person of color? It won’t be an LGBTQ+ individual? We don’t know, but I can say that I think Joe Biden has just as much right as anybody else to put his name in the hat to run for president of the United States of America.

We do still live in a democracy, however fraught that may be.

However fraught that may be. And I just want to say one other thing about 2018. I believe the vice president went out and campaigned for over 55 different folks on the ballot in 2018. He was the most sought-after national surrogate. In places from Florida to Wisconsin to Ohio to Pennsylvania to Michigan. He campaigned for Andrew Gillum. He campaigned for folks in Milwaukee. He campaigned for my friend, Mandela Barnes, who is now the lieutenant governor of Wisconsin. He campaigned everywhere. So again, I think it takes an intergenerational, intersectional coalition to get this work done. And the idea that Joe Biden quote-unquote has no business in this race, I just think it runs in direct contrast of who we say we want to be as Americans, but especially as Democrats.

He certainly did turn out for a lot of people. He also praised a Republican, Fred Upton, in Michigan, who went on to win his race [against a Democrat]. His particular brand of working across the aisle, or working with Republicans—can he continue to do that when he’s also trying to represent people who feel their rights are under threat?

Well, I can’t tell you about these other candidates, I can only tell you about Joe Biden. What I can say about Joe Biden is that he has been very clear-eyed that there are some things we’re going to have to do bare-knuckled and then there are some things we’re going to have to work across the aisle with our friends on. So again, I can’t talk to you about any other candidates, but I can tell you what Joe Biden believes. And I’m very comfortable with that belief system and I’m happy to be here. But do we always agree? No. I haven’t always agreed with everyone I’ve worked for. But when I tuck myself in bed at night and take off these eyelashes, I know that I am working to make America a better place and that the candidate that I decided to sign up for would drastically change the lives of people in this country. If I didn’t feel secure in that, I wouldn’t be here.

On the Supreme Court now, we have Clarence Thomas. We’ve got Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who took the bench after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford took the stand. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen these bans on abortion and we know Roe v. Wade is under threat, and it’s headed for the Supreme Court. I think for a lot of women, it’s a really scary, scary time.

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