In a move that is strongly reminiscent of the 2016 campaign, a prominent staffer for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign is declaring unequivocally that that she is not endorsing or helping the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, and further is suggesting that the sexual assault allegations raised by Tara Reade may lead to Biden being replaced as the nominee at the Democratic convention.
In a Thursday interview with The Atlantic, former Sanders press secretary Briahna Joy Gray — who has been vocal on Twitter about her disagreement with her former boss about his Biden endorsement — explained that Biden has not done enough to win her vote, or the votes of many other progressive voters.
In explaining the reason for her decision, Gray told The Atlantic, "The point of my tweet was to say that it is frustrating for a lot of supporters of progressive politics to see leaders in our movement seemingly fall in line with establishment politics without extracting any concessions on issues like a wealth tax, free child care, and Medicare for All. If these are in fact existential issues, then we need to behave that way, and not stop fighting."
Gray's reticence toward Biden is sure to dredge up unpleasant memories of 2016 for many Democrats, many of whom blame Sanders' supporters' refusal to back Hillary Clinton in the general election for her defeat at the hands of Donald Trump.
Gray, like most Sanders supporters, rejects any blame for the failures of the Democratic Party, telling The Atlantic, "No matter what progressives do, we're going to get framed as somehow responsible for any negative outcome. Bernie Sanders was persistently asked, "Will you support the nominee?" He said yes, more vociferously than anyone else in the race. But he and his movement are still being held responsible for wanting Joe Biden to be a better nominee, or pointing out obvious flaws that might damage his candidacy."
Gray also hinted that Biden may not even end up being the nominee at the Democratic convention, noting in particular that the sexual assault allegations raised by Tara Reade against Biden haven't been thoroughly examined yet, and could present a problem.
"There's a lot of reasons why Democrats might want to substitute a different person for Joe Biden as the nominee. The Tara Reade allegation has been handled abysmally by the press. If anyone looks at this closely, then they will see reason for concern," according to Gray.
Gray ultimately concluded that she would vote for Biden, but only if he supports a laundry list of progressive policies, including "Medicare for All, canceling student-loan debt, canceling medical debt, having a wealth tax."