Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the runner-up in the last two Democratic presidential primaries, is reportedly vying for a cabinet position should Democratic nominee Joe Biden be elected President of the United States in the upcoming election.
Politico, citing “two people familiar with the conversations,” reports that the self-described democratic socialist has expressed interest in heading the Department of Labor, which oversees the enforcement and administration of the country’s labor laws.
One person “familiar with the process” told Politico that Sanders has already reached out to members of the Biden campaign’s transition team, which would be responsible for planning the transfer of power from Trump to Biden should the Democrats win.
“I can confirm he’s trying to figure out how to land that role or something like it,” a person close to Sanders told the news agency. “He, personally, does have an interest in it.”
Asked for comment, Sanders declined to tell Politico whether he is lobbying or not lobbying for a position in a potential Biden administration.
While Sanders and Biden are typically viewed as occupying different spaces on the ideological spectrum, the two recently made common cause by creating a “Unity” task-force designed to push the Democratic platform further to the Left.
The platform called for the creation of a federally funded “civilian corps of unarmed first responders” to handle 911 calls deemed nonviolent, the enactment of free public college for 80% of American families, forgiveness of federal student loan debt after 20 years, and a promise to never “cut, privatize, or weaken” social security, to name a few topics.
Despite working on this “Unity” platform, Biden has tried to distance himself from Sanders, such as when he talked about beating a socialist in an NBC News town hall.
“Look, I’m the guy that ran against a socialist,” Biden said earlier this month. “Remember, I got in trouble with the whole campaign, 20-something candidates? Joe Biden was too centrist, too moderate, too straightforward. That was Joe Biden.”
Earlier this year, following the release of the “Unity” platform, Vice President Mike Pence warned about the effects of opting for the “Biden-Sanders” agenda in a speech to Ripon College, in Ripon, Wisconsin, where the Republican Party was founded in 1854.
“The Biden-Sanders agenda would set America on the path of socialism and decline,” said Pence. “And as our nation endures this time of testing, we’d do well to tell our neighbors and friends that it’s also a time for choosing.”
A person who spoke to Politico, and is close to Sanders, believes the Vermont senator “really does believe Biden wants to be a Roosevelt-like president.” The person also suggested that, should this turn out to be the case, Sanders would then have an outlet for achieving and actually implementing some of his closely held policy goals.