Saluting in Solidarity, No More: The American Federation of Teachers Endorses Joe Biden
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) released a statement on Wednesday evening, August 7, announcing it would support Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy in 2020. “At a time where a growing body of evidence suggests that both the President and Congress have failed miserably to address the challenges working people face, our nation faces a choice between two candidates who are not only deeply engaged on issues of equity, but who also support and embody the values of our union: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten in a press release. “We believe Joe Biden is the best choice for our nation in 2020.”
The statement also went on to call on the Democratic Party to unite and support the “radical social justice coalition” that Biden represents in the fight for progressive change: “A union member who voted for President Trump in 2016 said that Trump was wrong when he said ‘Democrats have given up on the blue-collar, white middle class. We’re going to get there again.’ We are now at a moment where we expect all Democrats to fully support and embrace Joe Biden’s commitment to defend the dignity of working people and fight for their dignity and worth.”
Despite these endorsements—and despite the fact that Biden and Sanders are rivals in the Democratic primary—the Sanders movement has not disavowed these endorsements from the union’s leadership. The same thing can be said for the AFL-CIO. The union still backs Sanders and his ideas, as does the Communist and Socialist Party.
On the other hand, the endorsement from the AFT is not like endorsements in the primary process. There is no chance that its support of a candidate will be revoked in the general election. Not to mention, if the union’s leaders believe that Biden deserves their support, why wouldn’t they give it and make things easier for the candidate to get more votes?
But for the Sanders movement, this endorsement