From left, Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, former Vice President Joe Biden, talks before a Democratic presidential primary debate, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C. Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

I’ve been a Bernie Sanders supporter. I disagree strongly with Joe Biden on a number of his significant decisions. But, I have two reasons for now supporting Biden.

The first reason is a would-be dictator named Donald Trump. He is the definitive reason to support Biden. Trump’s coronavirus response (incompetence, lies) is reason enough to remove Trump from office. Trump is a threat to our very lives.

The other reason is Biden, whose interpersonal compassion is real. The suffering in Biden’s life? Real. He has flaws, but he is a decent human being who actually cares about what happens to other human beings.

A former Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Biden instinctively talks to experts, and includes Congress before making decisions. Unlike Trump, Biden won’t attack our national security professionals and civil servants.

Biden has lived his entire life in the world of rational policy debate, open discussion, mutual consultation. Foreign policy is rarely discussed in campaigns, but Biden with military power will be a much safer world than careening around the planet with Trump bellowing from atop of the world’s most powerful military.

Biden is a rational player, a collaborative decision-maker. I mean that as a compliment.

Do I get frustrated by the obvious lie that, somehow, America is the only developed nation that can’t afford the health care, minimum wages, low-cost education and child care that almost all other developed nations enjoy? Yes. Sanders was our great messenger for touting these obviously successful policies.

All Democratic candidates have shifted in Sanders’ direction. Indeed Biden calls for more health care, more tax equity, lower-cost education and child care. Biden has wanted to be president since he was a kid, and, whatever his faults, Biden aspires to be a caring president who shows humanity and compassion, and his policy direction will reflect that humanity in a way Trump never will.

Biden may give good debate performances, maybe some bad ones. Biden may say something good off the cuff, then something awkward. But in the Oval Office, Biden will appoint smart people who actually have deep knowledge regarding their assigned department — a good thing when overseeing the environment, climate change, national security or anything else. Competent people are in fact valuable. Biden will put them in charge. Biden will act on climate change, treating it as the emergency it is. Biden will move us closer to economic justice.

Most importantly, Biden will return our government to the democratic legal process.

If we don’t elect Biden, our Democratic republic is over.

Trump doesn’t respect our Bill of Rights. Trump wants dictatorship if he can get it. That’s assuming we (particularly our seniors and people with health impairments) survive Trump’s management of coronavirus. Who knows what other danger Trump will exacerbate or create. If Trump is reelected, the planet will simply no longer have time to meaningfully mitigate climate change. All the chips are on the table in 2020.

We must unite to protect our country from Trump. As a Sanders supporter, I’m now Biden, 100 percent.

Sanders himself said that both he and Joe would unite for whichever one of them got the most votes. That is to Sanders’ great credit.

Sanders, like Robert Kennedy, tells us the truth and points the way. He is a great American. The energy he creates, the young people he attracted and the valid issues he raised must be honored. Sanders knows our coalition can only be honored by uniting in the face of Trump. Each person has to choose their own timing regarding such decisions, but at this point, barring some dramatic unforeseen event, our Democratic nominee is clear — and so is our greatest danger: Donald Trump.

Let’s — for the sake of everyone we care about — actively encourage anyone who values democracy and basic public safety to unite for the survival of our country. Get behind Biden and vote Trump out.

Sean Faircloth is a former mayor and state senator from Bangor who founded the Maine Discovery Museum and the Maine Multicultural Center.