Hopes are high for Sanders supporters as Biden leads

By AMANDA KARP
On March 11, 2020

Photo courtesy of gage skidmore, Flickr

The fourth round of primaries for the election pushed former Vice President Joe Biden a step closer to winning the Democratic nomination for president. 

The primaries were held in six states, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington state on Tuesday, where Biden captured 249 delegates. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) won in North Dakota and Washington, winning a total of 103 delegates.

“As I said from the beginning, this election is the one that has character on the ballot. The character of the candidates, the character of the nation is on the ballot,” Biden said in his victory speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Penn. “It’s more than a comeback in my view, our campaign. It’s a comeback for the soul of this nation.”

Biden’s win on Tuesday is part of his campaign’s reemergence; before the South Carolina primaries, it seemed as if Biden would be out of the race. But a strong showing of voters in the South helped to revive his campaign after it seemed that Sanders would be the frontrunner to secure the Democratic nomination for president. 

Biden performs well with voters who are 45 and older, while Sanders has a broader appeal to voters 18-44, according to the New York Times’ Michigan exit polls.

In his victory speech, Biden acknowledged that America could survive four years of President Donald Trump, but not another four, as Trump would “forever and fundamentally change the very character of this nation.”

“We can’t let that happen, but winning means uniting America, not sowing more division and anger,” he continued. “It means having a president who not only knows how to fight but knows how to heal.”

However, Biden’s past political record does not inspire as much healing as Sanders' would. Sanders has been consistent in his values for decades, which is one of the many reasons that young voters are so drawn to his campaign. 

Young voters see Sander’s consistency in his support of Medicare for All, increasing the minimum wage, action on climate change, canceling student debt and making public colleges free, and they see a candidate who could affect a change voters want to see in the United States’ government. 

Further, in a moment such as this, where the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is heavy on the minds of Americans, Biden said the wrong thing on “The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.” 

Biden said that he would not pass Medicare for All even if it was passed in the House and Senate, and it sends a tone-deaf message to many who cannot afford tests or the treatment during this outbreak. 

There are still many primaries, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, that will take place between now and June 6, when the Virgin Islands will hold their Democratic caucus, among other states will cast the final votes for their preferred Democratic nominee on June 2.  

Biden may be winning now, but there is still time to vote for a candidate who calls for structural change in the government; there is still a chance for Sanders to overtake him and secure enough delegates to win the nomination.

 

akarp@ramapo.edu

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