Even though left-leaning Sen. Bernie Sanders has withdrawn from the presidential race, his agenda is still having an influence on the Democrats. Joe Biden, who seeks to defeat President Donald Trump in November, is hoping for his former rival’s support.
Like many other places in the U.S. that have been battered by the coronavirus, the Wi-Fi and cellphone networks of many Democratic Party grandees forced to work from home are currently likely to get overloaded. After the 78-year-old Sanders withdrew from the presidential race on Wednesday,* acting quickly became the order of the day. The million-dollar question is how “Berniemania,” which recently dissipated at the ballot box, can be diverted to 77-year-old former Vice President Biden.
Sanders himself succinctly answered this question in his farewell address on Wednesday: “Through unity.” He said it was imperative to defeat the incumbent president by combining forces. The Vermont senator, who lost to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race for president in 2016, said he could not continue a hopeless election campaign. However, this time, observers say he can feel like a winner. Sanders clearly won the ideological debate within the party and left his mark on the Democrats more than anyone thought.
After his surprising comeback, Biden can now officially call himself the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Unlike they viewed Sanders, however, young voters especially perceive Biden as lame due to his background. The campaign teams of both 70-somethings have been discussing this in intense phone calls for days. According to The New York Times, Biden and Sanders exchanged views directly for the first time on Wednesday following a dramatic primary season. The Democratic Party is now trying to focus on unity to defeat Trump, unlike the 2016 presidential campaign when Sanders stayed in the race against Hillary Clinton until the summer.
While Trump acts increasingly helpless during the coronavirus crisis, the Democrats are counting on political predictability with their presumptive nominee, Biden.
Biden now reportedly wants to put together working groups, in which the party will be able to see Sanders’ signature in areas like climate protection and health care. The calculation behind this is to get hard-core Bernie fans to vote for Biden in November. According to party insiders, the two former campaign rivals could soon stand together in front of a camera to motivate a fragmented grassroots base to vote against Trump.
The president is said to be completely preoccupied with getting a grip on the pandemic, and this is a good opportunity for the Democrats to close ranks.
Observers regard the fact that Sanders wants to stay on the ballot in the remaining primaries in spite of his withdrawal as way to try to shift the balance within the party toward the left. Trump, whose tweeting has frequently added fuel to the fire between the Democrats’ left and moderate wings, quickly used Sanders’ intentions to level a broadside against Biden. In a statement directed to the American people, Trump said that only he could give a voice to Sanders’ disappointed followers, not a “man of the party elite” like Biden.** On the issue of trade, for instance, Trump claimed he was more aligned with Sanders.
Whether the Democratic primaries, which have already been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak, will even be held in June, is still undecided. The Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, which was scheduled for mid-July, is likely to take place online at best. Until then, Biden will also have to decide on a running mate — a female, of course. The favorite is Sen. Kamala Harris from California.
*Editor’s note: Sen. Bernie Sanders withdrew from the 2020 presidential race on April 8.
**Editor’s note: This quote, though accurately translated, could not be verified.