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Joe Biden Facing The Same Internal Foe That Clipped Hillary Clinton's Presidential Dreams

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

There was going to be a ‘Never Biden’ wing that emerged from the Democratic primary. That was just going to happen. That’s the nature of progressives. They’re committed to their cause and moderation is not an option. They want to beat Trump, but they’re also worried about the period after that. They want Medicare for All, free college, student debt forgiveness, and drastic actions on so-called global warming. In last night’s debate on CNN, Biden sort of said they were priorities, but Bernie is obviously the one who would be seen as more trusted to take the radical actions necessary. Why vote for Biden when he’s just a more liberal version of the system you still want to destroy? It makes no sense. As in 2016, there is a contingent that may either vote for Trump or stay home. For now, it looks like the latter, which still helps the president’s re-election chances.


Young people didn’t like Hillary Clinton and they don’t like Joe Biden. In 2016, the superdelegates were the ones that muddied the waters for Sanders. In 2020, many see the quick departures of Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg as signs of collusion between the campaigns and the establishment to consolidate the moderate vote against Bernie. I mean that did help, but Bernie bros miss the one voter bloc that killed them in 2016 and today: Black Democrats. Still, Joey boy has a lot of work to do to win over the trust of these Bernie fanatics (via Politico):

There's no question it’s been a banner two weeks for Biden. But lurking in the background of his sudden ascension to all-but-presumptive nominee is evidence that at least some Bernie Sanders supporters might not migrate to him in November, weakening him in the general election.

The significance of the problem became apparent in the same string of primaries that put Biden on the cusp of the nomination.

In Michigan — a state critical to Democrats’ efforts to reclaim their general election footing in the Rust Belt — just 2 of 5 Sanders backers said they would vote Democratic in November, regardless of who became the nominee, according to exit polls. Four in five said they'd be dissatisfied with Biden as the Democratic standard-bearer.

Though it's unclear how widespread or adamant the #NeverBiden contingent is — will they really stay home when the alternative is another four years of President Donald Trump? — the misgivings at least put the Biden campaign on notice that it has significant work to do to bring along Sanders' base.


Paul Maslin, a top Democratic pollster who worked on the presidential campaigns of Jimmy Carter and Howard Dean, said that in their overtures to Sanders’ supporters, Democrats have “time, Trump and hopefully Bernie himself on our side.”

However, he said, “It’s a huge challenge.”


…some Sanders supporters see the consolidation of moderate presidential candidates and other elected officials around Biden as the establishment asserting its power over the grassroots. Trump has happily stoked the divide, declaring that the Democratic primary is “rigged” against Sanders, just as he did four years ago.

“The rationale for us is that our votes need to be earned and that we’ve been taken for granted, and the party never moves to us,” said Alyson Metzger, a 54-year-old writer and progressive activist in New York City who supports Sanders. “If they install Joe Biden, I will not vote for Biden. … This is not democratic what’s happening in the Democratic primary.”

For Metzger, not voting for Biden is a matter of conscience. For others, it is also strategy. On “Never Biden” Facebook pages and in Twitter threads, some activists argue that if Trump is reelected, Democrats will fare better in the next midterms and that the party will be more likely to nominate a progressive in 2024.


“I can’t vote for Joe Biden,” said Bryan Quinby, a left-wing podcaster in Ohio, saying that “it feels like the party doesn’t want us — the people who were pushing for Bernie Sanders and were enthusiastic about it.”

Noting that his vote was “never guaranteed for the Democrats,” he said that in November, “I think it just means I don’t vote for president.”


You need a communicator to get this done—and Joe isn’t it. I think after scores of debates, Democratic voters saw that Amy, Pete, Kamala, Cory, and a slew of others just didn’t have the goods to beat Trump. They may like Bernie, they may agree on health care, but note his left-wing revolutionary antics might kill them down-ballot. Okay—that’s a bit in the weeds. They see him as being unable to beat Trump maybe, but the down-ballot argument is also sound. Even if Bernie wins, the GOP would control the House and Senate, the Sanders revolution is still clipped. Joe is what’s left. Hence, the pragmatic choice for scores of Democrats, especially in states where Biden had next to nil in terms of a campaign operation. Also, Biden is known as a hardcore Democrats, Bernie is not. I don’t know how much that plays into the thinking here. I think, at this time, voters just see Biden as the best choice to beat Trump. 

As of now, the delegate math is with Biden. It’s very much teetering on insurmountable. He’s going to be the nominee. And while Joe tried to hand out olive branches, as he’s done post-Super Tuesday, to the Bernie wing—Sanders is there pretty much slapping it away. In the debate, Sanders did well pressuring Joe on super PACS, Iraq, and entitlement spending, but went off the rails when Cuba and authoritarianism were mentioned. Bernie has a problem condemning left-wing authoritarian governments. You cannot say ‘Cuba has been authoritarian, but hey, everyone can read’ and expect that to just settle with voters across the board. It didn’t. But the question here is whether Biden can effectively reach to the young voters who are for Bernie. Can the establishment pull this off, given the many egos in the building? I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it.  



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