Well, the results of mini-Tuesday are in, and the results are clear: The big Biden wave continues to wash across the shores of this country. The race isn’t over, but the message is quite simple from a majority of Democratic voters, they want former Vice President Joe Biden to go up against President Donald Trump in the November election.
Democratic voters increasingly are focusing on electability, and in a time of a global health epidemic and a volatile scary economy, they have begun to settle on Biden as the best candidate to lead in a time of crisis.
As Andrew Yang, who ran for President this year and supported Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016, said Tuesday night in endorsing Biden, “The math says Joe is our prohibitive nominee.”
So where do we go from here? Here are five key points as this race moves forward from this latest series of primaries.
1. The voters made this choice, not the establishment. Anyone who has been around either party knows there is no establishment that controls this process. The voters began this wave for Biden, not the elected officials. The Democratic officials who came on to support Biden in the last 10 days did not move the voters, the voters moved the elected officials. Those elected officials saw the writing on the wall as expressed by voters, and decided to surf the wave with Biden. I have often said leaders don’t lead voters, they follow where the voters want them to go, and the best leaders try to get one half step in front of where the voters are already heading and try to move them constructively.
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2. The voters who are turning out in a manner exceeding the 2016 primary vote are not the coalition that Sanders put together (mainly younger voters) but the coalition that Biden cobbled together (older voters, suburban voters and black voters). This bodes well for the general election for the Democrats. The extra turnout is exactly from those areas where Democrats did well when they won the 2018 midterms.
3. Sanders has a decision to make that has profound ramifications. Does he continue to run and attack Biden knowing his chances of victory are slim and damage the likely Democratic nominee heading into the fall? Or does he shift his strategy and either fold his tent and unify with Biden or continue the race as the warrior for the progressives and push the issues without attacking Biden? This is a key moment for Sanders and he must decide the direction of the effort ahead.
4. We are reaching a particularly important moment for former President Barack Obama. Up till now, I have argued it was too soon for him to weigh in on this race. He is one of the few people who can unite the Democratic Party and endorsing Biden before now would hurt in that effort. I don’t know if soon after these latest elections is the exact right time, but I am willing to bet Obama and Biden are in conversation about this as you read this.
5. There has been a lot of talk about whether the unscripted moment Biden had on the factory floor related to guns would hurt him. When I first saw this and heard it, and having counseled many candidates through things like this, I believe it is a net plus for Biden. Where Biden stands on guns is supported by a vast majority of Americans and they want something done on gun violence. Also, President Trump has shown us that voters are tired of scripted packaged typical political speak. They want authentic, genuine, tell me how it is talk, and Biden showed that on an issue important to voters. In addition, Democrats want to see someone stand up to Trump and against guns and show visceral strength, and that moment with Biden captured all that in spades.
I have said from the beginning, this race will have many twists and turns, and day-to-day, we have seen major fluctuations, but after the last 10 days and 21 state primaries, we are getting a straighter path on the road to the nomination. And unless something bizarre happens in the coming days, Biden is leading inexorably along the road to the nomination.
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