By: Joseph Simonson – washingtonexaminer.com – March 03, 2020
Bernie Sanders is no longer the juggernaut the Democratic establishment once feared.
Just weeks ago, after pulling out a popular vote victory in Iowa, a narrow win in New Hampshire, and a rout in Nevada, the Democratic primary almost looked all wrapped up. The race may not yet be over, but Sanders has proven he is far from unstoppable.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s resounding victory in South Carolina meant that Sanders was back on the defensive in Texas and several states in the Deep South. Despite spending months on black outreach, Sanders, 78, was unable to improve substantially upon his support in states such as North Carolina, which he won in 2016. In many of those states, Sanders performed worse in many of those states than he did in 2016, when he was on the losing end of a challenge to Hillary Clinton.
His numerous campaign events in Virginia didn’t stop Biden there either, nor did his last-ditch effort to bring a win in Minnesota, a state he won by double-digits during his last White House bid. The case was the same in Oklahoma, meaning Sanders is on track to win fewer states in 2020 than he did four years ago.
During a speech in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, Biden declared the race “might be over” for Sanders.
“Just a few days ago, the press and pundits said this campaign was dead,” he said. “We were told when it came to Super Tuesday, it’d be over. I’m here to report we are very much alive. Well, it might be over for the other guy,” the former vice president said Tuesday night.
Although all indications show that he pulled out a win in California, no one should expect final results for weeks at the earliest because of the sheer volume of early votes that need to be tallied. Sanders’s exact delegate lead may not be finalized until after the next wave of primary states on March 10.
And Sanders seems prepared to take his fight all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee from July 13-16. His campaign has announced a large expansion of its get-out-the-vote apparatus in the 10 other delegate-rich states that vote later this month.
When he addressed supporters in Burlington, Vermont, in the evening, Sanders kept his fire on Biden.
“You cannot beat Trump with the same old, same old kind of politics,” he said, adding that “I tell you with absolute confidence: We are going to win the Democratic nomination.”
On Tuesday, Sanders’s speechwriter, David Sirota, released a memo to the public outlining its new “phase” against Biden.
“However, with Biden bankrolled by a super PAC and boosted by billionaire donors, the primary is far from over. We are now entering the phase of the primary in which the differences between Bernie and Biden will take center stage,” says the memo, authored by Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir and senior aide Jeff Weaver. “These differences make clear that the choice between these two candidates is stark — it is a choice between the party’s core economic and social justice agenda and the Washington establishment’s agenda that aims to protect and enrich the wealthy and well-connected. The differences also spotlight how Bernie’s agenda is a far more popular general election agenda than Biden’s.”
The memo then gives a glimpse of how Sanders plans to hammer Biden on his record of voting for the Iraq War authorization and entitlement spending, signaling a more aggressive push from his campaign as the inevitability of his candidacy is threatened.
On Wednesday, Sanders will travel from Vermont to Phoenix for an evening rally in the evening. Arizona holds its primary on March 17 and awards 78 delegates. He lost the state in the 2016 primary to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, earning just over 41% of the vote.
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