It has been a good week for Joe Biden. Two big Democratic holdouts got on board the Biden campaign and Bernie Sanders planted himself more firmly in the Biden camp.
The big fish was Barack Obama, who endorsed Biden yesterday in an online statement. While Obama’s endorsement will be downplayed by Republicans, it could have a significant impact on swing voters. The former president remains more popular than Donald Trump, having left office with 57 percent approval, a number that Trump has never been able to match.
As we saw in 2016, Obama’s endorsement cannot overcome intense dislike for a candidate, but Joe Biden is not as intensely disliked as Hillary Clinton. Polling data from 2016 shows that Hillary’s favorability rating was at Trumpian levels with an average of 41 percent with a net of -12 points. By comparison, Biden does slightly better than break even with a 45-44 split. If this holds, it could be enough to swing the election against an unpopular incumbent.
The smaller fish that Biden landed was Elizabeth Warren. Just a few hours ago, Warren endorsed Biden in another video, saying, “Empathy matters.” The one-time Democratic co-frontrunner also tweeted a video touting Biden as an effective leader to rebuild the nation.
Finally, Bernie Sanders, once Biden’s strongest opponent, showed that he is firmly backing the former vice president. In an Associated Press interview, Sanders gave his former supporters a choice.
“Do we be as active as we can in electing Joe Biden and doing everything we can to move Joe and his campaign in a more progressive direction?” Sanders asked, “Or do we choose to sit it out and allow the most dangerous president in modern American history to get reelected?”
“I believe that it’s irresponsible for anybody to say, ‘Well, I disagree with Joe Biden — I disagree with Joe Biden! — and therefore I’m not going to be involved,’” Sanders added.
Sanders also distanced himself from Briahna Joy Gray, a former staffer who is pointedly refusing to endorse Biden, saying, “She is my former press secretary — not on the payroll.”
The Democratic Party is rapidly coalescing around Joe Biden, but the unity has more to do with being against Donald Trump than being for Biden. While most Democrats are seeking to avoid the mistakes of 2016 in which they stayed home rather than get out and vote for a lackluster candidate, the Bernie Bros are not necessarily Democrats. Joe Biden will likely pick up more moderate voters than Sanders would have, but he may lose some progressives at the other end of the spectrum.
Although Biden holds a handy lead, no should assume that the polling will be unchanged until November. The 2020 elections have already been the subject of numerous plot twists and there will likely be more.
Originally published on The Resurgent
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