Once again, the decision of the Democratic candidate for president is between two white men. After the most diverse and chaotic Democratic presidential candidate race, the final two major players in the race are Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Tulsi Gabbard, as of March 5, seems to be continuing her campaign, but after receiving only one delegate, she is expected to drop out soon. Gabbard hasn’t given a reason as to why she is still running.
Sanders and Biden represent the Democratic party’s internal struggles between a moderate stance and a more progressive stance.
Sanders defines himself as a Democratic Socialist, meaning his policies and stances on issues lean toward a more progressive point of view, which might deter more moderate voters. Moderate members of the Democratic party have shown major reservations against any support for Sanders.
According to an analysis by CNN reporter Maeve Reston, the Democratic party is worried over how the campaign for president between Sanders and Biden could fracture the party similar to what happened in the 2016 election with Hilary Clinton.
This has caused tension to arise in the party between Sanders’s supporters and the rest of the more moderate Democratic members. Sanders supporters, according to reports, believe that the DNC is trying to steal Sanders’s nomination, leading to the twitter hashtag #RiggedPrimary and #RiggedDNC.
This idea is not so far off, however, since the Democrats in Congress are seeming to back Biden’s campaign for the presidency. According to the FiveThirtyEight website, Biden is being endorsed by 62 House Democrats and eight senators, while Sanders is only being endorsed by eight House Democrats and one senator.
According to CNN reports, an unknown Democrat said, “We’re all consolidating. We got to build that firewall against Bernie.”
This kind of attitude is only going to fuel the fire of Sanders’s supporters and again could repeat the events of the 2016 presidential election, which led to Trump’s slim victory.
According to Reston’s article “Democrats fear a 2016 repeat in 2020” on CNN, “Four years ago, some of Sen. Sanders’ most ardent supporters — including many young voters — stayed home on Election Day, rejecting Hillary Clinton as their nominee.”
If Sanders’s supporters repeat their rejection, if Biden were to win the Democratic nomination, the nation could be facing another four years with Trump as president.
Sanders and Biden have split the Democratic party along different groups of race and age.
According to an NPR analysis, Sanders leads with younger people of color, particularly Latino voters, and this success led to his winning California on Super Tuesday. However, Southern states do not usually have a large population of Latino voters.
In contrast, Biden can be seen to lead with older people of color, as seen in California with Latino voters ages 65 and up. He leads with older African American voters, by large margins, compared with Sanders. This was a big reason he won 10 of the 15 states on Super Tuesday, with Southern African American voters.
The reason many voters of color voted for Biden according to NBC’s article, “Black voters know what they want. On Tuesday, it was Joe Biden. Here’s why.” was by default or practicality.
The driver for voting for Biden was the fear of Trump winning the presidential election again. Voters felt that because of his experience and message of working between party lines, that he presents the more practical choice. A voter, J.P. Jones, sighed when she said Biden was her choice, according to this article.
“I’m going to make a default choice that I’m not excited about,” Jone’s continued echoing statements made by Cliff Albright, a co-founder of Black Voters Matter.
“Even most of the black people voting with Biden aren’t with him because they think he’s best on the issues,” Albright said. “It’s a lot of ‘I’m with him because I think he’s the best person who can beat Trump,'”
Voters think that Sanders is just making promises, according to the article. Other voters worry that his socialist views will hurt his chances of beating Trump.
“Trump would tie ‘socialist’ so tight around his neck that he would choke on the debate stage,” said M.L. Kohn, a retired science educator in Columbia.
These concerns limit Sanders campaign’s reach. Voters seem to want a candidate that is a certain win against the current president.
However, the idea that Sanders promises, are just “promises” can be misleading. This is because he has not adequately shown voters his plans to pay for his policies and visions. Although his campaign has a feature explaining in detail his plans for his ideas, he has yet to promote this verbally or visually to the public. Most people want to get their news fast. His comprehensive page of details will not impact or draw more voters in, especially if the voters are limited on time.
Instead, some advice for Sanders, coming from a younger person, would be to make a video explaining his plan or a simple infographic condensing the plan.
Biden already has some sway with voters of color and Sanders needs to show how his plans will affect their lives for the better. People know Sanders for his stances on economics and healthcare, it’s time he starts to elaborate his plans for Racial Justice in this country.
Sanders has a page for Racial Justice projects on his campaign website, but many people simply do not have the time to put into reading those pages. Potential working voters do not have the time to read and would rather watch a video than read a long page packed with dense information.
If he hopes to bring in more voters of color, he should highlight the racial justice work that he has done. It is nice that he walked with MLK, during the Civil Rights Movement but many young voters want to see how his actions now reflect that same energy according to a Buzzfeed article.
Yet, Democratic voters of color are not a uniform group of people, there are varying ideas of what is important to them. So, it would be a mistake to try and only focus on racial justice issues. As it stands though, Sanders has yet to bring these issues up in debates or ads, as his main message revolves around health care and the economic system. In not at least providing some information he will lose a big opportunity to win over possible voters.