WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has announced his support for the presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden.
- The Vermont senator had officially ended his presidential campaign last week.
- The two former rivals are now set to work together on Biden’s campaign.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has officially endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president.
The Vermont senator had dropped out of the presidential race last week.
Appearing on a joint livestream with Biden on Monday, Sanders told his former rival, “I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans, to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse.”
Sanders also highlighted the importance of defeating President Donald Trump.
When Sanders launched his presidential campaign in early 2019, he had already pledged to support the Democratic nominee. Now that his presidential campaign has ended, his advisers would support Biden’s team to present a united front.
Biden responded, “Your endorsement means a great deal to me. I’m going to need you, not just to campaign, but to govern.”
The former vice president has had a long list of endorsements from his former rivals for the Democratic nomination, with the exception of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Sanders’ quick endorsement is seen by several Democrats as a way to heal the party after a primary revealed sharp ideological disagreements among the party’s core supporters.
Sanders acknowledged the significant differences between his vision of democratic socialism and Biden’s center-left views. But he stated that there will be joint task forces that will work on policies on key issues, such as education, the economy, immigration, climate change, and criminal justice.
Biden also expressed his willingness to shift his agenda left. He voiced his support for the cancellation of student debt for a large portion of Americans whose annual income is less than $125,000. He also adopted Warren’s proposal to repeal a bankruptcy law he once supported.
But Biden’s proposal to progressives has been criticized, especially by some of Sander’s top supporters.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), in particular, told The New York Times that she doubted Biden’s efforts to reach out to the left wing of the party.
Ocasio-Cortez stated, “The whole process of coming together should be uncomfortable for everyone involved — that’s how you know it’s working. And if Biden is only doing things he’s comfortable with, then it’s not enough.”
Biden also still has to win over many of Sanders’ young supporters.
While early public opinion surveys show Biden leading against Trump, his margin among young voters is smaller than those of the previous presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.