Elizabeth Warren’s exit from the presidential race yesterday leaves only two legitimate choices for the Democratic nomination: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. And let me be clear, the process of choosing one of these candidates will prove detrimental to the future of the Democratic Party.
Democratic candidates have marketed themselves to minority and working-class voters as champions of diversity in recent years. However, the party’s problem with diversity is blatantly obvious to anyone who watched any of the primary presidential debates. Voters watched as the likes of Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang and others fell by the wayside. The most radical Democrats love to call out “rich old white men,” yet their only hope of victory in November depends on two male millionaires from the Silent Generation.
Perhaps more ironically, the Democrats’ quest to emphasize diversity has further divided their party. Joe Biden’s campaign was resuscitated in South Carolina last weekend, where he won 61% of the vote among African Americans. Additionally, the former vice president won 60% of the black vote in Texas, paving the way for his biggest Super Tuesday victory.
But Biden’s support within this key demographic is largely cancelled out by the fact that Bernie Sanders scored huge wins on the back of Hispanic voters in Nevada and California, taking 53% of all Hispanic votes in Nevada (compared to Biden’s 17%). Even in Texas, Sanders nearly doubled Biden’s total among Hispanics (45% to 24%). Neither Biden nor Sanders can defeat President Trump without a solidified coalition of minority voters.
The division among minority voters only represents the tip of this iceberg of division. Sanders, a self-described “democratic socialist” has positioned himself at the left edge of the American political spectrum. His call to completely overhaul the country’s health care system is increasingly popular among Democrats, but a growing number of moderates remain opposed. Biden’s strong performances on Super Tuesday demonstrate the political clout of said moderates.
In attempting to steer his party in a progressive direction on health care and other issues such as income inequality, Sanders may push moderates to the other side of the aisle. And even though Sanders condemned “Bernie Bros,” his supporters who act aggressively toward non-supporters, it is unlikely that his campaign will distance itself from the support it has received among radicals.
This may seem like good news for Joe Biden, but he is far from a flawless candidate himself. Even Biden’s moderate views and his popularity as a key member of the Obama Administration do not change the fact that his aging is a cause for great concern. Even though Sanders is actually a year older than Biden, he has avoided Biden’s notorious debate gaffes, such as the suggestion that “150 million” Americans have died from gun violence.
Though it seems that President Trump would have an easier time defeating the radical Sanders, Biden’s weak debate performances would allow Trump to pounce all over him in the debates this fall. Whether we like to admit it or not, everyone can envision a helpless Biden subjected to Trump’s relentless debate attacks.
I have identified multiple problems facing the Democratic Party in coming months, but I have neglected their biggest problem: The lack of time the party has to unite behind either Biden or Sanders. Democrats have not been as divided as they are now since 1968, when disputes about the Vietnam War led to an easy victory for Republican Richard Nixon. Only four months remain until the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee; in that time, the party must commit to one of two rivaling ideologies.
Perhaps it will happen. But as the race stands now, I do not believe that Joe Biden nor Bernie Sanders will defeat Trump on Nov. 3.
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Thumbnail photo courtesy of Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo.
Carson Swick is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.