The revolution that wasn’t: Sanders’ 2nd presidential bid falls to earth
DETROIT: Michigan voter Monique Dooley believed in Bernie Sanders’ forceful message of support for America’s working class.
So she cast a ballot Tuesday in Detroit for the Democratic candidate she believes can win back the White House: Joe Biden.
“If we are going to be unified, I think we should go with him,” said Dooley, an African-American fifth-grade teacher.
Millions of Democrats across the country agreed with Dooley during Tuesday’s nominating contests, adding to the momentum and delegate count that has resurrected the former vice president’s campaign. Biden won at least four of the six states that voted, including the biggest prize of Michigan, dealing another blow to the “political revolution” promised by 78-year-old Sanders.
Many voters said they admired the Vermont senator’s authenticity and consistent message, and like his policies, but had cast ballots strategically for Biden, the candidate they think can beat President Donald Trump in the November general election.
“This isn’t the time for extreme,” said Kurt Nortin, a 55-year-old substitute teacher who saw Biden speak in St. Louis on Saturday.
Sanders fell short of his primary performances against Hillary Clinton in 2016, when he pulled off an upset in Michigan and lost by a whisker in Missouri. On Tuesday he lost handily in both those states, places where he hoped to demonstrate his strength among Midwestern voters. Sanders only pulled off a win in North Dakota, a small state with few delegates. In Washington state, Biden and Sanders were in a virtual tie with more than two-thirds of the votes counted.
Sanders had promised his platform of ambitious social programs and raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy would expand the electorate. Instead Americans of all stripes turned out for Biden: women and men, white and black voters, those with or without college degrees, and self-described liberals and moderates. Sanders only dominated among young voters and Latinos.
State after state, voters by roughly 2 to 1 said they would rather pick a candidate who can beat Trump than one they agree with on major issues, according to Edison Research exit polls in the states that voted on Tuesday as well as last week’s Super Tuesday contests.
The overwhelming majority of these voters who cited beating Trump as the top priority – 61% in Michigan, 67% in Missouri, and 82% in Mississippi – voted for Biden, the polls show.
It was a stinging setback for Sanders, who just two weeks ago was riding high with back-to-back strong showings in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
Wall Street investors fearful of a government takeover of healthcare dumped shares in health insurers, while Democratic Party insiders sounded the alarm that the self-described democratic socialist would not only lose to Trump in November but would also hurt the party’s chances down ballot.
Biden, the moderate former vice president under Barack Obama, was helped in part by a wave of endorsements from moderate Democrats and former rivals, including Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar who ended their own presidential bids and rallied behind him. On the eve of the pivotal Michigan primary, former rivals Kamala Harris and Cory Booker stumped for Biden at a Detroit rally. – Reuters