The former vice-president takes Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho. What does this say about Democratic voters?
Art Cullen: ‘Voters think Biden is most electable’
Democratic voters in exit polls agree with Bernie Sanders on the issues. They favor universal health care. They don’t trust billionaires and think the system is rigged against average people. But they didn’t agree that the Vermont senator is their best bet to beat Donald Trump. The establishment didn’t lock Bernie out. Black voters across the south made the pragmatic decision that Joe Biden is the man to unseat the US president. A broad coalition of voters, from suburban women to white men without a college degree, took their cue from South Carolina and flocked around Biden. It was a flood on Tuesday. Florida and Georgia are ready to pile on the bandwagon.
Turnout is up across the nation, especially in Michigan, where Biden and not Sanders is the beneficiary. Democrats are declaring they cannot tolerate any more Trump. They believe Biden can manage a panic. The wave has laid Sanders asunder. The hope for the republic is that Sanders supporters can quickly come to terms with the urgency of throwing their support behind the presumptive nominee, Biden.
- Art Cullen is editor of The Storm Lake Times in Northwest Iowa, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. He is a Guardian US columnist and author of Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope, now out in paperback
Katie Herzog: ‘Voters want a safe choice: they chose Biden’
Tuesday’s decisive victories for Joe Biden show me a few things: debates don’t matter, media endorsements don’t matter, grassroots campaigns don’t matter, money doesn’t matter, big promises don’t matter, scandal doesn’t matter, gaffes don’t matter, and having the support of the Democratic Socialists of America’s Brooklyn branch and everyone under 30 doesn’t matter either.
So what matters to the majority of Democrats at this moment? Getting Donald Trump out of office, which is why, I suspect, primary voters went for what they see as the safe choice instead of the candidate promising free healthcare, free college, free puppies, and pizza every Friday (and who’s going to pay for it? Billionaires!). That, or young people were too busy making TikToks to show up.
What I’m curious about is what comes next: will the legions of young people who knocked on doors and memed their hearts out for Bernie become so disillusioned by the Democratic party that they sit out the general election, write in Bernie Sanders, lodge a protest vote for Donald Trump, or leave the party altogether? It’s possible, which means the Biden vote might not be the safe vote after all.
- Katie Herzog is a writer for The Stranger
Benjamin Dixon: ‘Do I still belong in the Democratic party?’
It is a surreal feeling seeing the Democratic party establishment celebrate their victories in tonight’s primaries when that victory all but ensures Donald Trump another four years. It’s a strange sensation seeing people in their righteous indignation and in their conviction align themselves with the wrong side of history.
“Why? Because they rejected Bernie Sanders?”
No. Because they rejected the hurting, the marginalized, and the left out. The progressive wing of the Democratic party is what it is because it fights for justice without ceasing. The progressive wing has not always gotten it right, but the mistakes were never because we wanted to maintain power at the expense of the powerless.
If we’re honest with each other, we don’t want the same things.
We want Medicare for All. You want to maintain a system that allows profiteers to exploit the sick and the dying for profits. We want to cancel student debt; you want to see your children work for the next 30 years to pay off a six-figure education that only cost you four figures.
We just don’t want the same things. We’ve outgrown each other. We’ve come to terms with the reality that we probably should go our separate ways.
- Benjamin Dixon is the host of the Benjamin Dixon show
Malaika Jabali: ‘Our party is more divided than ever’
Democratic primary voters made it clearer today that they would stand behind the man who promised that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he’s elected president. The party has compelled voters to choose the lesser of two evils for so long that basic goods – in the way of Sanders’ proposals for Medicare for All and free college tuition for instance – seem like snake oil. But the real ruse – drummed up incessantly by the Democratic party’s establishment –is that only a centrist can defeat a Republican in the general election.
With Sanders losing delegate-rich Michigan and likely the nomination, November will probably once again test this unproven theory. Four years of Trump may be sufficient to excite Democrats into voting him out of office. But with four months of debates featuring a stumbling Joe Biden, Ukraine and Hunter Biden being the new “what about her emails,” and focus on Biden’s actual policies, it is hard not to imagine this excitement waning for those on the margins in swing states who have yet to vote and who may not vote at all in the primaries.
November will also test the limits of the Democratic party’s so-called “unity” candidate. With arguably deeper fissures in the party now than in 2016, what began as a crack seems like a faultline between the party’s younger, progressive voters and older ones committed to turning things to “normal”. The normal for millennials and Gen-Z, however, is crushing student loan debt, financial insecurity, and a weakened social safety net, whether Trump or Biden is in office. Even if Biden temporarily pulls these groups together on a single day in November, the inability of party leaders to express commitment to the policies the country actually cares about will continue to divide the country.
- Malaika Jabali is a freelance writer, activist and attorney
Lloyd Green: ‘The wind is in Biden’s back. Trump has reason to worry’
Once again, Joe Biden pummeled Bernie Sanders. Suburban voters thundered and turnout went through the roof. Donald Trump has reason to worry: Biden is a compelling foil to grumpy grandpa and the “very stable genius”.
Mississippi went for Biden by over 60 points. In Missouri, Biden easily outpaced Hillary Clinton’s razor-thin 2016 margin. Biden also captured Michigan by double-digits. Just four years earlier, Sanders had prevailed there. At the end of the night, Biden may have gone six-for-six in Tuesday’s contests.
By the numbers, the Delaware Democrat ran ahead of Sanders in Obama-Trump counties. In the current climate, voters preferred a candidate possessing an even-temper, an unforced smile and meaningful experience.
Make no mistake, Biden is no Hillary Clinton. His favorability rating is a net positive, the electorate views him as honest. Looking ahead, the wind is at Biden’s back.
Next week, Florida and 219 of its delegates are on the line. Polls show Biden surging in the Sunshine State. There, African-Americans and seniors are energized for Biden while Cuban and Jewish Americans have soured on Sanders. Heads Biden wins, tails Sanders loses.
Biden’s nomination sits on the cusp of inevitability. He has reassembled the coalition that flipped the House of Representatives. If it holds, come January 2021 the incumbent would be leaving office as a failed one-term president.
- Lloyd Green is an attorney in New York. He was opposition research counsel to George HW Bush’s 1988 campaign and served in the Department of Justice from 1990 to 1992