With Senator Bernie Sanders out of the race, former Vice President Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee charged with taking on President Donald Trump.
Only a few months ago, the Democratic field was overcrowded with 28 contenders each with vastly different ideologies, platforms and bases. A long, drawn-out race seemed certain, but Biden rallied the center and now Sanders’ withdrawal from the race provides Biden with additional time to unite the party, expand his base and announce a running mate.
Over the last few weeks, the teams backing Biden and Sanders respectively have worked together to develop “task forces” to address key issues and find common ground between them. Sanders unveiled this news as he endorsed Biden for president. Through these task forces, Sanders will pressure the former vice president to lean left toward the stances Sanders’ campaigned on and that are most important to his die-hard supporters. If Biden wants the support of Sanders’ base on November 3, something Hillary Clinton lacked in 2016, he will need to make concessions.
Biden will also need to select a vice presidential candidate who pushes people to the polls. Biden pledged to choose a woman for his running mate during a March debate narrowing the list of contenders. The favored vice-presidential candidates include the women who ran against Biden for the Democratic nomination: Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, but COVID-19 has thrust several others into the spotlight including Governors Gretchen Whitmer and Gina Raimondo.
While Biden reorganizes his campaign, Trump will continue to run on a platform built on the economic success seen in the first three years of his presidency and his foreign policy wins such as the US-Taliban agreement signed in February.
If Trump is able to contain the spread of the virus, mitigate the economic effects and see a return to normalcy by November, he will claim a political victory that may keep him in the White House for another four years.
But Trump likes an aggressive and personal attack campaign. He will renew his attacks on Biden and attempt to link him to corruption in Ukraine. The pursuit of these allegations in July 2019 ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment.
If this tactic fails to pick up steam, Trump will likely resort to his tried and true strategy of blaming the media and the “deep state”.
Trump will continue to portray Biden as an “establishment” candidate and political insider, the kind of person he’s vowed to clear out of the Washington swamp since the beginning of his presidential bid in 2015. Trump has already urged Sanders’ left-wing populist supporters to join the Republican Party, now home to Trump’s right-wing populist supporters. Despite being on different sides of the political spectrum, both resent establishment candidates.
Biden will tout his experience in the White House and Senate as a reason to vote for him in November. Given the global coronavirus pandemic, people are looking for a candidate that can provide leadership and actionable solutions. Biden will use the failing economy against Trump and paint his response to the coronavirus pandemic as an example of the president’s “incompetence” and inability to lead the nation through crises. Biden has been on the front lines of many crises and will sell himself as the leader America needs to emerge from its latest crisis.
As the coronavirus grips the nation, traditional election issues will not be top of mind. People care about the efficiency of the American healthcare system, the competence of officials and the effectiveness of the government’s response to the virus: They will vote for whomever can deliver on all three.