Progressive group comes out against Biden's White House bid

Justice Democrats, a top progressive group that has seen its sway within the Democratic Party rise in recent months, hammered former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Juan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete MORE after his presidential campaign launch on Thursday. 

The group, which has buoyed high-profile lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats Sanders: Potential Bloomberg run shows 'arrogance of billionaires' Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez see 'class solidarity' in report Bezos asked Bloomberg to run MORE (D-N.Y.) and presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal MORE (I-Vt.), slammed Biden as a relic of the Democratic Party’s “old guard” who opposes policies favored by the progressive base. 

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“The old guard of the Democratic Party failed to stop Trump, and they can’t be counted on to lead the fight against his divide-and-conquer politics today. The party needs new leadership with a bold vision capable of energizing voters in the Democratic base who stayed home in 2016,” the group said in a statement.

“Democrats are increasingly uniting around progressive populist policies like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, free college, rejecting corporate money, and ending mass incarceration and deportation. We don’t need someone who voted for the Iraq War, for mass incarceration, and for the Bankruptcy Reform Act while voting against gay marriage, reproductive rights, and school desegregation.”

The group also shared a January Vox article that compared Biden to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton3 ways government can help clean up Twitter Intelligence Democrat: Stop using 'quid pro quo' to describe Trump allegations The Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats MORE, further suggesting the former vice president could not win a general election race in 2020.

Biden, who had been rumored to join the presidential race for months, officially launched his campaign Wednesday morning. He cast his candidacy largely in opposition to President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE, saying the president is a threat to America’s character.

“I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time,” Biden said in a video announcing his White House bid. “But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation — who we are — and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”

“Everything that has made America America is at stake. That’s why today I'm announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”

Though Biden is likely to rely on support from the party establishment and has already picked up endorsements from sitting lawmakers, he has had to face months-long criticism from progressive groups over his reputation as a centrist and his chairmanship over the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Anita Hill hearings in 1991.

However, Biden is likely to double down on his appeal to Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which Democrats lost in 2016, and cite polls that show Democratic voters prioritize electability over subscribing to strict ideological platforms.