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 BidenPoll: Biden leads 2020 Democratic field by 15 points, followed by Sanders and Warren Booker takes swipe at Biden criminal justice reform plan Panel: Has Joe Biden been wrong on everything for 40 years? MORE after his presidential campaign launch on Thursday. 

The group, which has buoyed high-profile lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Trump's risky bid for attention Conservative former NFL player says Trump met with him to discuss 'black America' Louisiana police officer fired after saying on Facebook that Ocasio-Cortez 'needs a round' MORE (D-N.Y.) and presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Biden leads 2020 Democratic field by 15 points, followed by Sanders and Warren Warren introduces bill to cancel student loan debt for millions Democrats, advocacy groups urge Pompeo to abolish new 'unalienable rights' commission 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 Clinton5 things to know about Boris Johnson Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota The Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike 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 Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota 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.