Campaign

Sanders adviser warns of ‘alarming trends’ that could lead to Biden’s defeat

A top adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign warned in a memo on Friday that former Vice President Joe Biden could lose the election in November because “a significant portion” of Sanders’s supporters are “currently unsupportive and unenthusiastic” about his candidacy.

The memo, written by Jeff Weaver, who recently launched the America’s Promise PAC aimed at turning out progressives for Biden, said the presumptive Democratic nominee faces a “clear and dangerous trend” that could block his path to the White House if he does not address his shortcoming with Latinos, working-class voters and young people.

“There is a real and urgent need to help Biden consolidate Sanders supporters,” Weaver wrote. “If all of Sanders’ base turned out for Joe Biden in November, he could defeat Trump and take back the White House for Democrats. Here’s the problem: significant portions don’t currently plan to.”

Sanders, who dropped out of the race last month, has been encouraging his supporters to put aside their differences with Biden and join the effort to defeat President Trump in the fall.

In addition to Weaver’s group, former Sanders adviser Chuck Rocha has launched a PAC aimed at turning out Latino voters for Biden.

The Biden and Sanders camps appear to be working well together. The Biden campaign moved to allow Sanders to keep his delegates to the national convention and has included top progressives, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), on a policy task force that will shape Biden’s platform.

But Weaver pointed to polling that shows a lack of enthusiasm for Biden among key groups.

A recent USA Today-Suffolk University poll found that about 20 percent of Sanders supporters say they do not intend to vote for Biden. About 60 percent said they are not excited about supporting his nomination.

Meanwhile, a Pew Research Center survey found that 47 percent of Sanders supporters said that differences between Biden and Sanders will keep the party from uniting behind the presumptive nominee.

Weaver argued that Sanders’s coalition will play an outsized role in the battleground states that will be critical to winning the 2020 election, such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida, Iowa and North Carolina — all states where the Trump campaign and affiliated outside groups are already spending tens of millions of dollars in advertisements.

Weaver said Biden’s recent moves to the left on issues such as higher education, as well as the new policy task force, are “a good first step,” but not nearly enough to reach left-leaning voters who are cool on his candidacy.

“Treating Sanders supporters as throw-away votes will ultimately be at the expense of the party, down ballot candidates, and our ability to enact real policy solutions for Americans,” Weaver said.

“Despite best intentions, the Biden campaign and the [Democratic National Committee] are far behind on digital organizing, Latino outreach and progressive coalition building — all critical to reaching and winning over Sanders supporters,” he added.

Tags 2020 campaign 2020 election Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Biden campaign Donald Trump Joe Biden progressives

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