Democrats turn to the center – editorials
Democrats prefer a candidate who can save the Oval Office over a candidate who can save the United States. Former Vice President Joe Biden has almost a hammer on the Democratic Party nomination after a series of primary victories in the past six weeks. The only other serious candidate, Bernie Sanders, will continue to work as a soldier, but it will require a miracle to win. They represent two different threads within the party. One is a pragmatic centrist, closely associated with Washington; the other is an avowed socialist, calling for the dismemberment of the political and corporate establishment of the United States. Biden’s support comes from black Americans and white middle-class liberals. Sanders dominates youth and does well with working-class whites and Hispanics. The deciding factor for Democratic voters has been simple: which candidate has the best chance of defeating Donald Trump?
Democrats had two schools of thought on how to defeat Trump. Biden, and candidates like Pete Buttegieg and Michael Bloomberg, argued that the party’s base was properly mobilized and needed to focus on 30 to 40% of voters not affiliated with either party. Many of these are Republicans rejected by Trump and would consider endorsing a centrist Democrat. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren represented the alternative school. The underlying socio-economic problems plaguing the white working class were the drivers of the electoral revolt that led Trump to victory. An anti-establishment figure, promoting radical solutions like universal health care and an anti-Wall Street attitude, would resonate with this class, and also solve some of their problems. There was evidence to support both points of view. In the end, it is the centrist position that has come out ahead. But Biden would do well to take a closer look at the political agenda of the Democratic left if he wants to unite a winning platform.