18 Mar Leslie Marshall: Sanders should end campaign – Primary wins show Biden will be Dem presidential nominee
Following his overwhelming losses Tuesday to former Vice President Joe Biden in Democratic presidential primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, Sen. Bernie Sanders needs to face the fact that Biden will be the party’s presidential nominee. In the interest of party unity and to help send President Trump into retirement, it’s time for Sanders to end his presidential campaign.
Voters across the country have clearly have shown that they prefer Biden’s message of pragmatic progressive change to Sanders’ calls for a democratic socialist revolution.
Biden’s lead of nearly 300 delegates in the race for the presidential nomination is simply insurmountable at this point. This leave Sanders with no pathway going forward to overtake Biden.
According to exit polls, about 80 percent of voters in Arizona, Florida and Illinois believe the former vice president could definitely or probably win the general election against Trump. And Democratic voters across the country have said in many polls that defeating Trump is their top priority.
Here are some takeaways from the three primaries held Tuesday:
Biden won big
Biden’s margin of victory over Sanders was nearly 40 points in Florida and 23 points in Illinois with almost all votes counted, and about 12 points in Arizona with 87 percent of precincts reporting.
And Biden received strong support from African-Americans; rural and suburban voters; Catholics, Protestants and Jews; blue-collar workers; and older voters. Biden won every county in Florida.
This broad support cuts the legs out from under Sanders’ argument that he is the candidate of the people while Biden is the candidate of the Democratic establishment and billionaire donors.
Latino and younger voters are warming to Biden
Biden chipped away at Sanders’ coalition of progressive young people and Latinos. In Florida, exit polls showed Biden got 56 percent of the Cuban-American vote and 65 percent of the Puerto Rican vote. And among progressive voters in Florida, Biden won 53 percent to Sanders’ 37 percent.
The coronavirus is a top concern for voters
The coronavirus has replaced health care as the top concern among many voters and their concern continues to grow. In both Florida and Illinois, more voters said they trusted Biden on health care issues than Sanders.
In speeches Tuesday night both Biden and Sanders spoke of the need to protect Americans from the coronavirus pandemic. But Sanders touted his costly and controversial “Medicare-for-all” plan, while Biden spoke of unity and said Americans must come together on a bipartisan basis battle the virus that is sweeping across the world.
Most voters in all three of the states with primaries Tuesday said they have anxieties about contracting COVID-19. As many as 40 percent in Florida are very concerned that they or a family member could become infected and about a third in Illinois and Arizona feel the same way.
So where do we go from here?
In state after state, Democratic primary voters have supported Biden over Sanders. If Sanders continues to battle Biden in remaining primaries, the only thing he will accomplish is to strengthen Trump’s reelection chances.