Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s likely presidential nominee, appears to be extending an olive branch to supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, his only remaining opponent in the primary race.
Per The Telegraph, during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Biden praised Sanders for shifting the conversation in terms of what’s politically possible.
“Bernie Sanders has poured his heart and soul into this campaign he is moving the ball on a number of issues that relate to what government’s responsibilities.”
Trailing Biden by a few hundred national delegates, Sanders has not yet dropped out of the race — nor should he, Biden suggested during the interview, arguing that the decision is entirely up to the Vermont senator.
“I think it’s up to Bernie to make the judgment whether or not he should stay in the race or not stay in the race.”
“It’s not my judgment to make for him but I think he’s had a real impact he brought a lot of people into the process and weren’t in before,” Biden reaffirmed.
As The Telegraph notes, the former vice president appeared careful not to put pressure on Sanders, in what seemed like an effort to appeal to the left-wing of the party.
In 2016, when Sanders ran against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, progressive Democrats were dismayed by how the senator was treated by the Democratic Party, which — some claim — contributed to Clinton losing against President Donald Trump in the general election.
It is hardly a surprise that Biden is trying to appeal to Sanders supporters, given that he will likely need their vote in the general election. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Saturday, the lack of enthusiasm could be a major problem for Biden in a race against Trump.
Biden: "Whether or not that is required across the board in all 50 states and territories, I am not sure. But we should be beginning to plan that." pic.twitter.com/oxCdcp4wYJ
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 30, 2020
According to the poll, only 24 percent of Biden supporters are highly enthusiastic about voting for him, which is the lowest number on record for a Democratic Party candidate. Similar issues are thought to have contributed to Clinton’s defeat in 2016, since only 32 percent of Democrats were enthusiastic about voting for her.
Trump’s base, according to the poll, is galvanized, with 53 percent of his backers saying they are highly enthusiastic about casting a ballot in November. Furthermore, although the vast majority of Sanders supporters — 80 percent of them — say they would vote for Biden over Trump, only 9 percent of them are enthusiastic about doing so, which could be another issue for the former vice president.