Joe Biden presents most practical opportunity for Democratic presidential win

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With a tyrannical, and apparently unimpeachable, President Donald Trump in the White House, it is imperative that the Democratic party plays it safe this November and nominates the right candidate. Sen. Bernie Sanders is not that candidate. I didn’t think he was in 2016, and my opinion hasn’t changed. Sanders is an extreme, hyper-partisan, extremely polarizing and weak candidate for President. The fact that Russia has been accused of promoting his campaign — something I have yet to hear his supporters acknowledge — doesn’t sit well with me either. Former Vice President Joe Biden is without a doubt the strongest candidate on the Democratic side to take on Trump and win due to his diverse base of support, broad appeal and strong likeability.

Many pundits (and fellow government majors) have argued that the key to success this November will be in firing up and turning out the Democratic base, but I disagree. Why? Because Democrats are already fired up. We’re angry, we’re mobilized and we’re ready to get Trump out of office. So even though Joe Biden might not be quite the level of democratic socialist you were looking for, that’s a good thing. Both as a senator and as Barack Obama’s VP, Joe Biden has proven himself to be a reliable, honest and trustworthy public servant. Besides, Joe’s still plenty progressive — just not so progressive that he alienates everyone to the right of Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Moderate Democrats outnumber progressives by nearly two to one, and now that the field is narrowing, it makes Biden’s path to victory an easier one. He also has something no other candidate in this race has: the support of African American voters, who are essential to any Democrat’s electoral success.

What Democrats need to do this election is appeal to moderate voters and Republicans who don’t like Trump, and yes, they do exist. We counted on the base last time, and it wasn’t enough. Now we need to focus our attention on white, suburban working-class voters in the ideological and geographical center of the country.

You know, that large swath of land in between the east and west coasts? Joe Biden is someone who can turn out these demographics and beat Donald Trump where it counts: the Electoral College. It does not matter how many “woke” white people Bernie Sanders can turn out in blue states — that will do nothing to help us reclaim the White House. As we saw in 2000 and 2016, there’s no consolation prize for winning the popular vote.

Bernie Sanders also has the critical flaw of being a self-proclaimed Socialist. While that’s a label Trump will affix to whichever Democrat wins the nomination, in Sanders’ case, it would actually be true — and that’s a problem. For many Americans, particularly those over 40, the “S” word is a dirty one; one associated with political oppression and instability. That’s not the kind of messaging that would play well in a general election — especially in purple states. Most Americans don’t want to pay higher taxes, have their private health insurance taken away or be made promises that can’t be kept. We’d much rather have practical, feasible change instead. Sorry, “Bernie Bros,” but you can keep your revolution. We don’t want it.

Now, for those of you that haven’t voted in a Presidential election before, you need to know that sometimes voting can be like taking medicine. It doesn’t always feel good, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Do it to be a responsible citizen. Do it because you can’t reasonably complain about the outcome if you don’t. Also, voting isn’t marriage, so don’t let your search for the perfect candidate stop you from coming out in November if they don’t win the nomination.

Don’t let your quest for ideological purity blind you to the bigger picture. To nominate Bernie Sanders would be to risk reelecting Donald Trump, and I am not willing to take that risk. That’s why I stand with Joe Biden.

Email Lauren Reffay at

lereffay@email.wm.edu.