SAPIENZA: Biden’s Super Tuesday Victories Prove Detrimental for Trump

Opinions Column: Looking on the Right Side

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PHIL ROEDER VIA FLICKR

Biden at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 4. After losses in early states like Iowa, Biden came out strong on Super Tuesday, and is now the Democratic front-runner. Yet the question remains, can he beat Trump?

By BRANDON SAPIENZA, Staff Writer

In an ideal world, President Trump would love to take on Sen. Bernie Sanders and his radical agenda on Election Day, but former Vice President Joe Biden had other plans in mind on Super Tuesday. On a day that was expected to be a brutal day for the Biden campaign, he commandingly shifted the conversation to taking on Trump in the general election, and that presents reasonable cause for concern for the president.

The busy night saw 10 victories for Biden and just four for Sanders. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg won no state outright even after spending nearly $700 million on his campaign. He ended up stepping aside from the race on Wednesday and pledged his support to Biden. Sen. Elizabeth Warren also saw little success, which led to her leaving the race on Thursday.

Much of the success behind Biden’s shocking victories could be as a result of widespread endorsements coming from all parts of the Democratic establishment that helped keep Biden’s momentum moving forward. Democrats have essentially created a coalition of those who are willing to take down Sanders and help Biden reach a plurality of delegates by the time of the convention.

Regardless, the road to the nomination may not come easy even after extraordinary victories for Biden or sufficient victories for Sanders. Before Super Tuesday, FiveThirtyEight projected that the most likely outcome of the primaries leads to a contested convention in Milwaukee which will pit the Democratic Party against itself in astounding fashion with all pledged delegates unbonded from their candidates, much to the delight of the Trump campaign.

A contested convention showcases to the country that the Democratic Party is unable to even come to a consensus on a candidate and platform to take on Trump in the general election. And if they are unable to do that, it could give off the impression that whoever the nominee is does not have the real support of the entire party.

Trump has welcomed the competition of Sanders on many occasions, as he believes that the self-proclaimed Democratic-Socialist would be the easiest to beat.

This is true. Every Bernie Sanders rally is essentially a campaign ad for Trump. The same man who has failed to ever say anything negative about communist dictatorships would have to answer to a working class that is more conservative than he has posited them to be.

On top of that, Sanders would have to explain himself to a spirited president who has revitalized the American economy with tax cuts; fostered an economy that has led to the lowest unemployment rate in recent history; and improved trade agreements with many countries, including China. Not to mention, the president’s base is also a very passionate one.

With his expensive social welfare agenda that would raise taxes on voters in blue collar states, Sanders’ economic plans would impede on the lives of ordinary Americans. For the working class, the question for them is if they would willingly lose more money in their paychecks to help pay for a radical agenda that has economists scared already.

Trump will have the most difficulty surmounting the challenges Biden poses as a political opponent. Biden’s most notable contribution is being the vice president and right-hand man to one of the most well-liked people in the history of American politics, former President Barack Obama.

Additionally, Biden’s proposed plans bring nothing new to the table that would drastically affect the lives of Americans. By proposing Obama-like policies that would maintain the status quo, Biden has managed to bring on more voters as highlighted on Tuesday with decisive victories.

Biden does have his share of weaknesses though. The only policy Biden has actively campaigned on has been kicking Trump out of the White House, but that is nothing new and it’s the same view shared by most, if not all, members of the Democratic Party. This begs the question if Biden’s likeability alone will be enough to take him over the 270 electoral vote threshold to secure the presidency.

Biden’s greatest weakness though is his inability to get through speeches and events without one or more verbal gaffes. This has raised many questions about his health and if Biden will be a completely healthy man if he is elected to the White House.

If Biden is the nominee however, all of these concerns about him dissipate as his centrist beliefs give him the chance to bring in more voters in battleground states. This is the point at which Trump should worry because then the election quickly becomes a referendum on him, and if polls are any indication, Trump’s mainstream favorability is among the lowest of any president in history.

“Trump has lost pretty much any appeal that he had going for him,” said Yusuf Elemenshawy, Gabelli School of Business ’22. “Biden is as pretty much as centirst as they come, but he has the risk of alienating the growing socialist wing of the Democratic Party and you’ll have a repeat of Hillary in 2016.”

If Biden can turn the election on Trump, he then can have an easier time bringing in Sanders’ voters who might have been disgruntled by another primary defeat for the Vermont senator.

Many other factors will dictate how voters cast their ballots in November. But for the time being, the key thing Trump should do if he looks to put up a fight against Biden who is winning in the likeability race is to stop being Trump. If he stopped tweeting and cracking jokes and showed more initiative in his dealings, especially now with coronavirus, he could halt the damage he has done to himself and attempt to fight Biden off in the likability race.

All of this is looking far ahead into the future, but if Biden continues his crusade toward the nomination, he will be locked into a battle with a fierce Trump base — and even fiercer President Trump — but he might be the one Democrat to slay the mighty dragon.