The Democratic Field Has Narrowed To Sanders and Biden: Who Could Win the Presidency?

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, the field of candidates has started to narrow. Democrats are now left to choose between Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders to run against the incumbent president, Donald Trump.

The 2020 election is shaping up to be one of the tightest races the US has seen in recent memory. After Trump’s surprising win in 2016, it is no longer clear which party could come away with a victory.

Democratic and Republican voters will typically vote for their respective parties, meaning it’s important for the candidates to appeal to the swing voters to gain the advantage. To do so, each presidential hopeful needs to get their message across to this voting bloc.

Each candidate has their own characteristics, views and visions for the future. Depending on your point of view, it can be hard to determine exactly which candidate is the most appealing and worthy of becoming president. Here is an analysis of each candidate and what they have to offer in their campaign:

Joe Biden: Currently considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, the former vice president and longtime senator from Delaware has perhaps the most impressive resume of any of the candidates. 

In the past, he has served as chair on the prestigious Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Judiciary committees, in addition to remaining one of the most well-known Democrats over the past decade.

Sitting out the 2016 presidential election–where he was expected to run due to his work under former president Barack Obama–Biden announced his current campaign in April, 2019. 

Since then, he has bounced back from poor performances in the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary to move in front of Sanders for the nomination after an excellent Super Tuesday showing.

Biden is considered a moderate among Democrats. Many of his views and campaign promises could be considered progressive, such as raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. However, he also has more center-based beliefs, such as regulating fracking rather than outright banning the practice.

Biden’s political past has become an issue repeatedly brought up and attacked by the Sanders campaign. Views he held in the past have now been switched, a fact Sanders hopes will be able to sway voters his way.

Now claiming to be a champion of abortion rights for women, Biden had previously criticized Roe v. Wade while he was a senator. In an interview with the Washingtonian shortly after the Supreme Court decision, he stated “I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.”

Biden has also previously criticized Social Security funding. During a 1995 speech, he stated, “When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well. I meant every single solitary thing in the government. And I not only tried it once, I tried it twice, I tried it a third time, and I tried it a fourth time.”

The strongest aspect for Biden’s campaign is popular support among Democrats. Since the Democratic field has been narrowed, Biden has amassed the support of 10 other former candidates. Where Sanders has lacked support from the DNC institution–just as he had in 2016–Biden has garnered the support of the party’s biggest members.

Additionally, Biden has polled well among many different groups when compared to Sanders and Trump. According to Politico, Biden has polled as number one when looking at the age, race and income level of over 5,000 registered voters.

Bernie Sanders: A self-proclaimed “democratic-socialist,” Sanders is a stark contrast from Biden considering they are both running in the same party. A senator and former House of Representatives member from Vermont, Sanders has gained popularity and name-recognition over the past decade.

Unlike Biden, Sanders did run for president back in 2016 but was eventually edged out for the Democratic nomination by Hillary Clinton, who eventually lost to Trump. 

After a campaign that many considered was a long shot to win the nomination due to his progressive ideas, he became an overnight celebrity for the Democratic party and many of its voters.

Sanders has made a name for himself through his advocacy for many socialist ideas, which has earned him the title of “radical” amongst his colleagues and in the media. Championing beliefs such as medicare-for-all and free college for all students, Sanders has drawn attacks from more moderate Democrats like Biden and conservatives across the country.

Touting this socialist belief system has drawn questions of his electability as the US has long held a firm anti-socialist stance. Sanders has garnered most of his support from younger Americans who over the past several years have been trending in a more socialist direction. 

This phenomenon is perfectly exemplified by the recent election and rising stardom of New York, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who herself is a socilaist and one of Sanders’ biggest supporters.

With expectations of winning the Democratic nomination after solid wins in the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, Sanders faltered on Super Tuesday against Biden, winning only four of the 14 states. However, he did walk away with a win in California, the largest and most important state for Democrats during the primary season. 

Despite the important California win, Sanders still has a long way to go. Biden is projected to sweep nearly every remaining primary and has only earned the backing of one other candidate: fellow progressive Andrew Yang. Even Elizabeth Warren, who encouraged Sanders to run in both 2012 and 2016 and is a progressive herself, has not endorsed him.

Perhaps Sanders’ best chance of getting back in the race is going on the attack against Biden. Usually the one to refrain from the mudslinging, Sanders has repeatedly brought up Biden’s past voting history, criticizing him for changing positions on issues such as abortion rights and social security.

By attacking Biden and waiting for him to make a mistake, Sanders could catapult himself back in front for the DNC nomination. Concerns over Biden’s mental health and ability to fight back against a stiff conservative defense could work in Sanders’ benefit.

Whether he would be able to win against Trump or not would depend on how much support from other Democrats he could gather and how well Trump would be able to weather the controversies against him, especially in the wake of a poor coronavirus response.