The presidential race is reaching a turning point as fears of COVID-19 keep candidates off the campaign trail
From the confines of his home basement in Wilmington, Del., former Vice President Joe Biden is leading his campaign to victory for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Staffers and advisors set up a home studio for Biden where he now gives speeches, participates in interviews and hosts a brand new podcast called, “Here’s the Deal.” The move has proven to provide Biden with much needed airtime as he is no longer able to travel about the nation’s cities, but has led to questions concerning Biden’s mental aptitude.
In a series of recent interviews, the 77-year-old lost his train of thought mid-sentence, apologizing for the way he phrased things by referring to his statements as “stupid” and slurring his speech.
Many progressive political commentators such as Jimmy Dore have expressed their discontent at the Democratic base for voting for Biden as opposed to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who they see as having a stronger mental capacity. However, Sanders has also had health issues after undergoing heart surgery in the middle of 2019.
The coronavirus crisis has kept voters away from the large rallies and debates typical of presidential elections. Biden and Sanders hashed it out in their most recent debate featured on CNN within a closed studio, even greeting one another with elbow bumps as opposed to handshakes. Their critical statements and questions were not met with the typical “oo’s” and “ah’s” of other televised debates, allowing the debate to take on a serious mood.
In a press conference held a few days before the debate, Sen. Sanders informed America that he is “losing the debate over electability.” This is mainly due to a lack of support from older Americans combined with poor voter turnout amongst younger Americans.
Sanders said that many voters tell him, “I like what your campaign stands for, but I’m going to vote for Joe … because I believe he has a stronger chance of beating Trump.”
This mentality is what has kept Sanders’ campaign from surging. Recent exit polls show the majority of Americans side with progressive policies, particularly socialized medicine, but are reluctant to cast their ballot for Sanders in fear that he is too far left.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 28 million citizens are without health insurance. Those who are uninsured are predominantly males in the south, where incomes tend to be lower than other regions of the nation.
Along with this, Sanders has been quoted saying that 18 million American families are spending half their incomes simply to keep roofs over their heads.
This has kept those in lower to middle class homes from investing in the economy and building wealth. The U.S. student loan crisis also adds to this. The total student debt in this nation is approximately $1.6 trillion.
Despite these staggering statistics, Sanders has been unable to effectively garner an adequate amount of votes.
This lack of turnout and trust in Sanders has led his campaign to a mere 871 delegates, while Biden leads with 1,183 delegates as of March 30. A total of 1,991 delegates will guarantee a candidate the nomination.
On Azusa Pacific’s campus, many students are concerned about Sanders’ electability as well.
Freshman journalism student Bong Kang said tax policy was his biggest issue for this election.
“Businesses and residents have been fleeing California due to financial difficulty,” Kang said. “Any policy which includes extra taxing of citizens will squeeze out the lower and middle classes of California.”
From a national perspective, many citizens have forgotten about the other candidates in this race aside from Biden, Sanders and President Donald Trump. On the Democratic side, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii who dropped out of the race on March 19 after poor polling results.
Gabbard met support early on in her campaign, but was trumped by other progressive candidates such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sanders. She remained in contention and did not plan on endorsing a candidate, despite being withheld from the debate stage with Biden and Sanders in early March. However, Gabbard recently endorsed Biden in light of dropping out.
APU sophomore Olivia Smith said she “was not previously aware” of Gabbard’s presence in the race. The same is true for many Americans, due to the Democratic National Committee eliminating a rule that allowed Democratic candidates to be on the debate stage even if they earned a single delegate.
The DNC replaced this former rule with a rule which stated all debate candidates needed at least 20 percent of the total delegates. Gabbard had two delegates.
In addition, even within his own party, Trump has a contender: former Gov. Bill Weld of Massachusetts.
Weld was the first candidate from the Republican Party to challenge the current President’s campaign. A graduate of Oxford University and Harvard Law School, Weld served as junior counsel to the House Judiciary Committee’s staff during the Watergate impeachment inquiry.
A libertarian at heart, Weld’s policies are fiscally conservative, yet socially liberal. During his time as governor of Massachusetts, he cut taxes 21 times while also expanding access to abortion and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.
According to Weld’s campaign, it is highly unlikely that he will be able to meet Trump on the debate stage.
In light of these recent results and occurrences, it seems as if the Democratic nomination will be handed to Joe Biden, who if nominated, will face off against President Trump on Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame.