After big wins, Biden makes appeal to young Sanders voters: 'I hear you'
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[March 18, 2020]
By John Whitesides
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic
presidential front-runner Joe Biden has made a direct appeal to the
young supporters of rival Bernie Sanders after moving closer to the
nomination with big primary victories in three states.
Biden, the former vice president, began looking to the Nov. 3 general
election against Republican President Donald Trump after Tuesday's
dominating wins in Florida, Illinois and Arizona increased the pressure
on Sanders to drop his fading White House bid.
In remarks broadcast from his home in Delaware, Biden said he and
Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, disagreed on tactics but shared a
common commitment to affordable healthcare, reducing income inequality
and tackling climate change.
"Senator Sanders and his supporters have brought remarkable passion and
tenacity to these issues, and together, they have shifted the
fundamental conversation in the country," Biden said.
"And let me say, especially to the young voters who have been inspired
by Senator Sanders: I hear you. I know what is at stake. And I know what
we have to do."
Biden, 77, still faces work to convince supporters of Sanders, who has
pushed the Democratic Party to the left with his democratic socialist
economic agenda, to back him in a general election campaign against
Young voters might be his biggest challenge of all. Voters between the
ages of 18 and 44 were the only major demographic to stick with Sanders
during Biden's sweeping victories on Tuesday, Edison Research polls
[to top of second column]
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe
Biden speaks during the 11th Democratic candidates debate of the
2020 U.S. presidential campaign, held in CNN's Washington studios
without an audience because of the global coronavirus pandemic, in
Washington, U.S., March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
The Democratic nominating campaign begins an extended hiatus on
Wednesday, with no primary votes scheduled for weeks amidst concerns
about the coronavirus outbreak that has forced several states to
postpone their contests.
The Edison polls found a majority of voters in all three states
trusted Biden more than Sanders, 78, to handle a major crisis, a
sign the widening pandemic has increased Biden's appeal as a steady
and experienced hand.
"It's at moments like these that we realize we need to put politics
aside and work together as Americans. The coronavirus doesn't care
if you're a Democrat or a Republican," Biden said in his remarks.
Biden has taken command of the Democratic race in the past two
weeks, scoring victories in 16 of the last 21 state contests before
Tuesday. His sweep extended his lead over Sanders to roughly 230
delegates in the chase for the 1,991 delegates needed to clinch the
nomination at July's Democratic convention.
(Editing by Robert Birsel)
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