The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden faces tough task of uniting Democrats

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail. 

 

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LEADING THE DAY:  

It’s been 24 hours since Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) suspended his presidential campaign, and Democrats are scrambling to figure out how the party can come together ahead of November’s general election. 

Unlike other candidates, including former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.), and former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEngel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned MORE, Sanders did not immediately throw his support behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE.

Sanders did not formally endorse Biden outright and said he would remain on the ballot in the upcoming primary contests in an effort to amass enough delegates to put pressure on the Democratic establishment at the party’s convention in August. Sanders and his supporters are hoping this strategy results in a willingness from the establishment to consider progressive platforms like Medicare for All. 

However, Biden and his supporters are unlikely to adopt a number of progressive stances, leaving the former vice president with the difficult task of uniting a very fractured party. And that task will be made harder by the pandemic. 

Remember, Biden is in his element on the actual campaign trail. He thrives in situations where he can shake hands, hug and make personal connections with voters. He has not been able to have the same experience on the virtual campaign trail. 

However, Democratic strategists say there are workarounds the Biden campaign is currently utilizing. 

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“What [Biden] needs to do is talk about the elements of Medicare for All that work for him,” said Michael Gordon, a Democratic strategist and principal at Group Gordon. “There are elements of the Medicare for All platform that he can adopt without hurting his overall position on health care.” 

“Once the vaccine is available, the vaccine should be made free for everyone in the country. Any testing that is taking place, it needs to be widespread and free for everyone in the country,” Gordon continued. 

Additionally, there is a widespread belief that the party will unify behind the goal of defeating President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE in November.

“There will be a segment of people among Bernie voters who won’t be excited. That’s true in any election,” Jonathan Tasini, a progressive strategist and former national surrogate for Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, said. “But this question of unity comes up every single cycle and ultimately most people do rally around the party.”

 

READ MORE

Sanders’s influence endures as campaign ends, by Niall Stanage

Democrats salivate over Obama coming of the sidelines, by Amie Parnes

Progressive immigrant voter organization backs Biden, by Rafael Bernal

Progressive youth group issues demands for Biden, by Tal Axelrod

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Let America Vote (LAV), a nonprofit that works to end voter suppression, is pitching a system to allow for voters to safely cast ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, officials told The Hill’s Alex Gangitano.

 

This comes as the coronavirus outbreak has ignited a partisan battle over whether the U.S. should enact measures to make it easier to vote by mail in the fall election. Democrats are urging states to move toward all-mail elections, or at least to make it easier to vote absentee, saying it’s the only way to ensure that people don’t have to decide between risking their health and casting a ballot. Republicans, led by President Trump, are resistant to the idea, warning that voting by mail is prone to fraud or administrative failures that would call into question the integrity of the election. Jonathan Easley and Maggie Miller report.

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): My plan to fight the coronavirus

Howard Fineman: Sanders lost but coronavirus makes his case for socialism

Alan Dershowitz: How to save the 2020 election

 

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FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES:

Georgia delayed its primary elections again Thursday, this time to June 9, amid concerns that the coronavirus outbreak may continue to pose a high risk to public health through most of May. Max Greenwood reports.

 

MONEY WATCH:

The largest outside group supporting Trump’s reelection is reserving $26.6 million in broadcast advertising in the battleground states of North Carolina and Florida, a sign that the president’s allies are ramping up to take on Biden in the November election. Jonathan Easley reports.

 

Meanwhile, a Democratic super PAC is taking aim at Trump’s coronavirus response in a new ad, Rebecca Klar reports.

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Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), the top GOP super PAC focused on House races, said on Thursday that it had reserved $43 million in fall advertisements. The bookings span 33 media markets covering as many as 35 congressional districts that the group is eyeing this cycle.

 

POLL WATCH:

CNN/SSRS – NATIONAL

Biden: 53 percent

Trump: 42 percent

 

MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY – NATIONAL

Biden: 48 percent

Trump: 44 percent

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)

April 10:

Alaska

 

April 17:

Wyoming

 

April 26:

Puerto Rico Democratic primary

 

April 28:

Ohio

 

ONE HOPEFUL THING

SEEING CLEARLY: The coronavirus has resulted in economic and medical hardship, but it also appears that in some parts of the world, the lack of human activity is resulting in an improved environment. 

This was most recently witnessed in Punjab, India, where people said they’re seeing parts of the Himalayas clearly for the first time in decades. 

 

 

In fact, CNN reported that some parts of the mountains can be seen from more than 100 miles away. 

The increased visibility appears to be a result of decreased pollution in the country. A report released by the country’s Central Pollution Control Board late last month said the nationwide curfew implemented on March 22 and the subsequent lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi two days later “resulted in significant improvement in air quality in the country, as revealed by data analysis and comparison of data for time before enforcement of restrictions.”

 

We’ll be back tomorrow with the latest campaign news! 

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