2020 Campaign
2:01 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden may have emerged as the leading Democratic presidential candidate because the party's more moderate bloc rallied around him, but now that the nomination looks likelier than ever, his campaign is making sure they don't lose support from the progressive wing come November, Politico reports.

"The dirty little secret is everyone's talking to Biden's campaign," said Sean McElwee, co-founder of liberal think tank Data for Progress. "There will be fights, but at the end of the day, progressives still hold votes in the Senate and increasingly Democratic voters stand behind our views. I expect we'll see Biden embracing key planks of the ambitious agenda progressives have outlined on issues like climate and pharmaceutical policy."

Most of Biden's support comes from older voters, so his team is trying to court younger generations who are more likely to back the policies MccElwee referred to. They're reaching out to groups like the climate-focused Sunrise Movement, as well as other organizations tied to gun control, immigration, and other issues. Most groups are committed to backing whoever the nominee is against Trump, but there is a sense that a lack of turnout among younger, progressive voters could hinder Biden if he's the nominee, making these efforts more crucial. And he may need to meet some expectations to convince people.

Evan Weber, the national political director for the Sunrise Movement, said their explicit support for Biden — compared to a broad anti-Trump campaign — depends on whether his campaign can "demonstrate that they are taking the climate crisis seriously." Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

March 18, 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is still running for president, but he does not want to talk about his campaign right now.

Like many Americans, his primary focus is on the coronavirus pandemic, which he called the "unprecedented crisis of our lifetime," and things got testy when things veered off topic Wednesday.

While speaking with reporters, Sanders was asked if he had a timeframe in place for when he would make a decision about whether to drop out of the race after his competitor, former Vice President Joe Biden, reaped the rewards of another strong night of primary voting Tuesday, helping him secure his place as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

Sanders wasn't having it.

CNN's Manu Raju, who asked the question, then pointed out that Sanders was a presidential candidate, to which the senator replied he didn't have time to think about such things.

Raju reported that things calmed down shortly after that, as Sanders returned to answering coronavirus questions. Tim O'Donnell

March 17, 2020

One thing is clear about former Vice President Joe Biden's potential running mate: he's going to pick a woman. But there are several candidates for the job that present intriguing arguments for his campaign advisers, Politico reports.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for example is an oft-touted name, as she would appeal to African American voters, who have carried Biden's campaign into the driver's seat. Plus, the two get along well, despite clashing in earlier debates when Harris was still campaigning herself.

Another former Democratic presidential contender, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), could make sense because she could help reel in the sought-after Rust Belt votes that are likely to be so crucial in the November election.

But there's also Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). It's no secret Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) both desperately want Warren's endorsement, but it may be somewhat of a surprise to hear that Biden's team is facing "a lot of pressure" to add her to the ticket, an adviser said. Warren and Biden don't line up too precisely on policy — the former tends to veer more in the progressive lane — but Biden has made some overtures recently, including supporting Warren's bankruptcy reform plan, so it's possible she's under legitimate consideration for the opening. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

March 15, 2020

The National Education Association, the country's largest labor union, endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination Saturday, as he continues to rack up support in his primary battle against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Lily Eskelsen García, the teachers union's president, called Biden a "tireless advocate for public education" who understands "that as a nation we have a moral responsibility to provide a great neighborhood public school for every student." She specifically cited his commitment to raising teachers' salaries and funding staff support positions.

The NEA, which has 3 million members, could prove to be a crucial get for Biden. Of those 3 million members, 75 percent are college-educated women, a key demographic that not only Biden and Sanders seek support from, but the Republican Party, as well. Of course, the NEA won't represent every individual voter's opinion, but it may hint at a big boost for the vice president, both in the primary and potentially against President Trump in November, should he prevail in the showdown with Sanders. Read more at BuzzFeed News. Tim O'Donnell

March 2, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden is netting endorsements left and right as the Democratic Party's centrist wing appears to be consolidating around his candidacy.

As was speculated earlier Monday, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — who dropped out of the race Sunday — is planning to back Biden, his campaign adviser Lis Smith said, per Reuters. Biden also just picked up the support of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who bowed out of the race Monday.

But it's not just former presidential competitors who are coming to Biden's side after his convincing win in Saturday's South Carolina primary. Former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also announced he's endorsing the vice president. Reid said Biden is the candidate who is best able to "assemble the largest, most diverse coalition possible to defeat" President Trump.

Polling suggests Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) remains the favorite to come out on top on Super Tuesday, but the string of endorsements indicate Biden may have some real momentum. Tim O'Donnell

March 2, 2020

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) won't make it to Super Tuesday after all.

Klobuchar is expected to announce she's ending her Democratic presidential campaign, a person close to her told The New York Times on Monday. Campaign officials gave the same information to The Washington Post.

The senator is reportedly planning to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden as he chases after national frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with the primary's most crucial day swiftly approaching.

Klobuchar did well in the New Hampshire primary, finishing in third place, but she mostly struggled in the other early states. Her path to the Oval Office at this point looked improbable, if not impossible, and her campaign has been wary of the challenges of competing on Super Tuesday for a while. In backing Biden, it seems the long-anticipated consolidation of the more centrist Democratic candidates is finally beginning. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg suspended his campaign Sunday, and reportedly had a phone call with Biden that evening. Speculation is building that he, too, will throw his support behind the former vice president.

The once-crowded Democratic primary field now consists of only Biden, Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and, yes, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Read more at The New York Times and The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

February 29, 2020

It's the South Carolina primary, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has his sights set on Massachusetts.

While many other candidates remain in the Palmetto State, Sanders flew north Friday evening and held a Saturday rally in Boston. Massachusetts is a Super Tuesday state, so the timing checks out, but Sanders' presence there is notable primarily because it's the home state of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), his closest ideological competitor in the race.

There's not a lot of data on Massachusetts, but some polls hint at a tight race between the two New Englanders, per The New York Times.

Warren, who struggled this month in neighboring New Hampshire, on Saturday declined to call Massachusetts a must-win state, despite serving as its senator, and said she isn't surprised Sanders is campaigning there because it's a "very progressive state and progressive ideas are very popular." But the Sanders campaign may also have zeroed in on Massachusetts precisely because a victory could result in, as the Times describes it, a "symbolic blow" to Warren's once-promising campaign. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

February 19, 2020

Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is going all in on social media.

His Democratic presidential campaign team is putting out a call for so-called "deputy digital organizers" who will reportedly work for 20 to 30 hours a week and receive $2,500 per month in exchange for promoting Bloomberg via text each week to everyone in their phones' contact list, while making daily social media posts in support of his campaign, The Wall Street Journal reports. They'll also likely have to do some more traditional campaign work every once in a while like phone banking.

It's another example of how Bloomberg's wealth gives him a leg up in certain situations. Most campaigns rely on a mix of volunteers and paid staff to phone bank or go door-to-door while encouraging their supporters to promote them over social media, but, per the Journal, experts say Bloomberg's willingness to pay to do all those things is novel.

One thing that's unclear is if the social media posts for the digital organizers should qualify as sponsored content on platforms like Facebook, which the Journal notes, is just beginning to grapple with the intersection of political advertising and influencer marketing. The campaign reportedly thinks the posts shouldn't require an advertising label since they consider it to be a new form of political organizing rather than paid influence content. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

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