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Sen. Bernie Sanders has contacted the campaign of Joe Biden, once his primary rival for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, to ask the candidate to focus more on so-called ‘kitchen table issues’ in a sign the Vermont socialist is concerned about messaging.
Specifically, Sanders — who left the race in April and immediately endorsed Biden after ceding the Democratic presidential nomination to long-time party members in two straight cycles — said he would like the nominee to focus more on issues like job growth, higher wages, and gaining access to healthcare instead of constantly bashing President Donald Trump, the Washington Post reported.
Sanders “is working as hard as he can to help Joe Biden win the most important election in modern American history” but believes there are issues he the former vice president can “continue to improve upon,” said Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ former campaign manager in a statement sent to the Post and The Hill.
In addition, Sanders would like to see Biden fully embrace fellow avowed socialists like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) as he did, supposedly in an effort to shore up the support of younger liberal voters.
“AOC,” as she is known, hit the campaign trail for Sanders when he was still in the race.
“He has been in direct contact with the Biden team and has urged them to put more emphasis on how they will raise wages, create millions of good-paying jobs, lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand health care coverage,” said Shakir. “He also thinks that a stronger outreach to young people, the Latino community, and the progressive movement will be of real help to the campaign.”
The Post cited three anonymous sources for its story, noting they believe that Biden’s centrist approach is a political loser, despite the fact that the former long-serving Delaware senator has moved decidedly Leftward, as has the Democratic Party in general.
But Biden has avoided fully embracing AOC and other far-Left lawmakers like Reps. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), according to reports.
Sanders’ concerns appear to be at odds with national polling, most of which has supposedly had Biden comfortably ahead of Trump nationally and in key battleground states, though the races have narrowed in recent days.
But other polls show President Trump’s support among blacks and Hispanics rising, both of which are key Democrat demographics. And to that point, Sanders is reportedly concerned that Biden’s Hispanic support is starting to lag.
“Senator Sanders is confident that Joe Biden is in a very strong position to win this election, but nevertheless feels there are areas the campaign can continue to improve upon,” Shakir told the Post.
Sanders’ 2016 campaign was vibrant and appeared to be on a different level than was the eventual Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. The two developed bad blood that led to a half-hearted endorsement of Clinton by Sanders, which some believe led many of his voters to choose a third-party candidate, thus depriving her of victory in narrowly lost states.
This time around, however, Sanders’ endorsement of Biden has been strong and unequivocal.
That said, the bad vibes between Clinton and Sanders extended into the current presidential election cycle. In a reference to the Vermont socialist, Clinton claimed in an interview earlier this year, “Nobody [in the Senate] likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done.”
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