Much is being made of Joe Biden's Tuesday night win in Michigan—and, on the flip side, Bernie Sanders' loss there and what it means for the candidate. But there's another 2020 candidate who should be just as concerned by Biden's victory, say pundits: President Trump. A sampling of opinions:
- At CNN, Chris Cillizza declares "electability" one of Tuesday night's winners. He allows that for a long time he's kind of dismissed it as something that's "in the eye of the beholder." But what Super Tuesday II's exit polling reinforced is that Democratic voters "hugely valued a candidate they believed could beat Trump"—and think that's Biden. "In Michigan, 6 in 10 voters said nominating a candidate who can beat Trump was more important than choosing a candidate they agree with on issues. In that group, Biden beat Sanders by 31 points."
- At the Washington Post, EJ Dionne explains why Trump should be alarmed, and he sings a tune similar to Cillizza's: "In primary after primary, Democratic voters have made clear that ridding the nation of Trump matters more to them than any particular issue. This was true again in Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi." And while only 3 in 10 Michigan voters said they would be "enthusiastic" if Biden emerges as the nominee, only 1 in 10 said they'd be upset. Biden's ascension "is thus an affair of the head at least as much as of the heart. It reflects a quiet judgment that Biden is a safe choice who will not alienate voters Democrats need against Trump."
- And more of the same from Katie Herzog at the Guardian, who says Tuesday proved that for Democrats, "debates don't matter, media endorsements don't matter, grassroots campaigns don't matter, money doesn't matter, big promises don't matter, scandal doesn't matter, gaffes don't matter and having the support of the Democratic Socialists of America's Brooklyn branch and everyone under 30 doesn't matter either." Here's what matters to them: beating Trump.
- At the New York Times, Matt Flegenheimer and Katie Glueck write that Biden might be about to deliver a major political shock: "a short, orderly primary." But they do observe that his political 180 in the last couple weeks "has not changed the underlying weaknesses that defined him through the early states," from his blunders to losing his cool to the apathy he generates among young people and progressives. They also note that Sanders' proponents have argued that his record is similar to Hillary Clinton's, and that Trump is sure to use the same line of attack as he did in 2016.
- Sure, Biden has his flaws. But at Politico, Tim Alberta writes "the big takeaway" from Michigan "isn't that Biden is a spectacular candidate." It's "that he doesn't need to be." Democratic turnout surged in Michigan and Biden outperformed Clinton's 2016 performance in some key demos there. If there's a repeat come November, Trump could lose Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, which he won by just 77,744 votes total in 2016. If that happens, "There goes the White House."
- So it's time for Sanders to hang up his hat, writes David Frum at the Atlantic. Sure, his team can come up with reasons to stay in, "but the justifications will be excuses. Everything they say they want to do for their principles and their movement can be better done by building health-care coalitions in the US Senate" amidst the coronavirus epidemic. "The only thing they can actually do by prolonging Sanders's campaign is sustain Trump in his work of defamation against Biden."
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