Former Vice President and prospective Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden received three endorsements in the past week. In political parlance, they might be called major endorsements. That usually means an increase in some support from some segment of the voting public. That may not be in this case.
The biggest name endorsement came from former President Barack Obama. Conjecture throughout the earlier campaign always dangled an Obama endorsement as the big prize – but not so much now.
A pre-South Carolina endorsement may have put Obama in the role of Congressman James Clyburn whose jump onto the Biden bandwagon is credited for the former Vice President’s turn-around victory in the Palmetto State. By all measures, Biden would have convincingly won South Carolina without the Clyburn endorsement.
In many ways, Obama’s after-the-fact endorsement only reminds voters that he did not back his running mate when there was actually a competition. The most obvious response to Obama’s pat on the back is … well duh! It was nothing but a pro forma action.
Will it move any voters away from Trump and toward Biden in the General Election? Probably not. Arguably, Obama’s greatest influence is with black voters – and they are already on board with Biden.
Senator Elizabeth Warren
In evaluating the impact of her endorsement, one must first ask, “What took you so long?” All her competitors endorsed Biden as part of their withdrawal announcement. At that point, it was only Biden and an overly optimistic Senator Bernie Sanders still in the race – and his path to the nomination was wiped out on Super Tuesday.
What was she pondering all those weeks of silence? Some suggested that she might be withholding her endorsement as a negotiating chip for the Vice President spot on the ticket. That is more than unlikely. It was a worthless chip. Biden did not need her endorsement.
Warren had no deliverables. Her base was pretty small – and divided between those who jumped to Biden BEFORE she did and those who may not in any case. The latter were holding out to see what Sanders was going to do. They were the disgruntled masses that were prone to a win-or-walk strategy.
In short, Warren had voters, but not many with a deep loyalty to her –a loyalty that would shift on its own and not on the recommendation or endorsement by Warren.
Senator Bernie Sanders
I left the arguably most important endorsement for last. Unlike Warren, he has voters who are intensely loyal and are likely to heed his suggestion. Unlike the Obama endorsement, Sanders has a cadre of voters who are NOT in the Biden camp. Most will surely shift to Biden, but an unknown percent of them may stay home – as they did in 2016. An even smaller percent may cross over to Trump as a revenge vote against the Democratic Party that twice has suppressed the Sanders’ revolution.
Unlike the Obama and Warren endorsements, the effect of the Sanders endorsement is yet unknown. It will depend on how the relationship evolves from here forward.
Sanders has a lot of delegates and he is committed to his socialist causes. He can be expected to continue to push the Party and Biden further and further to the left – although that mission has already largely succeeded.
While Sanders no longer has a shot at the presidential nomination – and not likely to be even on Biden’s long list for the second spot on the ticket – there is the issue of the Platform. You can bet that Sanders is going to use his influence – his delegates – to turn that into the most authoritarian left-wing document since the Communist Manifesto.
While Biden does not need Sanders’ delegates to win the presidential nomination, he also does not need controversy or chaos over issues with the Bernie Bros.
While the Obama and Warren endorsements qualify as messages of support – regardless of their minimal impact – the Sanders’ endorsement is an olive branch offer up as the beginning of finding common ground over there in left field.
The common ground for all three of these endorsements is that they came long after Biden did not need them. Although it could not have been foreseen, they also have all been muted by the obsessive reporting on the COVID-19 virus.
So, there ‘tis.