Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders lashed out at fellow Democratic primary contender Joe Biden over the weekend with new and continued attacks claiming that Biden has long been willing to impose significant cuts to a number of major federal entitlement programs, The Hill reported.
Sanders released a new campaign ad suggesting that Biden has supported cuts to Social Security in the past, according to The Washington Times, and he repeated that claim in a news conference held on Wednesday.
“One of us has spent his entire life fighting against cuts in Social Security, and wanting to expand Social Security. Another candidate has been on the floor of the Senate calling for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ programs,” Sanders said, according to The Hill.
The strategy is designed to appeal to older voters who are a key part of Biden’s support base, and who could help propel him to the Democratic Party’s nomination.
Sanders’ main base of support has historically come from younger voters, but election participation among those demographic groups tends to be far weaker than among older Americans, as Business Insider noted. This has caused Sanders to struggle in state where Biden has succeeded in attracting the majority of older Democrat voters.
The senator from Vermont acknowledged the difficulties of relying on younger voters at his Wednesday press conference.
“Have we been as successful as I would hope in bringing young people in?” he asked rhetorically. “The answer is no. We’re making some progress, but historically everybody knows that young people do not vote in the kind of numbers that older people vote in.”
In four Super Tuesday states, The Hill noted, Sanders didn’t even receive 10% support from voters age 65 and over, compared to Biden, who garnered over 50% support in that critical category. Those are hard numbers to overcome.
Biden remains cautious
At this stage in the game, Sanders really has nothing to lose by attacking Biden with as much force as possible. Following his disappointing Super Tuesday, it is looking less and less likely that Sanders will secure the party’s nomination, and he is fighting for his political life every single day.
Biden’s response to the onslaught from Sanders has been a bit more cautious, and with good reason. As the probable nominee, Biden doesn’t want to alienate “Bernie Bro” voters to the point that they will simply decide to stay home this November.
“What we can’t let happen is let this primary become a negative bloodbath,” Biden told more than 100 donors gathered at a private residence in Bethesda, Maryland on Friday, according to Politico. “I know I’m going to get a lot of suggestions on how to respond to what I suspect will be an increasingly negative campaign that the Bernie brothers will run. But we can’t tear this party apart and re-elect Trump.”
In the war between the Democratic Party establishment and a radical fringe that has amassed significant influence in recent years, Biden seems to be the only one unwilling to set the whole thing on fire and let the chips fall where they may. The likely beneficiary of this scenario, it seems, will be President Donald Trump.