Biden and Sanders Get Personal

Biden and Sanders Get Personal

( – On Sunday night, front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) met for what is likely to be the last Democratic presidential debate. The Sanders campaign has fallen behind in the race for delegates after a number of crushing losses in the two Super Tuesday contests as moderates consolidated quickly around Biden.

This led to a change in tactics that created many personal, tense, and confrontational moments as Sanders tried to reposition his campaign against Biden.

Sanders showed no signs of defeat as he aggressively attacked Biden’s record and questioned if he could generate the enthusiasm needed to defeat President Trump.

Biden Shifts Left

Biden’s main argument was that people are “looking for results, not a revolution.” Yet, it was he who moved to the left instead of Sanders moderating on policy issues. It was clear that Biden was making concessions to the far left in an attempt to persuade Sanders to exit the race.

Two platforms that Biden had previously rejected, but now advocates for, are free public education and bankruptcy. Previously, Biden supported the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA), which denied student loans from being discharged under bankruptcy. Recently, Biden embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) position that student loan debt should be shielded under bankruptcy law.

In additional concessions to Sanders, Biden also said there would be no new fracking allowed under his administration and that in the first 100 days of his presidency “no one will be deported at all.”

Sanders Attacks Biden on Super PACs and Campaign Spending

In a particularly heated moment, the two candidates went after each other for accepting money from super PACs. Sanders encouraged Biden to get rid of them because they were running “very ugly negative ads against me.” Biden then asked Sanders to get rid of the nine super PACs that are working on his behalf.

The argument by both candidates is moot.

A campaign cannot tell a Super PAC to suspend operations or campaigning on their behalf.

According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Super PACs are independent committees and cannot coordinate or communicate with political campaigns. They must remain independent.

Unlike a political campaign that has a $2,800 maximum individual contribution, Super PACs can receive unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, labor unions, and even other PACs. However, funds raised by a PAC cannot be directly given to support a candidate’s campaign. They are for a PAC’s campaign which may or may not support a candidate with monies raised by the PAC to create TV ads, mailers, or any other kind of independent political activity.

Healthcare in Light of Coronavirus

Sanders attempted to elicit support for Medicare for All due to the coronavirus outbreak. He said America’s current system leaves the country unprepared due to the thousands of private healthcare plans. He further complained that the US spends double per capita than any other nation on healthcare and prescription drugs.

Biden shot back and said that Italy has a single-payer system and it isn’t working there. He further stated that the coronavirus has “nothing to do with Bernie’s Medicare for All,” which doesn’t stand a chance of passing in Congress and couldn’t be funded. Biden accused Sanders multiple times of not explaining how he might pay for Medicare for All, to which Sanders only replied: “that’s not quite true.”

Biden further elaborated that, whether or not a person has insurance, people can get free testing for coronavirus. He also said that the House bill passed early Saturday morning to help those affected by the virus was the correct approach. After some back and forth, Biden reminded everyone that the situation is “bigger than any one of us.”

The final demonstration of who won the back and forth debate will be revealed on Tuesday. Four large states and their delegates will be up for grabs. If Biden has a strong showing in Illinois, Ohio, Arizona, and Florida, then it could almost guarantee he will be the Democratic nominee.

By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor

Copyright 2020,