Author’s note: This piece reflects the opinions of the Editorial Page Editors and Senior Opinion Editors of The Michigan Daily, not those of the Editorial Board.
The results are in: Former Vice President Joe Biden has taken Michigan. His strong support from populous counties like Wayne and Oakland, as well as an endorsement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, have no doubt contributed to this outcome.
On Feb. 23, before the Michigan Primary, The Michigan Daily Editorial Board endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for Democratic presidential candidate. Following a long, in-depth discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of the possible candidates at the time, the Editorial Board came to the conclusion that Sanders best represented the interests of our student body and remained the only candidate who was uniquely equipped to defeat President Donald Trump’s incumbency. The senator’s policies regarding climate change, universal healthcare and forgiveness of student debt are the main factors that led to this conclusion.
In the weeks following this endorsement, the Opinion Desk stands by the Editorial Board’s decision. Within Washtenaw County and especially the University of Michigan, it appears Sanders enjoys a great amount of support. As demonstrated by his heavily attended campaign rally on the Diag this past Sunday, the senator maintains a passionate stronghold among voters in the Ann Arbor area. The results of Super Tuesday, while undoubtedly disappointing for the Sanders campaign, greatly narrowed the playing field of potential nominees. With only Sanders and Biden emerging as viable contenders, it was clear that Sanders remained a strong option for Tuesday’s primary in Michigan.
In a county that was comparatively supportive of Sanders last night, it is important to refrain from demonizing Biden moving into the general election. In endorsement discussions, no member of the Editorial Board ultimately put their support behind the former vice president. However, we were able to discuss as a group his strengths as a candidate, such as his long-standing experience in governmental affairs, history of reaching across the aisle to work with republicans, name familiarity and high polling numbers in the South and among racial minorities.
At this time, it appears as though Biden will be the Democratic Party’s nominee come the general election. With that in consideration, it is important for Democrats to rally behind Biden should he win the nomination and keep the characteristics that may allow him to win the presidency in mind. For example, Biden appears to be the most capable candidate to win in areas previously won by Trump in the 2016 election. Additionally, former candidates including former Mayor of South Bend, Ind., Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Former Representative Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., have all endorsed Joe Biden. With the formation of such a coalition, Biden has strengthened his base of supporters going into the general election.
While the Editorial Board’s endorsement did not match up with the results of the state of Michigan, they should not discourage all U-M and Ann Arbor voters from staying passionate about the election. Voter turnout is expected to rise in the 2020 elections compared to previous years, and we encourage our community to participate in the heightened political engagement. And even if you won’t be voting for your ideal candidate in November, the only thing worse than that is not voting at all.