NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

President Obama endorses Joe Biden

For­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma has for­mal­ly endorsed his for­mer vice pres­i­dent, Joe Biden. Oba­ma, who has avoid­ed pub­licly favor­ing any can­di­date in the Democ­rats’ pri­ma­ry process, came out in sup­port of Biden a day after Bernie Sanders appeared on a joint live stream with the for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent to pledge his sup­port, defin­i­tive­ly end­ing the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial primary.

On Tues­day morn­ing, Biden for Pres­i­dent released a twelve-minute video of the nominee’s for­mer boss, in which Oba­ma praised Biden’s expe­ri­ence, per­son­al­i­ty and lead­er­ship skills: “Choos­ing Joe to be my vice pres­i­dent was one of the best deci­sions I ever made, and he became a close friend.” Oba­ma repeat­ed many of the talk­ing points that the Biden cam­paign has been push­ing since he entered the race last year, recount­ing the var­i­ous pro­grams that Biden man­aged as vice pres­i­dent, his work­ing class roots, and his expe­ri­ence in inter­na­tion­al affairs.

Joe Biden with Barack Obama

Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and Vice Pres­i­dent Biden are famous­ly close friends (Source: Daniel Schwen, repro­duced under Cre­ative Commons)

Oba­ma also assured view­ers that Biden would restore com­pe­tence and dig­ni­ty to the White House by appoint­ing offi­cials who “know how to gov­ern” and will put the Amer­i­can people’s inter­ests before their own – an obvi­ous dig at the cur­rent incom­pe­ten­cy and cor­rup­tion of Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion (although Oba­ma refrained from men­tion­ing the incum­bent by name through­out the video).

Oba­ma also made sure to cred­it the oth­er can­di­dates in the nom­i­na­tion race, sin­gling out Bernie Sanders for par­tic­u­lar praise: “Bernie’s an Amer­i­can orig­i­nal, a man who has devot­ed his life to giv­ing voice to work­ing people’s hopes, dreams and frus­tra­tions.” Con­tin­u­ing the Biden campaign’s efforts to reach out to dis­en­chant­ed pro­gres­sives, Oba­ma argued that Biden has the “most pro­gres­sive plat­form” of any Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee in history.

For all his praise of Bernie Sanders and his pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics, the for­mer pres­i­dent was report­ed­ly a key fig­ure in per­suad­ing Sanders to drop out of the race when it became appar­ent that the Sen­a­tor from Ver­mont would be unable to catch up to Biden’s del­e­gate count. Oba­ma has spent almost a year work­ing behind the scenes to strength­en the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty up and down the bal­lot in 2020, and ensur­ing uni­ty among the party’s diverse factions.

Obama’s endorse­ment came the same day as the results from the high­ly con­tro­ver­sial Wis­con­sin pri­ma­ry came in. Biden won the state eas­i­ly, but a more sur­pris­ing result came down-bal­lot, with vot­ers elect­ing a lib­er­al judge over a Trump-backed right-wing incum­bent to the state Supreme Court.

This result came in spite of an elec­tion held under the cloud of COVID-19 and rigged heav­i­ly in favor of Repub­li­cans by the GOP-con­trolled state legislature.

Wis­con­sin was a key state in the 2016 elec­tion, one of three nar­row vic­to­ries that swung the elec­toral col­lege in Don­ald Trump’s favor.

The fact that a lib­er­al under­dog can­di­date can win against all the odds bodes well for Democ­rats look­ing for­ward to November’s gen­er­al election.

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