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.
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.