Former US president Barack Obama has endorsed Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential election through a video message. Obama also showered praise on his old friend and also acknowledges the message of his rival Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
His endorsement comes at the same time as progressive candidate Bernie Sanders, who withdrew from the presidential race a few days ago, also endorsed the Biden campaign thus removing the last formidable opposition for Biden to become the official presidential nominee of the Democratic party.
In supporting Biden the former president also endorsed the core message of the Sanders’ campaign. Calling Joe as someone who would ‘get stuff done’, he said that he had always shared a conviction with Bernie Sanders that “..we have to make America a more fairer, more just and more equitable society.” He also supported one of the major demands of the Sanders’ campaign which was Medicare for All, calling for the expansion of Medicare and that it should not just be made “a right, but a reality for all”.
Although the former president who still enjoys massive public appeal, four year after leaving office, had not shown his support to any of the half a dozen democratic presidential candidates, his endorsement for Joe Biden does not come as a surprise to many. Biden was Obama’s Vice President and they had become close friends during their tenure. In his message, Obama said that making Biden his VP was one of his best decisions.
Both during the latest democratic primary and before, Bernie Sanders’ campaign has always received a high level of support from young and working class people, the same category of Americans who had wholeheartedly supported Barack Obama in 2008. By appealing to them Obama is trying to rally a large progressive and mainstream alliance behind Joe Biden who does not have the same appeal as Sanders or Obama.
Obama spoke of “The ideas” Bernie Sanders has championed, saying that “..the energy and enthusiasm he inspires especially in young people will be critical in moving America in a direction of progress and hope”. He urged the democratic party to be bold in rebuilding the economy and do more than just tinkering around the edges. He also acknowledged the vast inequalities that existed even before the Covid19 pandemic and that there was a need for real structural changes in the society.
In the past, Obama’s similar appeal to the progressive minded and working class voters to support Hillary Clinton for the 2016 presidential election did not bear fruit as many among the working class instead voted for Donald Trump, and many supporters of Bernie Sanders also did not comply as they felt cheated by the Democratic party as it had openly favoured Clinton over Sanders even though he was the only candidate who had the best chance of defeating Donald Trump.