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The Democratic Establishment Is Pulling Out All the Stops for Biden

A deluge of endorsements on the eve of Super Tuesday to stop Bernie Sanders' momentum.
March 2, 2020, 11:12pm
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking during a campaign rally Thursday, March 2, 2020, at Texas Southern University in Houston.

If you’re an elected official with a D next to your name, there’s a good chance you just endorsed Joe Biden.

Many of the Democratic Party’s most powerful figures are scrambling to endorse Biden, culminating in a pair of major endorsements from two primary rivals who just exited the race, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D).

They join a who’s who of Democratic Party leaders as the remnants of the Democratic establishment circle the wagons around Biden, the one actual Democrat left in the race that they see with a chance of winning the nomination — and the one who appears to have the best shot at stopping Bernie Sanders.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), one of the party’s biggest powerbrokers, announced his support of Biden on Monday. So did Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a woman with buzz as a potential vice presidential pick.

READ: Amy Klobuchar drops out of the presidential race

They join Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, who both backed Biden in recent days. So did Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), whose endorsement helped power Biden’s lopsided South Carolina victory. Reps. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), a quintet of lawmakers from Super Tuesday states, all endorsed Biden since his South Carolina victory Saturday night.

Former Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) jumped aboard as well, as did former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, a pair of Obama cabinet members. Dozens of state lawmakers and mayors have joined the rush since Saturday night.

The flood of endorsements is very likely an orchestrated effort from Biden’s campaign. Many of the people backing him now he worked with for decades as a senator and vice president, or got his endorsement as they ran for office in 2018. But this outpouring of support wouldn’t have been possible without his big South Carolina win and the moves from Klobuchar and Buttigieg to exit the race.

READ: Bernie has a plan to knock Elizabeth Warren out of the race

And it certainly helps that Biden is the only real Democrat left in the Democratic primary with an obvious path to the nomination. Both Bernie Sanders nor Michael Bloomberg have spent decades as proud non-Democrats (Sanders still doesn’t describe himself as a Democrat), and the Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is on the ropes.

Biden has been drilling on that point in recent days.

“If the Democrats want a nominee who’s a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, a proud Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat, join us,” he bellowed during a Dallas rally Monday afternoon. “We can win big or lose big. That’s the choice that’s on us now.”

Klobuchar and Buttigieg will both endorse Biden, according to sources, a move to help consolidate the moderate wing of the party heading into Super Tuesday’s crucial elections. According to reports, they’ll both be at Biden’s Houston rally Monday night.

READ: Biden's finally raising money after South Carolina. But it's too late to matter for Super Tuesday

All this rush from so many Democratic lawmakers to Biden will undoubtedly draw criticism from the Sanders wing of the party — Sanders is fond of railing against the establishment, and it won’t help calm growing concerns from Sanders supporters that those forces will try to steal the nomination from Sanders. Having the entire Democratic establishment behind her only helped Hillary Clinton so much. And the party’s biggest name, former President Obama, is still steadfastly staying on the sidelines.

But as Biden looks to slingshot hard into Super Tuesday, he’s receiving almost all the help he can get from fellow lawmakers.

Cover: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking during a campaign rally Thursday, March 2, 2020, at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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