Biden gets support from Hispanic Caucus
Joe Biden’s presidential bid got a boost Monday from one of the leading Latinos in Congress, with the chairman of the Hispanic Caucus’ political arm endorsing the former vice president as Democrats’ best hope to defeat President Donald Trump.
“People realize it’s a matter of life and death for certain communities,” Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., told The Associated Press in an interview, explaining the necessity of halting Trump’s populist nationalism, hard-line immigration policies and xenophobic rhetoric that the California congressman called cruel.
Cárdenas’ is the chairman of Bold PAC, the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
His announcement follows presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ weekend of mass rallies with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman congresswoman from New York who has become a face of the progressive movement and a key supporter for the Vermont senator’s second White House bid.
The dueling surrogates highlight a fierce battle for the Hispanic vote between Sanders and Biden, whose campaigns each see the two candidates as the leading contenders. Biden leads the field among Democratic voters who are non-white, a group that includes Democratic voters who are Hispanic, with Sanders not far behind, according to national polling. Another top national contender, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, draws less support from non-white voters. There are few recent national polls with a sufficient sample of Hispanic Democratic voters to analyze them independently.
The dynamics also demonstrate the starkly different approaches that Biden and Sanders
take to the larger campaign. Biden is capitalizing on his 36-year Senate career and two terms as Barack Obama’s vice president to corral Democratic power players across the party’s various demographic slices. Cárdenas joins four other Hispanic caucus members who’ve already backed Biden, a show of establishment support in contrast to some Latino activists who’ve battered Biden over the Obama administration’s deportation record. Sanders, true to his long Capitol Hill tenure as an outsider and democratic socialist, eschews the establishment with promises of a political revolution, just as he did when he finished as runner-up for Democrats’ 2016 nomination.
Together, it’s an argument on politics and policy at the crux of Democrats’ 2020 nominating fight.
Sanders and his supporters like Ocasio-Cortez argue that existing political structures cannot help working-class Americans, immigrants or anyone else. That argument, they insist, can draw enough new, irregular voters to defeat Trump in November.
“We need to be honest here,” retorted Texas Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, a Biden supporter whose congressional district includes part of the U.S.-Mexico border. “If Joe Biden loses the primary, Democrats will lose in 2020.”