The pandemic slows Biden’s rise in the campaign for the US presidential election | International

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Democratic pre-candidate Joe Biden at an appearance in Wilmington, Delaware.
Democratic pre-candidate Joe Biden at an appearance in Wilmington, Delaware.TRACIE VAN AUKEN / EL PAÍS

The coronavirus has overturned the plans of the entire planet. Joe Biden’s, too. The favorite for the Democratic nomination, sheltered at home to comply with the authorities’ isolation recommendations, faces an increasingly complex scenario ahead of the November elections. Donald Trump, who refers to himself as “a war president,” controls the news cycle with extensive press conferences and enjoys popularity that has only peaked since he arrived at the White House. The new game board is taking its toll on the former vice president, judging by the latest polls. In February, he was seven points ahead of Trump and, now, according to the same poll by ABC Y The Washington Post, are practically tied (47% -49%). Meanwhile, bookmakers believe that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, one of the most applauded politicians during this crisis, already beats Bernie Sanders as the candidate with the best chance of winning the nomination.

Meanwhile, the Democratic campaign has been overshadowed by events. A reporter asked Sanders in mid-March about the status of his campaign, after he racked up several losses in a row against Biden. “I am dealing with a bloody world crisis,” the Vermont senator responded, regarding the pandemic. The havoc the outbreak is causing has frozen the Democratic Party campaign. The team of the veteran socialist said last Tuesday that if a debate is held in April, he plans to participate, clearing doubts about a possible abandonment of the race. However, the National Democratic Committee (DNC) has not established a media partner, place, or date, information that is usually released a month in advance.

The DNC promised 12 debates at the start of the Democratic race, in which there were more than twenty candidates. Now that for the first time there are only two contenders in the running, the missing debate is in the air. The last one, held on March 15, was moved from Arizona to Washington, DC so that the Biden and Sanders teams did not have to travel in circumstances requiring travel avoidance. Then-candidate Tulsi Gabbard did not meet the requirements to be on the set, making her the first face-to-face among the nomination leaders. Sanders came wounded to that encounter after accumulating defeats in key Super Tuesday states. Since then, the voter trend has continued to favor Biden in most territories.

The fact that Sanders wants to participate in the possible next appointment dislodges anyone who awaits his retirement, such as several strategists of the party, given the few options of comeback waiting for his retirement. The former vice president takes advantage of more than 300 delegates and polls indicate that the difference will only widen as the remaining states vote. Biden doesn’t go into the mud about when his running partner should clear the way for him. “It is your decision,” he said a few days ago.

The former vice president’s efforts have focused on conveying a presidential speech on how the coronavirus crisis should be handled, emphasizing his experience and disagreements with Trump’s handling. But the new reality of the campaign, basically only through the Internet, added to the fact that he does not currently have a public office, has lowered his profile and the momentum –The momentum- that it got after the triumph of several relevant States is extinguished. To counter this, he has built a television studio at his Wilmington, Delaware home. From there he gives interviews and talks to his followers live. But the scenario is still adverse. Last week, for example, television networks broadcast Governor Cuomo’s appearance, instead of his message.

In another attempt to gain a presence in the massive economic and social crisis, the Biden campaign launched a powerful advertising campaign around Trump’s response to the coronavirus. The Republican has reached his maximum popularity level, with 49% approval, according to the Gallup poll published last Wednesday. The rebound was mainly due to an increase in support from Democrats (+13) and independents (+8). The study also revealed that 60% support the president’s response to this crisis.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, criticized Trump’s reaction to the pandemic on Sunday, saying “his denial at the beginning was deadly” and that while he “plays the violin, people are dying.” “She is a sick puppy … what she said is terrible,” the president said on Monday morning on the Fox & Friends program. “The numbers in my surveys are the highest they have had because of it,” he added.

Sanders, meanwhile, has taken advantage of his role as senator to discuss with experts via streaming the proposals that should be approved in Congress to alleviate the crisis. This was before the Senate unanimously approved the largest bailout package in United States history – $ 2 trillion. The upper house is now in recess until April 20, which can work for or against the candidate, who no longer has the required rostrum of Washington. His fundraising campaign team urged his supporters via email to distribute their donations among five organizations dedicated to helping those affected by the crisis.

The coronavirus has not only disrupted the campaign, but also the electoral calendar. At least seven states have postponed their primaries to June 2, making the date the second with the most delegates at stake after Super Tuesday. For now, 10 states and the District of Columbia plan to go to the polls that day. Cuomo said Saturday that New York could move its primaries from April 28 to June 23. The New York Times points out that after the original date there should already be a resounding winner in the Democratic race. However, if they are moved to June and there is no casualty, the winner – predictably Joe Biden – will not have too much time to campaign as the party’s official candidate, nor will he have hard-hitting wins along the way that will attract media attention. . Another fuzzy variable in its own crisis.

Information about the coronavirus

– Here you can follow the last hour on the evolution of the pandemic

– The coronavirus map: this is how cases grow day by day and country by country

– Questions and answers about coronavirus

– Guide to action against the disease

– If you have symptoms, these are the phones that have been enabled in each country in Latin America.

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