How “Never Bernie” voters got together with Biden and changed elementary school

Apr 1, 2020 10:55 PM ET

Rarely has political momentum slowed as quickly as in the first half of March, when Mr. Sanders seriously lost to Mr. Biden before the corona virus slowed down. There are known reasons for the shift: Moderate candidates such as Mr. Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota gathered around Mr. Biden. He enjoyed demographic advantages, especially among black voters. And turnout among young voters and liberal non-voters did not increase and could not transform the electorate as Mr. Sanders had hoped.

Apart from ideology, race and turnout, one of the main reasons for Mr. Biden’s success has little to do with his candidacy. He became a vehicle for Democrats like Ms. King, who supported other candidates, but found the prospect of Mr. Sanders and his demands for political revolution so uncomfortable that they put aside concerns against Mr. Biden and instead supported him.

In telephone interviews, dozens of Democrats, mostly over 50 years old, who live in major March primary states like Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan and Florida, said that Mr. Biden’s appeal went beyond his case of beating President Trump. It was his chance to overtake Mr. Sanders, the only candidate in the vast democratic field whom they found uncomfortable for personal and political reasons.

For some, like Amy Siegel of Natick, Mass., The anti-Sanders sentiment related to the 2016 democratic primary when she supported Hillary Clinton and believed that Mr. Sanders was running a split campaign that wounded her before the general election. This time Ms. Siegel, 57, initially supported Mr. Buttigieg. But she voted for Mr. Biden in her country’s area code, which was held on Super Tuesday, days after Mr. Buttigieg got out and approved the former vice president. Ms. Siegel said that she had decided to change her voice before Mr. Buttigieg left the race.

Others, such as Beatrice Abetti from Bonita Springs, Florida, switched to Mr. Biden after Ms. Warren stopped campaigning and saw Mr. Sanders as a general election risk. Ms. Abetti, 69, an author and former professor, said that centrist Republicans, whom she believed to be crucial to winning the electoral college, considered Mr. Sanders to be a left-wing party, even if she supported his policies.

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