Joe Biden, fresh off a landslide victory in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, took aim at fellow candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during a series of appearances on Sunday morning political shows.
The former vice president warned that Sanders winning the Democratic nomination could translate to big losses for Democratic congressional candidates during the November election.
“He’ll have great trouble bringing along other senators, keeping the House of Representatives, winning back the Senate and down-ballot initiatives,” Biden told ABC News’ “This Week.”
Biden told “Fox News Sunday” that he will support Sanders if he’s the nominee, even though he doesn’t believe it would be a winning ticket for Democrats.
“It makes it very difficult down-ballot,” Biden said. “And this is no great secret to anybody: You can’t run as an independent socialist ― now a democratic socialist ― and ... expect to do very well in the states we have to win.”
“I believe that if I’m on the top of the ticket, we’ll win back the Senate and we’ll keep the House,” he added. “Look, the people aren’t looking for revolution, they’re looking for results.”
Sanders, a progressive candidate calling for a “political revolution” to topple President Donald Trump’s reelection bid in November, is narrowly leading the Democratic pack of presidential hopefuls in terms of national delegates after strong showings in the first few presidential primary contests.
Biden bounced back in the race on Saturday, winning the South Carolina primary with 48.5% of the vote. Sanders came in a distant second with 19.9%.
Another moderate presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, has also questioned Sanders’ ability to protect the Democrats’ majority in the House, where voters in swing states helped flip the chamber in 2018.
“If you want to keep the House in Democratic hands, you might want to check with the people who actually turned the House blue: 40 Democrats who are not running on your platform,” Buttigieg told Sanders at the Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina, on Tuesday. “They are running away from your platform as fast as they possibly can.”
But Sanders pushed back on criticism from Biden and other moderates during an appearance on “This Week” later on Sunday.
“You’ve ... called yourself an existential threat to the Democratic establishment. I guess that includes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrats in the House and the Senate,” said host George Stephanopoulos. “Don’t you need their support to win in November?”
Stephanopoulos added that Biden was on the show earlier claiming that Sanders is a “burden” for House Democrats and Democratic Senate candidates.
“That’s absolutely untrue,” Sanders said. “I’m an existential threat to the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. For too long, the Democratic Party and leaders have been going to rich people’s homes raising money and they’ve ignored the working class and the middle class and the low-income people in this country. That has got to change.”
It is my view that every Democratic candidate for president ― no matter who wins this nominating process, clearly I hope it’s me ― we’re going to come together because we all understand that Donald Trump is the greatest threat to this country in the modern history of this country. ...
The trick is, which candidate can reach out and bring new people into the political process, who can create the excitement and the energy for young people to come in? I think that’s our campaign.