Biden defeats Sanders in Wisconsin primary held during pandemic

Nearly a week after Wisconsin voters headed to the polls amid the COVID-19 pandemic, election tallies released Monday showed Joe Biden overwhelmingly defeated Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary. of State.

The contest was not consecutive — Biden had already won enough delegates to almost certainly win the Democratic nomination by the time the state’s primary took place on Tuesday. Sanders ended his campaign the next day and endorsed Biden on Monday.

But the election has drawn intense scrutiny, taking place amid the coronavirus crisis that has killed more than 23,000 people in the United States and delayed in-person elections in 16 states and Puerto Rico.

Republican leaders in Wisconsin successfully fought off Democratic efforts to delay the election, which forced voters to wear masks to line up sometimes for hours. Some have complained about not receiving mail-in ballots.

Although the Democratic nomination was nearly decided, there was a critical state Supreme Court Judiciary election on the ballot that will impact legal decisions in the state for the next decade. This GOP-led court overturned the Democratic governor’s attempt to postpone the state’s primary. Conservative Justice Daniel Kelly, who was on the ballot, backed out of the case but tweeted that the election must go ahead. In another lawsuit, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against extending the deadline for mail-in voting.

Kelly ended up losing the seat to her liberal rival Jill Karofsky.

Skirmishes in Wisconsin offer a glimpse of potential battles in the November election. Democrats are pushing for more mail-in voting, while President Trump alleges, without offering any evidence, that expanding mail-in voting would be fertile ground for voter fraud.

The only other election in recent days was Alaska’s mail-only primary on Saturday, which Biden won by 55% to Sanders’ 45%.

Sanders is no longer seeking the nomination, but he continues to compete for delegates through the Democratic National Convention. This would give him and his supporters more leverage over the party platform on issues such as Medicare for All and nominating rules.

“Honestly, these are important for the Democratic Party to say in one place what it stands for, what it is willing to fight for,” said Neil Sroka, spokesperson for Democracy for America, a PAC liberal who backed Sanders. Although the contestant is not bound by the platform, “it’s quite rare that we make incremental moves in a platform and then scale back in the future.”

Sanders supporters have also said having a vocal, contingent force could help ensure Biden doesn’t forget the priorities of the party’s liberal wing and pivot to the center in the general election. It’s a central concern among Sanders supporters such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

“…what I hope won’t happen in this process is that everyone just tries to push it forward and brush up on the real policies – that means the difference between life and death or pay your insulin and not paying for your insulin – just brushing that under the rug as a style aesthetic difference,” she told The New York Times.

Biden has tried to woo Sanders supporters, including calling on Thursday for expanded Medicare eligibility and student debt relief.

Ben Tulchin, Sanders’ pollster, said such measures don’t go far enough. The voice of Sanders supporters is essential in pressuring Biden to adopt more liberal policies, the need for which is underscored by the health and economic needs caused by the coronavirus, he said.

“All of the major issues that Bernie has been talking about for many years have just been brought to light in a harsh and stark way – the real consequences of our rigged economy and our corrupt political system,” Tulchin said before Sanders agreed. Biden. “It’s not just about influencing the platform and some party rules. It’s about making sure the Democratic Party really stands up for the people who are being hammered by this crisis.

The Sanders campaign will continue to make that case in the two dozen states and territories that have yet to hold their nominating contests. Next up is Wyoming’s all-mail primary on Friday.

Times writer Arit John contributed to this report.

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