Bernie’s Student Army Learns to Live with Biden

The last straws, Feldman said, were Trump’s threats to quell the unrest with military force and his tweet “when the looting begins, the shooting begins.”

Amira Chowdhury, co-director of a leftist group at the University of Pennsylvania who promised in late March that she “will never endorse or endorse Joe Biden.” he has also met the former vice president. She attributed it to what she called Trump’s failure of leadership, bigotry, and racism in recent weeks and his role as a voter in a decisive state that Trump captured by just over 44,000 votes in 2016.

“With a heavy heart, and with great anger and frustration, and with great anger at the Democratic establishment, I will vote for Biden,” said Chowdhury, whose Penn for Bernie group is now known as Penn Justice Democrats.

Biden, 77, still has a way to go with all the younger voters, a demographic cohort he struggled with to gain traction during the primary season. Chowdhury’s organization, for example, has refused to formally support the alleged Democratic candidate.
But recent polls suggest that Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his response to the assassination of George Floyd and subsequent protests has softened resistance to Biden among younger voters.

In early April, according to POLITICO / Morning Consult polls, Biden had the support of 48.5 percent of voters between the ages of 18-29. By early June, that percentage had increased to 53 percent.

A Global Strategy Group / NextGen America poll of young voters also saw support for Biden’s rise after the first wave of protests. Biden’s lead over Trump among youth ages 18 to 34 increased from 18 points between May 20 and 23, to 27 points between May 29 and June 3.

Andrew Baumann, senior vice president of Global Strategy Group, a Democratic polling firm, said Trump’s polarization The rhetoric about racial justice pushed an important issue for young voters to the forefront of their electoral calculation.

“It is the problem in which they already saw the greatest distinction between the candidates, because they understand that Trump is a racist who has no interest in changing and addressing systemic racism in this country,” said Baumann, who oversaw the investigation of young voters from the report. . “But it also gave a rocket boost to that. Trump’s response has made it even clearer how dangerous it is for them. “

Baumann said he has seen qualitative and quantitative evidence that young voters are shifting to Biden due to Trump’s handling of the protests, even in cases where his opinion of Biden has not changed dramatically.

Hayley Mon Goy, a third-year student at Florida State University who supported Sanders in the Democratic primary, agreed that Trump’s response to protests against racism and police brutality solidified his decision to vote for Biden, even though it was far from his first choice.

“Looking at Trump now, he has really shown his true colors in how he handles the situation in the country, not only with the coronavirus, but with all the protests,” said Mon Goy. “As a progressive, even if people don’t like Biden, it pushes them to vote for him.”

Other university activists say they are looking for more at Biden because they trust the 77-year-old man could handle the Covid-19 crisis better than Trump.

“The coronavirus pandemic definitely made me feel like Biden would be a more responsible leader in office,” said Bhargav Tata, the Georgia state founder for Bernie. “But regarding the mass protests, one thing that is holding me back is Joe Biden’s history with racism.”

Tata, who is transferring to New York University this fall but will cast his vote in Georgia, said he is “60 percent” certain that he will vote for Biden.

Noting Biden’s adoption of parts of Sanders’ free college plan, as well as Biden’s gun safety efforts and clean energy promises, Students for Biden coordinator Lubna Sebastian said left-wing college students You can find a home in Biden’s camp.

“It is really important to realize that many of the policies that Joe is talking about, and his vision for the United States, is very progressive,” Sebastian said.

There are still quite a few supporters of college Sanders who are not convinced.

“Just in the moment [Sanders dropped out], I was very much in the air as to whether or not I would vote for Joe Biden, ”said Joey Rougas, a sophomore at Creighton University. “But seeing Joe Biden’s response to the first coronavirus pandemic, and then his response to the recent protests around police brutality, I don’t think I’m going to vote for him because I think his response has been very lackluster.”

Esau Delgado, a third-year student at the University of Michigan who led the Students for Bernie chapter at his school, is another student who says he recently stopped voting for Biden. He pointed to Tara Reade’s sexual assault charge as cause for his suspicion of Biden.

“But on the other hand, I know I need to do my part and obviously Joe Biden is better for me than Donald Trump,” Delgado said, noting that he will likely make a decision on election day.

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