As a new round of Democratic primaries approaches with six states, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Washington and North Dakota, going to the polls on 10 March, the two main contenders, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, have intensified their attacks on each other both in rallies and in broadcasted ads.
Senator Sanders of Vermont chose to focus on Joe Biden's perceived status as a representative of an "old" political establishment, while posing himself as a revolutionist representing the young, workers and some minority groups. This comes after Sanders demonstrated confident victories in Nevada and California with strong support from Hispanics.
"You cannot defeat Trump with the same-old, same old kind of politics of yesteryear. What we need is a new politics that brings working class people and young people into our political movement", Sanders said.
Among other points of Sanders' criticism of his opponent were Biden's history of supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement, which arguably sucked away jobs from the US, and his opposition to federally funded abortions – a stance that the former vice president recently disavowed.
"I think we need a candidate that can be trusted on this issue. I am proud to tell you that I am 100% pro-choice", Sanders said of his stance on abortions.
The Vermont senator's chief rival mainly defended his positions from Sanders' attacks via TV and internet ads. Biden namely dismissed the senator's attacks on his previous support for cutting Social Security benefits and claimed that he will actually increase and "protect" them.
Biden went on to criticise Sanders' constant aggression against him, arguing that it only plays into the hands of President Donald Trump, and called on the Democratic Party to unite behind his candidacy. In his ads, Biden accuses Sanders of failing to accept his defeat in 2016 and thus depriving Hillary Clinton, the nominee at that time, of votes and letting Trump win.
The allies of the former vice president also tried to neutralise the Vermont senator's anti-establishment message by reminding him about the strong support that Biden enjoys from the African-American community.
"Senator Sanders is on TV today with negative attack ads and consistently saying the establishment is teaming against him […] so as he rails against the establishment, I did not know that African Americans in the South were considered part of the establishment", Biden campaign co-chairman House Representative Cedric Richmond said.
In 2007, Joe Biden appeared on Meet the Press to say that Social Security and Medicare cuts should be “on the table." 8/8 pic.twitter.com/Mj2kMTE4Vl— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 7, 2020
This, however, didn't stop Sanders from renewing his offensive on Biden's talking points, once again questioning the former vice president's plans for the future of the Social Security system in the US, this time on Twitter.
The two rivals will be meeting tete-a-tete during the next debate in Phoenix on 15 March right after another round of primaries on 10 March. Apart from them there is only one remaining contender left - Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who so far has only managed to win two pledged candidates and is likely to miss the Phoenix debate due to the DNC's qualification requirements.