The most commonly expressed answer to this is a big fat no. With former Vice President Biden winning big in the last few caucuses, taking 10 of 14 states on Super Tuesday and another three out of four this past Tuesday, it looks like Vermont Senator and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders is pretty much out of the race.
In fact, these recent losses have given many in the party to consider Biden as the official nominee, claiming that there is no hope for Bernie. Some have even suggested that the upcoming debates should be canceled, and the primaries ended so the party can unite under Biden to get ready for their fight against Trump in November.
But Sanders isn’t quite willing to give up yet.
And he has managed to win a few states, California with its 416 delegates being one of them. This, as well as Biden’s seeming decline in mental health, has given quite a few Bernie fans the hope that he can still pull off a win. And with an upcoming Democratic debate, the Sanders team is looking forward to making a good impression.
As Forbes reported, “After Biden won Michigan, Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’ national press secretary, tweeted, ‘I, for one, am extremely excited about this debate all the moderates are panicking about. The delegate count difference is only about 150 points out of 4051 total. America finally gets to see Biden defend his ideas, or lack thereof, on Sunday.’”
And she does have a point. This will be the first one-on-one debate of the election, giving each candidate ample speaking time and the opportunity to do so while being seated. And for Biden, that could spell disaster.
We know how much he’s prone to making mistakes and sometimes wholly puts his foot in his mouth, even when there isn’t anyone to debate with. Here, Bernie Sanders will be there every second to cast doubt on his words, point out his gaffes, and call out his infamous blunders.
And as Gray says, Biden has not done an excellent job of defending his own positions in the past. In fact, most debates and confrontations have been between other candidates, leaving Biden out. But Sunday will pit him solely against Sanders, who is very defensive of his own ideas.
Plus, as Representative Ro Khanna says, the debate could change everything.
According to The Hill, Khanna said, “There’s no doubt that the polling and momentum right now are with Vice President Biden. And Sen. Sanders acknowledges that. But he does believe that debates in the past have changed, dramatically, the race. I think he’s earned the right to make his case at the debate.”
Khanna continued, “There are a lot of things he is passionate about in his vision for America, and he feels he owes it to the millions of working-class people who have supported him to continue to raise those issues and share his vision.”
But this debate puts both Bernie and Biden on somewhat shaky ground.
For Bernie, this may be the last real chance he has to make the tides turn in his favor. However, the way to go about that is tricky and could have disastrous consequences for both Sanders and the party.
If he chooses to hit Biden with everything he’s got, he risks alienating himself even further from the moderate left. But it might be the only real shot he has. In addition, if he tries this and loses anyway, it could spell disaster for Biden, who will have to face Trump as an injured man in the general election. And if Bernie gets nasty, his fans will be less likely to support Biden once he has claimed the nomination.
Up until now, Sanders has taken it easy on Biden, refusing to attack him directly. And it has been a wise choice. Even now, he seems not to want to throw anything harsh Biden’s way.
On Wednesday at a news conference, Sanders referenced the upcoming debate as a time to discuss issues with a “friend.” He even listed all the topics he plans to cover, almost as if giving Biden a cheat sheet to prepare.
But could this be another small jab at Biden’s feeble mind? After all, his campaign already suggested that Biden’s weakness is the reason for chairs in the debate. And if Biden is given all the talking points and still blunders it up, Sanders will come out smelling like a rose.