WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden has officially clinched the 1,991 pledged delegates he needs to be the Democratic Party’s nominee.
Biden swept all seven states holding presidential primaries on Tuesday — Maryland, Indiana, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Montana, South Dakota and Pennsylvania — plus the District of Columbia. He had been inching closer to the delegate number all week as votes continued to be tallied.
In a statement released soon after the needed number was reached, Biden said the country needs leadership.
“This is a difficult time in America’s history. And Donald Trump’s angry, divisive politics is no answer. The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us,” a portion of the statement reads.
In early April, Biden became the presumptive nominee after Sen. Bernie Sanders, his last Democratic opponent still in the race, suspended his presidential campaign. Biden, 77, will become the nominee after beating out one of the largest and most diverse group of Democratic candidates. At one point, there were at least two dozen candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.
In the first early voting states, Biden suffered disappointing losses — which led to doubts from pundits that the former vice president could garner enough support to be the nominee. However, Biden’s campaign was re-energized after a dominating win in South Carolina and continued to rack up big primary wins.
The Democratic National Committee will hold their convention in mid-August, where Biden will officially be nominated to represent their party in the general election.
Over the past several months, President Donald Trump and Biden have already begun the general election fight. The two have criticized each over their responses to the coronavirus pandemic, their relationships with China, and most recently, the protests following the death of George Floyd.
According to recent polling, Biden takes a slight lead over Trump in a head-to-head match up for the general election.
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Biden’s next challenge will be to pick a running mate that can help energize key voters, like young progressives and voters of color, particularly black voters. Both are key voting blocs for the Democratic Party to engage in the general election.
Some Democrats have suggested that Biden needs to pick a black woman or Latina for his vice presidential choice in an effort to highlight the party’s diversity and reward the steadfast support of voters of color that Democrats need to win.
Biden will also need to engage young, progressive voters, many of whom supported Sanders. Over the past several weeks, Biden has worked with Sanders on policy working groups that include allies of both men to create initiatives for the Biden campaign surrounding climate change, criminal justice reform, the economy, education, health care and immigration.
Young progressive leaders have said that it’s a step in the right direction, but have also been cautious about how their organizations are going to support Biden in the general election.
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