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Joe Biden speaking at a campaign rally

Biden Has a Plan to Win Over Young Progressive Voters

Gettyimages | Scott Olson
By Robin Zabiegalski

Whether young, progressive voters like it or not, Joe Biden is likely to be the Democratic nominee. His decisive wins in the last few primaries have made Sanders's path to the nomination so narrow that it's unlikely he can squeeze through.

That means that young, progressive voters need to decide if they're willing to show up at the polls to vote for Biden. So far, it's not looking good for Biden. He's struggled to connect with young voters and progressive voters don't like his moderate policies.

But Biden has a plan to win these voters over.

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Trouble With Progressive Voters

Protestors at Joe Biden rally
Gettyimages | JEFF KOWALSKY

Biden's policies leave a lot to be desired by progressive voters. He wants to preserve the current healthcare system. He hasn't been supportive of the Green New Deal in the past. He didn't support free or low cost higher education.

And his stances in the past have been decidedly unprogressive. He supported NAFTA. He voted in favor of the Iraq war. He's voted against a woman's right to choose.

Biden's track record and current plans aren't very attractive to the progressive voters he needs to win the White House.

Moving His Campaign Left

Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren
Gettyimages | Win McNamee

If Biden wants to lock down the progressive voters that are currently supporting Sanders, he needs to make some policy shifts that will appeal to their brand of politics. Biden obviously knows this because he's already started to make some shifts.

In the past few weeks, Biden announced his support for tuition-free college for low and middle-income families, student debt relief during bankruptcy, and student debt cancellation during the coronavirus crisis.

These policy shifts are huge for Biden's typically moderate campaign and obviously aimed at pleasing progressive voters.

Meeting With Progressive Organizations

Rally held by progressive group Sunrise Movement
Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chicago_Sunrise_Movement_Rallies_for_a_Green_New_Deal_Chicago_Illinois_2-27-19_6311_(46321496325).jpg

Behind the scenes, the Biden campaign is working hard to win over progressive organizations that can help him reach progressive voters. Organizations championing progressive policies have thrown their support behind Sanders in this primary and the 2016 primary.

But as they come to terms with the fact that Biden will likely be the nominee, these organizations are starting to meet with Biden and attempt to move his platform even further to the left. People close to Biden's campaign said he's considering their policies carefully because he knows he needs progressive voters to show up for him in the general election.

Will His Strategy Work?

Joe Biden
Gettyimages | Drew Angerer

Biden is focused on finding ways to change his platform to appeal to progressive voters. He's trying really hard to listen to their requests, find compromises, and make incremental changes as he can.

The problem is that he has to walk a very fine line between pleasing progressives and alienating his base - older, moderate Democrats. If his platform moves too far to the left, his base may get upset and stay home, or worse vote for Trump. If he doesn't move far enough left, progressive voters are sure to skip the polls in November.

Hopefully, Biden can find the right tweaks to his platform to lock down the progressive vote. Without it, the country may see a repeat of 2016.

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