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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Tuesday’s party balloting in three populous states went heavily for the former vice president, who has ridden quickening momentum from also-ran to leader of the pack. The most recent results were hardly a surprise: The Real Clear Politics polling average showed Mr. Biden up 56.7 percent to 33.8 percent over Bernie Sanders prior to the balloting, and the FiveThirtyEight election forecast put the odds of a Biden ticket at better than 99-1.

Florida, with its large Cuban population, had eyes only for Mr. Biden, who took 62 percent of the vote to Mr. Sanders’ 23 percent. Joe also won Illinois and Arizona easily. Ohio postponed its balloting owing to COVID-19 fears.


With 441 delegates at stake, those states’ elections collectively apportioned 22 percent of the 1,991 needed for the party’s nomination, and they raised the number of delegates selected thus far during the campaign to 58 percent of the total. Only the primaries in six additional states on April 28 will put more delegates on the block — 663 — if Bernie hasn’t thrown in the (well-disinfected) towel already.

Mr. Biden’s big March has trampled the Democratic field into a two-man race. In recent weeks, the 2020 election has isolated one predominant issue: Coping with coronavirus.

As President Trump led his COVID-19 task force before the cameras last week to reassure a frightened nation, Mr. Biden threw shade on his prescriptions with a televised roll-out of his own blueprint. The Biden plan includes: “A decisive public health response that ensures the wide availability of free testing; the elimination of all cost barriers to preventive care and treatment for COVID-19; the development of a vaccine; and the full deployment and operation of necessary supplies, personnel, and facilities.”

Great minds think alike or, at least, crib from each other: The Biden plan has more than a passing resemblance to the president’s. Mr. Trump has reported daily to the nation on progress in cutting red tape hampering testing, and drive-thru testing stations are being erected to identify contagion-carriers. Major insurance companies agreed to a White House request last week to cover all costs for testing and treatment of the virus. Numerous pharmaceutical firms are working with federal health agencies to accelerate vaccine development. And the president on Friday presented the CEOs of major retailers vowing to keep the nation’s store shelves stocked throughout the crisis.

And Mr. Biden’s plan for “a decisive economic response that starts with emergency paid leave for all those affected by the outbreak” is already incorporated into a $1 trillion virus relief package working its way through Congress.

As for Mr. Sanders, he touts the coronavirus pandemic as proof for the need of his long-championed Medicare for All, a nationalized health care program funded by federal taxes. The Vermont senator argued during a Sunday night debate that anything less than a government takeover of the health industry would leave the nation persistently vulnerable to sudden outbreaks of contagion: “One of the reasons that we are unprepared, and have been unprepared, is we don’t have a system,” said Mr. Sanders. “We’ve got thousands of private insurance plans. That is not a system that is prepared to provide health care to all people in a good year, without the epidemic.”

Americans, meanwhile, are still waiting for Bernie to hold up a socialist system that has provided “health care to all people” with better outcomes than their own.


Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.