Joseph R. Biden may have sewn up the Democratic presidential nomination, but that has not translated into unity in a party where a sizable chunk of voters is still turning out to vote against him in primary elections.
In Tuesday’s primary in the District of Columbia, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who dropped out of the race three months ago, won 12% of the primary vote, and Sen. Bernard Sanders captured another 10%.
In Rhode Island, Mr. Sanders collected 15%. In Pennsylvania, he got 18%. In the slate of contests last week, Mr. Biden struggled to top 75%.
With the country roiled by racial unrest and still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Democrats’ left wing says Mr. Biden is bungling a chance to stand for real change in November.
“I don’t think anyone would expect Joe Biden would tattoo defund the police on his arm over the last couple of days, but he is kind of betraying an inability to listen to the people on the ground who are frankly putting their lives on the line,” said Neil Sroka, a spokesman for Democracy for America, a liberal activist group.
Some on the left were cringing after Mr. Biden refused to back the “defund the police” movement and asserted that black voters “ain’t black” if they don’t support him over President Trump.
They say Mr. Biden, 77, is walled off from the grassroots and has surrounded himself with people pushing a less-inspiring vision that has been molded by the party’s corporate wing.
The intraparty tension has made Mr. Biden one of the weakest primary-winning candidates in modern history, but the problems have been overshadowed by world crises and the news cycle dominance of Mr. Trump.
Solana Patterson-Ramos, a community organizer in Milwaukee, said she has focused on politics that are local rather than presidential.
“I had to look up and see what was going on,” said Ms. Patterson-Ramos, who backed Mr. Sanders in the primary.
“No one is like, ‘Yeah, Biden.’ Let’s just be real,” she said.
FiveThirtyEight showed how weak Mr. Biden was in the primaries based on his early vote total.
The analysts say he won just 42% of all primary votes cast at the time he became the presumptive nominee in April. That was the worst showing for any party pick since Walter Mondale in 1984.
Since then, his performance has been uneven.
He won 84% of the primary vote in Georgia this week but just 65% in West Virginia.
Mr. Trump experienced something similar in 2016. After he sewed up the nomination, large numbers of Republican voters cast ballots against him in later primaries. The bad blood carried through to the convention. Former opponent Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas refused to endorse him and received a shower of boos.
Mr. Biden has done better on that score.
Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren endorsed the former vice president shortly after pulling the plugs on their bids. Since then, Mr. Biden has tapped Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a star on the far left and particularly among young voters, to be a top adviser on climate change.
Yet when it comes to issues, Mr. Biden isn’t tacking in their direction.
To the chagrin of activists during the primary battle, Mr. Biden refused to go all-in on a wish list of priorities that included the Green New Deal, forgiving student debt and “Medicare for All.”
He pumped the brakes this week on slavery reparations for black Americans. He said he wanted to study the issue of payments and insisted that American Indians must be included.
Where activists are demanding a complete overhaul of policing in America, including stripping down department budgets, Mr. Biden, in an op-ed in USA Today, said the answer was to bolster budgets. He offered $300 million in federal funding to “reinvigorate community policing.”
“While I do not believe federal dollars should go to police departments that are violating people’s rights or turning to violence as the first resort, I do not support defunding police,” Mr. Biden wrote in the op-ed. “The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.”
Mr. Sroka said Mr. Biden’s overall performance is up and down.
“It almost seems like with every step forward there is a step back,” he said.
Maggie Kain, a Sanders supporter from Rhode Island, said Mr. Sanders has continued to garner a strong following because his backers want to make sure they have a voice in authoring the party platform at the Democratic National Convention.
Ms. Kain said it shows how much Mr. Sanders’ message has inspired activists across the country and provides a road map for Mr. Biden if he wants to generate more excitement about his campaign.
“If he wants to get the people — the youth that are out in these Black Lives Matter marches — if he wants them to be as excited for him as they are for Bernie, it would benefit him greatly to be stronger on the issues they care about,” Ms. Kain said.
She said Mr. Biden is missing an opportunity by refusing to back full-blown marijuana legalization, which activists see as a way to move away from some of the racial bias in policing.
“I don’t understand why the Democratic candidate doesn’t understand which way the wind is blowing, and that makes me concerned about who he is listening to,” she said. “That frustration is certainly felt among progressive activists.”
Yet Mr. Trump’s name at the top of the Republican ticket will go a long way to paper over those frustrations, Ms. Kain said.
“I think people are very enthusiastic regardless of who they vote for in the primary because this message of voting against Trump is so big,” she said.
Mr. Biden holds an 8-percentage-point lead over Mr. Trump in national polls, according to the latest Real Clear Politics average of polls. He is also running ahead of the Republican in most battleground state polls.
Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington, said the fact that Mr. Biden isn’t mopping up just about every vote at this point in the primary contests is not a surprise.
“Activists on both sides of the political divide often find themselves frustrated by the barriers to change that exist in national politics,” he said. “What you are seeing with the Democratic primaries in recent weeks is a preference being expressed by some Democratic votes that Biden move in a more liberal direction.”
It is not a bad omen for Mr. Biden, Mr. Farnsworth said.
“Party activists often find themselves with the choice of falling in line, or standing on the sidelines and helping the other party,” he said. “Generally speaking, activists get in line come November.”
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Hunter Biden Burisma payments detailed in Treasury Department reports
Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden flatly denied at Tuesday night’s debate that his lawyer son took huge sums of money from corrupt oligarchs and Chinese communists during his vice presidency, but Treasury Department reports show that Hunter Biden did receive the money. President Trump chose to make an issue of Hunter Biden’s cash haul…
Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden flatly denied at Tuesday night’s debate that his lawyer son took huge sums of money from corrupt oligarchs and Chinese communists during his vice presidency, but Treasury Department reports show that Hunter Biden did receive the money.
President Trump chose to make an issue of Hunter Biden’s cash haul from Russia, Ukraine and China with the implication that unsavory figures were trying to buy Vice President Biden and the Obama administration.
“When somebody gets 3½ million dollars from the mayor of Moscow,” Mr. Trump said.
“That’s is not true. That report is totally false,” Mr. Biden said.
A Senate Republican report by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee says Mr. Trump is right, though it was not Moscow’s mayor, but his wife, whom the U.S. suspects of corruption in attaining billionaire status.
Hunter Biden received a single wire transfer of $3.5 million from Elena Baturina. The Senate report said she became a billionaire through illegal construction contracts awarded by her husband, since deceased.
This is based on Treasury Department reports received by committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican.
The Senate narrative is not specific, but the types of transaction records match the description of confidential suspicious activity reports that the Treasury issues when it suspects illegal activity.
The Senate report says, “On Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) bank account for a ‘Consultancy Agreement.’ Rosemont Seneca Thornton is an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.”
Russia invaded Crimea in Ukraine the month Ms. Baturina sent the money.
“Why did he get it?” Mr. Trump asked.
“That report was written for political reasons,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Trump asserted, “Once you became vice president, he made a fortune in Ukraine, in China, in Moscow and various other places.”
Mr. Biden responded, “That is not true.”
According to the senators’ Treasury records, it is true.
In April 2014, President Obama made Mr. Biden the point man in Ukraine, after the Russian invasion, to persuade leaders to rid the country of rampant corruption.
The next month, Hunter Biden showed up on the board of directors of the energy company Burisma Holdings, which the State Department considers corrupt, as it does its oligarch owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, already had secured a spot.
Over the years, Burisma paid the two more than $4 million. Treasury records show that 48 wire transfers from May 2014 to February 2016 totaled $3.4 million. The money went to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a shell company run by Mr. Archer in partnership with a Chinese investment fund.
In 2014 and 2015, Burisma sent $700,000 directly to Hunter Biden. After Mr. Archer was arrested on fraud charges, Burisma sent Hunter Biden another $752,000.
On China, Vice President Biden promoted closer ties to the communist regime on many fronts. He traveled to China in 2013 on Air Force Two and took along Hunter, who met with Chinese businessmen.
“China ate your lunch, Joe,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday night. “And no wonder your son goes in and he takes out billions of dollars. He takes out billions of dollars to manage. He makes millions of dollars.”
Mr. Biden said, “None of that is true.”
The Bidens have adamantly denied reports that Hunter Biden’s investment firm received a $1 billion infusion.
But the Senate report documents extensive ties between Hunter Biden and various Chinese entities that produced millions of dollars in wire transfers.
In one example, China’s CEFC Infrastructure Investment wired $5 million to HudsonWest LLC, a New York company jointly owned by Hunter Biden and Chinese interests. HudsonWest then sent $4.7 million to Hunter Biden’s law firm. The next year, another $1 million was delivered.
Hunter Biden sent 20 wire transfers totaling $1.3 million to Vice President Biden’s brother James for consulting services. Treasury flagged the transfers as potentially criminal, the Senate report said.
When the bank contacted James Biden’s wife, Sara, to learn details, she refused to cooperate, the Senate report said.
“Hunter Biden has extensive connections to Chinese businesses and Chinese foreign nationals that are linked to the Communist government,” the Senate report said. “Those contacts bore financial fruit when his father was vice president and after he left office.”
The Senate report also said Hunter Biden sent money to Ukrainian and Russian women. The Treasury reports said the transactions are linked to “what appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.”
Mr. Johnson, the Senate homeland security panel chairman, wrote in a FoxNews.com column Tuesday that liberal news media have ignored his report showing disturbing ties between the Biden family and corrupt people.
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Joe Biden: Trump ‘looks down on us’
Joseph R. Biden leaned into his recent populist messaging Wednesday as he kicked off a train tour of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, saying President Trump looks down on Americans who might be struggling. “I think it’s more than ignoring us,” Mr. Biden said in Cleveland. “I look at things from [a] Scranton perspective —…
Joseph R. Biden leaned into his recent populist messaging Wednesday as he kicked off a train tour of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, saying President Trump looks down on Americans who might be struggling.
“I think it’s more than ignoring us,” Mr. Biden said in Cleveland. “I look at things from [a] Scranton perspective — he looks at it from Park Avenue. I think he basically looks down on us.”
Mr. Biden spoke the day after his first debate with Mr. Trump that was dominated by name-calling and interruptions.
“The question is does he see you where you are and where you want to be? Does he care? Has he tried to walk in your shoes to understand what’s going on in your life?” Mr. Biden said. “Or does he just ignore you and all the folks all over America who are in a similar situation?”
Mr. Trump said Wednesday that Mr. Biden flopped the previous night and that the former vice president’s performance probably cost him support from the far left.
“Second Amendment is DEAD if Biden gets in! Is that what you want from a leader? He will destroy our Country! VOTE NOW USA,” the president said on Twitter.
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Joe Biden blasts Green New Deal after defending it
The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it. During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.” But a moment later, he said:…
The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it.
During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.”
But a moment later, he said: “The Green New Deal will pay for itself as we move forward. You’re not going to build plants that in fact are great polluting plants.”
Moderator Chris Wallace interrupted, saying, “You support the Green New Deal?”
Mr. Biden replied: “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal.”
President Trump jumped in with, “Oh, you don’t? Well, that’s a big statement,” predicting that Mr. Biden had just lost “the radical left.”
Mr. Biden explained, “I support the Biden plan that I put forward, which is different than what [Mr. Trump] calls the radical Green New Deal.”
The exchange deflated environmentalists on social media who champion the Green New Deal, although Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who sponsored the House resolution, insisted that, “This isn’t news.”
“Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force — so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet,” tweeted Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. “Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real.”
In 60 seconds Joe Biden said he doesn’t support the Green New Deal… then he DID support the Green New Deal.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 30, 2020
This isn’t news, Kellyanne.Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force – so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet.Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real. https://t.co/Bj8SMD9Syf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 30, 2020
Mr. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate, the companion to the measure introduced by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in the House.
The Biden campaign website says, “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” although Mr. Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan is less ambitious than Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan.
Mr. Biden’s plan calls for limiting but not abolishing hydraulic fracturing; replacing fossil fuels on the electrical grid by 2035, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 30, 2020
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