JTA: 4 years ago Michigan made Bernie Sanders. Now it might break him.

March 10, 2020

By Ron Kampeas

Biden’s prospects improved after every other moderate dropped out following his Super Tuesday wins and endorsed him, said Halie Soifer, the director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America and an East Lansing native.

“Going into Super Tuesday there was a division” among moderates, she said. “We saw a lot of support for [former New York Mayor Mike] Bloomberg and other candidates. A lot of the Bloomberg supporters are now behind Biden.”

Also key was Biden’s strong campaign among the state’s African-Americans, a key demographic that Sanders is also courting, Soifer said. Black voters tend to favor the moderate in Democratic primaries, and have turned out in droves to support Biden specifically.

Clinton lost in 2016 because “Hillary did not show up and the African-American community didn’t vote,” said Soifer, who said she does not have a preference in the race. “This time, the Biden campaign is showing up and appealing to the African-American community.”

The student vote is less certain

Sanders’ win in 2016 was spurred in part by younger voters. Both of the state’s major universities have midterm breaks that ended Monday. Especially given the coronavirus epidemic, some students might not make it back in time to vote.

“It’s less clear that that will occur, the young vote on college campuses,” Soifer said. “That definitely matters.”