CNN Fears Dems Can’t Reconcile Generational Divide in Their Base

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As CNN host Jake Tapper pointed out during the network's Super Tuesday coverage, there was an obvious generational divide between the Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wing of the Democratic Party and former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D). “Younger voters overwhelmingly are with Bernie Sanders … And older voters are overwhelmingly with Joe Biden.” Sharing their fears of that divide and resentment carrying over to the general election was a theme during the 9:00 p.m. hour.

“But that schism, the idea that younger people love Sanders and older people love Biden is one that actually potentially bodes ill for the Democratic nominee. Because one of those guys probably is going to win. But where do those other voters go for,” Tapper asked chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

Perhaps recalling a bad omen, Bash reminded Tapper that in 2016 much of Sanders’ base didn’t turn out Hillary Clinton. “Or, do they go? I mean, that was the question that got answered in a negative way for Hillary Clinton four years ago. Because you had the same generational divide in 2016, and a lot of those voters were so disaffected that they stayed home,” she explained.

After a brief update on the numbers rolling in, host Anderson Cooper prompted his entirely liberal panel to discuss that schism. CNN host and liberal activist Van Jones saw that divide in the black community, saying: “Those young black voters see something in Bernie they’re excited about and they don’t see it in Biden.”

 

 

In response, former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer Jess McIntosh was deeply concerned that neither side would come out to support the other against Trump:

There is no reason for those older black voters you're talking about to not feel comfortable with Bernie if he does that outreach. There is no reason for the young folks to not feel comfortable with Biden if he’s willing to listen to them a little bit about the urgency their feeling and what they need from him. I am concerned that the camps are as polarized as they are and no one is willing—

At one point, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe put the blame on a failure to consolidate on the shoulders of Sanders. “When Pete got out yesterday, you know, Sanders called him corporate establishment. That is not the way to build and unify this party,” he decried.

That caused Sanders backer, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, to lash out at older generations:

EL-SAYED: I do worry a lot that there is this attitude of, “if you all knew better.”

JONES: Exactly.

EL-SAYED: “If you know what we knew, then we’d be okay.” Right? “You just need to follow us because we know what’s going on.”

“We just don’t want to be lectured too,” El-Sayed continued. “And so, there’s a space right now for us to have a conversation that says, what is the future we want, the future we want to raise our kids in? And it’s not going to be wagging fingers at younger people.”

It doesn’t look like that schism will be sealed any time soon.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s America’s Choice 2020: Super Tuesday
March 3, 2020
9:10:31 p.m. Eastern

JAKES TAPPER: The other thing that’s interesting, Dana, and this has really been the story of the race so far – the Democratic race, is younger voters overwhelmingly are with Bernie Sanders.

DANA BASH: Yep.

TAPPER: And older voters are overwhelmingly with Joe Biden. There is such a generational divide. More so than any other divide, although tonight we're certainly seeing African-American voters go for Joe Biden, really saving his campaign to a large degree, and Latino voters, to a large degree, going with Bernie Sanders.

But that schism, the idea that younger people love Sanders and older people love Biden is one that actually potentially bodes ill for the Democratic nominee. Because one of those guys probably is going to win. But where do those other voters go for?

BASH: Or, do they go? I mean, that was the question that got answered in a negative way for Hillary Clinton four years ago. Because you had the same generational divide in 2016, and a lot of those voters were so disaffected that they stayed home.

TAPPER: 5 million people who voted for Obama twice did not vote, according to one study I saw.

(…)

ANDERSON COOPER: Van, you were just – Jake was just talking about a generational divide and you see that in African-American community certainly with Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.

VAN JONES: It’s very, very interesting because there's passion on both sides. Older African-American voters, especially older African-American woman, they resonate with Joe Biden. You know, they’ve gone to a lot of funerals, they’ve buried children, they’ve buried spouse. They understand that he understands. And that’s meaningful to them and they have not moved. Bakari Sellers said from the very beginning that they weren’t going any were; they have not gone anywhere.

But there is a younger generation. And for them, there is a sense that Bernie represents a lot, and there is an urgency that he has, and there's a real, real pain and frustration. And it’s, this system is rigged against us, and nobody wants to fight for us. And so, they see in Bernie a fighter -- The black vote’s going, the black vote’s going and that’s true because older black voters vote more than younger black voters. But don’t lose track of those young black voters. Those young black voters see something in Bernie they’re excited about and they don’t see it in Biden.

[Crosstalk]

JESS MCINTOSH: Just, both of those impulses come from the same place. Like, they both come from the place where they understand where country off track and they want somebody who is able to consolidate and get it back to a place where like people feel like they can take care of each other.

Where I think I – Where I have the most concern, is that whatever out of this contest, we won't be reaching out to the other side.

JONES: Yeah.

GLORIA BORGER: Mhmm.

MCINTOSH: There is no reason for those older black voters you're talking about to not feel comfortable with Bernie if he does that outreach. There is no reason for the young folks to not feel comfortable with Biden if he’s willing to listen to them a little bit about the urgency their feeling and what they need from him. I am concerned that the camps are as polarized as they are and no one is willing—

COOPER: But it’s not just about feeling comfortable, it’s about being enthusiastic and actually coming out and voting. And the question is will each other’s supporters actually come out and vote.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED: Democrats do best when we believe in hope, when we believe in a future and we come together to embrace that future. And I worry that on both sides of what is ultimately an electability argument there’s just a lot of fear. That guy can’t win, that guy can’t win. And I just think that no matter what happens at the end of this primary. We have to find the hope that we have for an after-Trump and go and build that. I think everybody agrees that that’s the future.

[Crosstalk]

TERRY MCAULIFFE: When Pete got out yesterday, you know, Sanders called him corporate establishment. That is not the way to build and unify this party. We’ve got bring young people in.

[Crosstalk]

EL-SAYED: I do worry a lot that there is this attitude of, “if you all knew better.”

JONES: Exactly.

EL-SAYED: “If you know what we knew, then we’d be okay.” Right? “You just need to follow us because we know what’s going on.”

And I think our generation who graduated into the worst concession in the past century. Right? Or the past 50 years. Who could not find the jobs we were promised. Who took on $1.5 trillion in debt. Who couldn’t find healthcare on the back end of it. We just don’t want to be lectured too. And so, there’s a space right now for us to have a conversation that says, what is the future we want, the future we want to raise our kids in? And it’s not going to be wagging fingers at younger people.

MCAULIFFE: Do you think that Joe is lecturing to you?

EL-SAYED: I think that in a lot of ways Joe’s supporters are. Joes surrogates are. And that’s what’s frustrating.

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