Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sanders ad screenshot

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) launched three new television ads on March 4 as political commentators declared the 2020 Democratic presidential primary a two-man person between Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. (Image: Bernie Sanders/YouTube/screenshot)

Sanders Kicks Off New Phase of Campaign With Ad Blitz Challenging Biden in March Primary States

The ads follow a memo from Sanders campaign leaders declaring that "we are now entering the phase of the primary in which the differences between Bernie and Biden will take center stage."

Jessica Corbett

While Super Tuesday ballots were still being counted Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders launched the next phase of his Democratic presidential campaign with a trio of television advertisements in mid-March primary states directly and indirectly challenging his top competitor, former Vice President Joe Biden.

After Sanders on Tuesday won at least four states—including the biggest, California—and Biden performed better than expected nationwide in the single-largest day of primary voting, political commentators began framing the contest as "a two-person race for the future of the Democratic Party and the country."

The new TV ads, produced by Sanders' in-house team, are airing in states scheduled to vote on March 10 (Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Washington) and March 17 (Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio). It is unclear if the ads will also target North Dakota, which is set to hold caucuses on March 10.

A Sanders advertisement titled "Protect Social Security" swipes at Biden for his record on not only that social safety net program, but also Medicare and Medicaid. The ad features audio of the former vice president recalling his argument for a federal spending freeze, followed by Sanders saying: "Well, we've got some bad news for them. We are not gonna cut Social Security. We are gonna expand benefits."

Sanders senior adviser Warren Gunnels shared the ad on Twitter Wednesday and wrote: "Joe Biden has a 40-year history of working with Republicans to cut Social Security. Bernie Sanders has a 30-year record fighting to expand Social Security and prevent cuts."

Another Sanders ad employs a tactic already used by his fellow competitors: footage of former President Barack Obama praising the candidate. "Bernie is somebody who has the virtue of saying exactly what he believes. Great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless," the last Democratic president says in the ad.

Despite reporting in recent days that Obama has privately spoken with some candidates, he has declined to publicly endorse anyone—including Biden, his vice president for both terms—so far.

While some reporters noted that the Obama ad "leaves out context" and wrote that the move raises eyebrows, given that Sanders has "stood out among elected officials [as] one of the 44th president's fiercest left-leaning critics," other commentators and Sanders supporters commended the campaign for being politically "savvy."

In a comment to NBC News national political reporter Sahil Kapur, Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates hit back by touting the former vice president's service in Obama's administration:

The final ad features union autoworker Sean Crawford explaining that he supports Sanders' second presidential bid because he is the only candidate who "has consistently opposed every disastrous trade deal" that has "decimated" Crawford's community.

"The banksters that have been robbing us blind and stealing our pensions and destroying our communities, they have something to worry about," Crawford says. "This is a man of conviction, a man of integrity, a man that is going to stand up for you no matter what."

Although the ad is about Sanders' support for working people and makes no mention of Biden, the former vice president has fought for endorsements from labor unions across the country and has famously called himself "middle-class Joe."

The ads followed a memo for Sanders staff and surrogates, authored by campaign manager Faiz Shakir and senior adviser Jeff Weaver, that was first published by the Washington Post before polls closed Tuesday. The memo declared that "we are now entering the phase of the primary in which the differences between Bernie and Biden will take center stage."

As Common Dreams reported Tuesday, the memo also highlighted Biden's record on Social Security cuts as well as some of his key votes when he represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate; Biden backed the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the 2005 bankruptcy bill.

Only Sanders, Biden, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) remained in the race as of press time. However, Gabbard and Warren's respective poor performances in the Super Tuesday primaries fueled speculation over how much longer they will continue their campaigns.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Manchin Threatening Key Climate Provision: Reports

"To take it out is to decide that climate change isn't a problem."

Andrea Germanos ·

'Make a Gesture of Humanity': Pope Francis Urges Pharma Giants to Release Covid-19 Vaccine Patents

"There are countries where only three or four percent of the inhabitants have been vaccinated."

Andrea Germanos ·

Manchin Fumes After Sanders Op-Ed in West Virginia Paper Calls Out Obstruction of Biden Agenda

"Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," wrote Sanders. "Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin."

Andrea Germanos ·

US to Offer 'Condolence Payments' to Relatives of 10 Civilians Killed in Drone Strike

The Pentagon statement follows a call for President Joe Biden to "show real concern for civilians by taking more meaningful steps to prevent civilian casualties as a result of all U.S. lethal operations."

Andrea Germanos ·

New Filing Reveals Sinema Pads Campaign Coffers With More Pharma and Finance Funds

"This is what someone who's bought and paid for looks like."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo