With the Democratic nomination all but on lock, Joe Biden had a supremely delicate task on Sunday evening. He simply had to entertain dissidents from the Left while gearing up for a general election campaign in the process, successfully all but neutralizing questions of a global pandemic throughout.
CNN’s presidential debate was strange enough, from the start for its relocation from Arizona to Washington, D.C., to its elimination of an audience. But for once, the undeniable strangeness of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign benefited the de facto front-runner and presumptive nominee.
Without any candidate younger than Biden’s 77 years to hide behind, Sanders was stuck lying about everything from the former vice president’s record on a $15-per-hour minimum wage to Social Security. But most telling were the initial minutes of the debate dedicated to the primary reason behind its strangeness in the first place: the coronavirus.
“With all due respect for Medicare for All, you have a single-payer system in Italy,” Biden began against Sanders. “It doesn’t work there. It has nothing to do with Medicare for All. That would not solve the problem at all.”