On the first day of early voting in Florida’s primary, I voted for Joe Biden.
No qualms other than my face and shirt were smeared with sunscreen, not exactly the respectable look for the occasion. I had been on the way to my morning walk in the park when I saw that my precinct, one of 23 early voting locations in Miami-Dade, was open for business.
Despite all the back and forth I’d done over candidates, all of a sudden, I felt the same clarity and goal as in 2016: Derail party-hijacker Bernie Sanders, this time cutting into his lead by voting for the only candidate who can catch up, the current runner-up.
Sanders’ supporters are calling Biden’s momentum and votes like mine “falling in line with the Democratic establishment.”
President Donald Trump agrees with them.
“They are staging a coup against Bernie!” he tweeted Monday.
I beg to differ.
It’s called voter choice, democracy.
It’s called strategy to beat the worst president in modern history.
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The No. 1 reason to vote for the former vice president: He’s the candidate President Trump shamelessly tried to keep off the ballot with the help of a foreign government, Ukraine.
And, despite being impeached by the House for treasonous behavior, Trump and his surrogates are still at it, diligently working against Comeback Joe.
They’re so intent on helping Sanders win the nomination that Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, insisted in a letter to colleagues, obtained by CBS News, that they issue subpoenas and investigate yet again Burisma, the Ukrainian firm in which Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the board.
This latest attack came right after South Carolina voters breathed new life into Biden’s campaign with a resounding win over the independent Vermont senator. Sanders is the candidate Trump and his allies are rooting for so they can claim that Democrats are “the party of socialism.”
That’s why Trump had the gall to show up the day of South Carolina’s open primary and urge Democratic and Republican voters to choose Sanders.
Fight for Florida
The fight for swing state Florida will be even nastier.
Republicans know well that having as an opponent the self-declared democratic socialist, so clueless he keeps praising a debunked literacy push that helped Fidel Castro cement his dictatorship in Cuba, is the surest route to Trump’s reelection in places like Florida.
CNN and “The View” pundit Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, a #NeverTrump Republican, said it best when she celebrated Biden’s endorsements on Twitter:
“I am more hopeful that this November, America will NOT have to choose between: A. A guy who went to Russia on his honey-moon 32 years go. B. A guy who is on a honey-moon with Russian leader now.”
Yeah, I think Biden’s a keeper.
Reason No. 2: He didn’t hold back confronting Sanders on the Fidel Castro issue, and he did so effectively, dispelling the myth being promoted by Sanders supporters that President Barack Obama, too, was soft on Raúl Castro and praised Fidel.
Truth: During his strategic visit to Havana, Obama delivered on Cuban national television an unprecedented speech, making a rousing case for democracy and showing the Cuban people how far they could go if they opened up. He even pointed to Miami as an example of what they could achieve. It angered both Castro brothers, who began to backpedal on engagement and reforms.
Like most Florida voters, I had been holding out to vote after Super Tuesday.
But former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who impressed me with with his statesmanship and historical candidacy, quit the race Sunday. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who won me over before she even declared her candidacy during the Kavanaugh hearings, was giving indications of doing the same.
Both centrists are endorsing Biden in an effort to stop Sanders and his costly not-so-free revolution.
So is Beto O’Rourke of Texas. So is the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. So is former Obama Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Closer to home, so is Parkland father Fred Guttenberg in a break from some co-founders of March for Our Lives, who back Sanders.
The high-profile endorsements are raining on Biden after South Carolina, where he received poignant support from African-American leaders and voters, and he won hands down. “We know Joe, but more importantly, Joe knows us,” Congressman Jim Clyburn said.
Reason No. 3 to vote for Biden: He has been a career-long ally of African Americans, who are a crucial part of the Democratic base. The alternative to Sanders, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, hasn’t been able to shed his stop-and-frisk past, as much as he has apologized for the racial profiling of blacks and Latinos.
And Bloomberg keeps making mistakes when he opens his mouth, some of them as silly and awkward as saying Klobuchar and Buttigieg had “behaved themselves” in the race.
Nevertheless, the entire multiracial and multicultural gang of 16 Democratic candidates is on the ballot. Bloomberg is anticipated to do well in Florida, where conservative Cuban-American voters who hate Trump like him.
And there’s Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who hasn’t picked up the necessary traction to win and is expected to align herself with Sanders if her poor showing doesn’t change on Super Tuesday.
You can still vote for whoever you want.
I happily bubbled in Biden’s name, second on the long list.