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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Which of the 2020 candidates wants to win the soul of the party?

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Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both making big commitments in the year leading up to the 2020 election to broaden their coalition in terms of racial and class.

Mr. Sanders is attempting to woo voters who feel the Democratic Party hasn’t done enough to fight income inequality and especially for voters in towns outside of big cities. He’s also focusing on talking to people as they express their opinions in online forums, town hall events and town-hall formats. He asks who among his voters agrees that his policies will benefit the working class and not just high-income people. He also seems to leave the door open to some self-described democratic socialists.

Mrs. Clinton spent much of the last year rallying young people to the Democratic Party. But despite her son’s statements over the summer that she didn’t see a path forward for herself, she has already started to lay out an argument on issues that might appeal to Democrats more interested in some anti-Trump. For instance, she touted her fundraising efforts on Friday after she lost the fundraising battle in 2016.

During a stop in Michigan on Tuesday, Mr. Biden, who did not mention Mrs. Clinton, talked about what he called issues at the base of the Democratic Party. “The new word that everyone is talking about these days is unity,” he said. “And who said it first? George Washington. And look at his prescription for politics. Everybody here needs to work together.”

Most campaigns make a big deal out of both candidates fighting for the soul of the party — positioning themselves as saviors for those in America’s inner cities and those distressed by economic decline. Who could it be this time?

Both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump cast themselves as fighters for the people. They declared war on the system. They offered protection against corporate greed, toxic business practices and a health care system that hurts too many Americans.

The candidates are also promising to help people who have been ignored in the past.

Mr. Trump has railed against the alleged opioid epidemic in the United States. “We’re going to save lives with the drug crisis and the opioid crisis,” he said during a speech at a community college in Washington on Monday. “When I see friends and family members of mine dying, literally dying, I’m in pain. I know it’s painful to see. But when I see these beautiful faces and families bleeding to death, I get angry. I get very angry. We’re going to save lives.”

Mr. Biden has also claimed to be championing the working class and vowed to take care of the middle class. “I am going to fight to restore the right to organize,” he said at a Labor Day rally in Ohio. “We have to have a union.”

And who could win the fight for the soul of the party?

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