The Washington Post editorial board warned Democrats on Thursday that if they truly want to defeat President Donald Trump in November, they need to avoid scorched-earth tactics.
“Both candidates insist that their overriding goal is to beat President Trump. As the primary battle moves into a new phase, this commitment will be tested. The candidates should be judged on whether they avoid scorched-earth tactics that poison the chances of a Democratic victory in November.”
The editorial board says that Biden and Sanders can — and should have — principled disagreements, but warned against distorting each other’s respective records, citing examples which have already occurred.
“But intimating that Mr. Biden wants to take away Americans’ Social Security benefits would be a rank distortion. Likewise, it would be fair for Mr. Biden to challenge Mr. Sanders’s record on guns but not to make it seem as though Mr. Sanders is personally responsible for millions of gun deaths.”
“If the race were based only on policy, there would be clear distinctions between Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders but also substantial agreement on where the country should move — in a progressive direction. But the competition could turn very ugly if the candidates question each others’ motives and intentions.”
The editorial then turned its focus on Sanders who they believe is more guilty of this type of behavior citing his comments about Biden being controlled by corporate interests and that the corporate and political “establishment” was uniting to defeat him because they’re nervous about his policies on higher wages, climate change, and health care.
“Mr. Sanders’ comments suggest he could stoke his base to believe that Mr. Biden’s selection as Democratic nominee would be illegitimate,” the piece said. “They dismiss any agenda short of his vision for radical change as tantamount to favoring the status quo.
“Such rhetoric, tellingly echoed by Mr. Trump, plays right into the president’s hand.”