CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa. — Packed in a middle school gymnasium, Joe Biden rehashed to supporters his case for the minority vote, speaking against some of his democratic competitors in the 2020 nomination race.
Former Vice President Biden stopped in Cedar Rapids Feb. 1 on a 20 city, 17 county bus tour leading up to the Iowa caucuses, where he said policies and plans drafted by his more progressive opponents are unattainable and don’t make sense for American voters.
“Democracy depends on consensus,” Biden said. “You have to reach out to not only democrats and independents but republicans as well.”
Biden went on to say he worked with both sides and between party lines just four years ago. Leveraging his experiences alongside former president Barack Obama and in the United States Congress, Biden said no other candidates can match him.
However, in a state that has historically shaped the rest of the presidential nomination process, there were no clear favorites in Iowa leading up to the caucuses. After a rally accompanied by a concert Feb. 1, Sen. Bernie Sanders saw a 3.7% bump in the polls, putting him just over Biden in the Real Clear Politics average as of Feb. 2.
A focus of his campaign trail in Iowa, which consisted of 23 events in nine days, Biden sought voters with his appeals to policy affecting minorities and speaking out against Donald Trump and his administration.
Biden mentioned the border policy of separating families upon illegal entry and Trump’s comments following a 2017 Charlottesville white-supremest rally that, when reported on, raised controversy between the media and the administration.
“You owe it — in Iowa — to the nation to make sure that Donald Trump is not the next president of the United States,” Biden said.
An amped-up crowd of Biden’s supporters responded to his disapproval with cheers that consumed the far over-capacity gymnasium, whereafter the candidate proceeded with comments on his competitors.
“I refuse to accept what some of my colleagues seeking nomination think,” Biden said. “That there would be an endless war between democrats and republicans.”
In an interview with MSNBC, Biden said he believes his campaign is going well in Iowa and that he has seen the kind of support he was looking for.
Biden, who moderates have called a “safe choice” in the 2020 election, said he sees policies and proposals from Sanders and Elizabeth Warren like healthcare for all as too far out of touch with what can be passed across party lines.
“We have an obligation that extends beyond the democratic party,” Biden said. “We have an obligation that extends beyond our personal politics.”
Elizabeth Warren had her own rally in Cedar Rapids Feb. 1, pushing climate change policies, saying she would work for all new buildings and housing by 2028 having “zero carbon footprint.”
Repeating the phrase for emphasis, Warren added that she would advocate for all new autos and light duty trucks to have no carbon footprints by 2030.
“By 2035 all electric production — zero carbon footprint,” Warren said. “Three areas that are responsible right now for 70% of our carbon footprint. We make a change in those areas and we begin to turn this problem around.”
Biden said he is less hopeful for dramatic changes in the fight against climate change, but said he would work to follow through with strategy mirroring the Obama administration’s approach.
“The vast majority of American people know me,” Biden said. “I’m the only one with a plan that’s done it before.”