With relative calm around Covid, Biden faces several new challenges in battlegrounds — and he’ll need every inch of that lead to hold off Sanders:
Biden will try to use his huge lead as a proxy for the kind of things he’ll be able to get done in the Senate.
He’ll get a tough test against Sanders, a man who will be able to capitalize on Biden’s current vulnerabilities: a strong economy and popularity that has grown by leaps in the wake of a pandemic.
And Biden will need to make some tough decisions in the coming days and weeks — including perhaps putting a candidate on the presidential ballot.
“Look at the numbers,” said a senior adviser to a top campaign official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly. “He’ll have to make some very tough decisions moving forward. The challenge is that he’ll be making decisions based on those numbers, and they might not be a good match.”
In this, Biden’s election as the nation’s No. 2 leader in the polls — a role that had been the most important job on the job for Democrats since the 2012 election — he faces an unusual set of challenges.
Biden, who had always felt himself to be an underdog, has been the underdog, to be sure. He was considered by some as a prohibitive favorite to be the Democratic nominee, the person who would defeat Donald Trump in the general election. The polls were showing him with a margin of almost 3 points.
His path was to win key states like Florida, North Carolina and Indiana, which he narrowly won in 2016. And as has been true for every Democrat since, he could coast to victory in the upper Midwest, like Ohio and Michigan.
Then the pandemic threw a wrench in the election that Biden could not ignore. And Biden has been responding to it, with his own brand of leadership.
“While we understand now the magnitude of this and what it’s going to mean for