To add to his string of good news lately, Joe Biden picked up another endorsement from a former 2020 candidate Tuesday night.
“I believe that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee,” Yang said. “And I’ve always said I’m going to support whoever the nominee is, so I hereby am endorsing Joe Biden to be not just the nominee for the Democratic Party but the next president of the United States.”
Yang mentioned his support for Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016 and cited the senator’s 2016 run as the inspiration for his 2020 candidacy — but noted that he sees the delegate numbers this time favoring Biden, particularly in the wake of the former vice president’s strong performance on Super Tuesday and wins in Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, and Mississippi this week.
“The math says Joe is our prohibitive nominee. We need to bring the party together,” said Yang.
Biden’s victories on Tuesday appeared to bring him closer to capturing the nomination given his defeat of Sanders in Michigan, where the Vermont senator had previously performed strongly in 2016.
Yang’s endorsement could hold serious weight for Biden. A candidate with little national name recognition prior to the primary, Yang’s rise was a stunning success: He attracted a loyal group of supporters and established a unique platform heavily focused on the implementation of a universal basic income.
His backers were also particularly committed to his candidacy — so much so that 40 percent of Yang’s supporters said they didn’t plan to support the candidate who became the party’s nominee if it wasn’t him, according to an Emerson College poll earlier this year. His endorsement of Biden could potentially sway some of them.
Were his endorsement to influence his backers, it could pull some support away from Sanders, at least if Yang Gang voters initially realigned their support in the manner Yang himself predicted.
While Yang is now supporting Biden, he had previously posited that some of his supporters might go toward Sanders. “I think that Bernie and I do have a lot of overlap in support so it wouldn’t be surprising to me if many of our supporters head in that direction,” Yang said at the end of January, regarding the realignment at the Iowa caucuses.
He emphasized Tuesday that he had held off on endorsing Biden until his delegate lead had become more apparent and noted that he was doing so now in order to focus on defeating President Donald Trump in the fall.
“Joe called me last week, you know, we had a really great conversation,” Yang said. “It was hard to say no to Joe at that time, but I have such admiration and respect for Bernie, what he’s meant to so many Americans. I think Bernie has called out the real problems in a very powerful and necessary way, so I wanted to let the Democratic process play out.”
Yang is the latest member of the 2020 field to endorse Biden: The former vice president has picked up endorsements from Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in recent days.