Joe Biden could clinch Democratic nomination Tuesday

Joe Biden nicknames Donald Trump 'President Tweety'

Seven states and the District of Columbia are holding Democratic presidential primaries Tuesday, and former Vice President Joe Biden — already his party’s presumptive nominee — could officially wrap up the nomination.

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According to the AJC delegate tracker, Biden has 1,556 committed delegates and needs 425 more to win a 1,991 majority of delegates. There are 479 delegates at stake Tuesday.

Biden is the only remaining candidate in the once-historically crowded Democratic primary, a 77-year-old white male seeking to win a nomination for a party that desperately needs a huge minority turnout this fall to unseat President Donald Trump.

Here are the states holding Democratic primaries June 2:

  • Indiana — 82 delegates
  • Maryland — 96 delegates
  • Montana — 19 delegates
  • New Mexico — 34 delegates
  • Pennsylvania — 186 delegates
  • Rhode Island — 26 delegates
  • South Dakota — 16 delegates
  • Washington, D.C. — 20 delegates

Iowa is also holding a primary but is not voting on presidential nominees after its nationally ridiculed Democratic caucus in February kicked off the 2020 electoral season.

Voters can still select candidates besides Biden on their ballots.

As the nation continues to be rocked by protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, Biden met with community leaders at a predominantly African American church Monday in Delaware.

Biden has struggled in recent weeks to be heard from his basement television studio over the noise of dueling national crises. But after another night of violent protests, he gathered with about a dozen local black leaders in his hometown ahead of a virtual meeting with mayors across the nation.

Trump lashed out at Biden on Monday.

In the early moments of Monday’s gathering at the Bethel AME church in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, the former vice president listened and took notes in a spiral notebook. All of the attendees, including Biden, wore face masks.

Biden’s softer approach may foreshadow how the presumptive Democratic nominee presents himself in the five months before the presidential election, emphasizing calm and competence as a contrast to Trump. It is an approach that carries the risk of being drowned out by the much louder, more persistent voice of Trump.

Credit: AJC

“He’s not in office, and he certainly does not have the megaphone like the person currently occupying the White House does, but I do think our people are looking for someone who can make them feel better during these extremely tough times,” said U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Florida, whom Biden is considering as a running mate.

“America just needs to be reassured that there’s someone who’s understanding, someone who’s willing to say, ‘Yes, we do have some issues,’ and someone who’s willing to address it.”

Reassurance requires presence, though, and that has been a hurdle for the former vice president, driven inside by the coronavirus pandemic, still working to adapt to the power of social media as a substitute and without the natural platform of a public office.

Biden delivered a well-received address Friday, calling on white people to shoulder the responsibility of ending America’s systemic racism. But he was largely out of sight during the weekend, which marked the fifth anniversary of the death of his son Beau Biden.

Monday marked his third public appearance since the pandemic exploded in mid-March.

Credit: AJC

Biden and his wife, Jill, marked Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a veterans memorial near his Wilmington home last week, and the former vice president’s campaign posted pictures of him visiting a protest site in another part of the city on Sunday afternoon. Earlier, he wrote a post on Medium expressing empathy for those despairing about the alleged police killing of George Floyd.

“The only way to bear this pain is to turn all that anguish to purpose,” Biden wrote in a message attached to the Sunday photo. “And as President, I will help lead this conversation — and more importantly, I will listen.”

Monday morning’s gathering featured 15 invited religious, political and educational leaders, including Delaware Democratic Rep. Blunt Rochester. They all wore masks and spaced out among the wooden pews. Pasted notices on the main entrance cautioned people from entering if they had a cough or other symptoms that could indicate they were suffering from the coronavirus.

Much of Biden’s campaign strategy centers on trying to draw a contrast with Trump on temperament and values. He has called the White House contest a battle for the soul of the nation and has been particularly forceful in condemning Trump’s handling of moments of racial tension.

Democrats believe the former vice president draws a contrast with Trump in such moments that works in his favor. They note that while Biden didn’t appear on television all weekend, he spoke about Floyd’s death before Trump addressed it and has shown compassion for the protesters.

In an election that is likely to be a referendum on the sitting president, some Biden aides say privately that the best plan may be to let Trump do himself in.

Yet there is also a recognition that Biden needs to do more than simply wait for voters who may be turned off by Trump to turn toward him. And some Democrats who have criticized Biden in the past for not being more visible during the onset of the coronavirus said he is making the right moves now.

“I’m sure they have some reluctance, understandably, right now to politicize it. That’s not who he is,” said Democratic strategist James Carville. “There might be a time for eloquence, but I think that simplicity is eloquence right now.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.