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The gloves have come off: Biden v. Sanders!

Attack ads are finally on the way to make the other more unlikable.

While Tulsi Gabbard remains in the Democratic primary, the nomination has really come down to Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders. Biden and Sanders haven’t really gone after each other in any substantial way through the early primaries, allowing other candidates to attack each other.

But after Biden’s massive Super Tuesday wins, they’ve both come out swinging. In order to really secure the Democratic nomination, they have to portray the other as the worse option.

Biden’s most recent attack is making Bernie out to be someone who is running for president to really rock the establishment and show the difference between Democrats and progressives. And this line of attack has become more potent as Bernie’s lack of support with women and the African-American community emerged following Super Tuesday.

As Mark Caputo and Natasha Korecki at Politico noted:

The sharp turn in the primary marked the kickoff of the de facto two-man race between Sanders and Biden. The former is waging a campaign about policy. The latter is focusing on personality. Though Biden remains nominally ahead in the race for delegates needed to win the nomination at the party’s convention in June, he does not have a commanding lead and tensions are escalating.

Biden has finally grasped, and Tuesday proved, that electability will probably be one of the most important factors for both the Democratic primary and the general election. Bernie continues to believe that continuously shouting about free programs is a better course of action and has refused to take potshots at Biden’s likeability until this week.

It isn’t as if Biden would be immune to attacks either. Obviously, his mental capabilities have been suffering. He also has a long history of acting creepily around women and a record in the Senate that doesn’t sit well with progressives.

Biden may be in the driver’s seat for now, but there is certainly a good chance that Biden and Sanders end up in a bloody fight at the National Convention later this year. And if the first negative ads are this brutal, it probably will be a pretty bumpy ride on the way to Milwaukee.

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