Yet Biden struggled to adapt to the new, mostly online campaign environment: His first attempt at a virtual town hall was plagued by technical glitches, starting three hours late and delivering virtually unintelligible audio. Later attempts to sit for broadcast news interviews were foiled when local networks in major cities cut in to cover press conferences by mayors and governors.
Sanders, who had always thrived online, continued to do so, using the nationwide lockdown as an opportunity to broadcast multiple streaming events that received well over a million views. The cratered economy, meanwhile, meant that the misfortunes of young voters would continue. In April, when he finally suspended his campaign, Sanders boasted in a livestream that he was “winning the ideological battle and winning the support of young people.”
Between the two candidates, an observer could glimpse the Democratic Party’s past and present as well as its future: Biden, the avatar of the establishment, was focused on bureaucratic competence but struggled to remain relevant, while Sanders, the insurgent, pressed for sweeping policy changes while criticizing the powers that be. Biden had won the battle, but Sanders was winning the war. The revolution would come, just more slowly than expected. And normalcy, whatever that meant, might never return.