'Gloves off': Biden Segregationist Comments Spark Infighting Ahead Of Dems 1st Debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden doubled down on his remarks about maintaining political "civility" with his segregationist colleagues in the Senate back in the day, sparking the first major family feud in the Democratic primaries.

Democratic presidential hopefuls have quickly escalated from veiled attacks on Biden's age, to directly criticizing his record of support for abortion restrictions in the Hyde amendment, mandatory minimum sentences in the 1994 crime bill to insinuating that the septuagenarian ex-senator is soft on racism.

Looking at the polls, it isn't difficult to see why Biden is a marked man within his party. National polls show Biden leading the field of 21 candidates by double digits, consistently.

According to a recent Economist/YouGov poll, 50% of black Democratic primary voters support Biden. The closest contender, Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders is polling at 10%, followed by California Sen. Kamala Harris with 7%.

Biden is also dominating the older vote. Two polls released this week show Biden with more than a 30-point advantage among voters over the age of 50. The race is much tighter among younger voters.

As more 2020 presidential hopefuls pile on Biden ahead of next week's debates, it is prompting questions about whether Biden is just a folksy "gaffe machine," as he has described himself, or if his comments will make him unelectable by the increasingly progressive Democratic Party.

For Republicans, the latest fracas over Biden's segregationist remarks creates an obvious advantage, if the Democrats do the dirty work of tearing apart their party's frontrunner.

"Depending on how this car wreck unfolds, moments like this have the potential to help Trump get reelected," said GOP strategist Ford O'Connell. "Because the Democrats either set up a purity standard that no one can pass or they upset their own people in the primary who then don't turn out to vote in the general election."

With the potential for another close presidential race in 2020, a margin of a few thousand voters in a few key states who were marginalized in a bitter primary could make all the difference in who holds the White House.

Read more from Leandra Bernstein at WJLA

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