From left, Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Vice President Joe Biden, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
From all indications of the results from Super Tuesday, Joe Biden had one helluva day, and that ain’t no malarkey! He has overtaken Bernie Sanders in the overall popular vote among the Democrat voters and has pulled ahead in the delegate haul. Besides sweeping through the South, Biden pulled off two surprises elsewhere. In Massachusetts, although no one predicted Warren would win her home state, most thought the next best thing- Bernie Sanders- would, but Biden pulled an upset here. After Amy Klocuhar dropped out and endorsed Biden, everyone thought her absence from the race would help no one but Sanders in Minnesota, but again Biden won.
One thing is obvious: all the political “expert” pundit class got a lot wrong about Massachusetts and Minnesota. In Texas, it was nip-and-tuck leading up to Super Tuesday. As Trump noted, the big losers of the night were Elizabeth Warren who performed miserably, and Mike Bloomberg, although he won those coveted 6 delegates from American Samoa and a few more along the way under the proportional distribution of delegates. What he has in money, he lacks in charisma and personality. As for Biden, some foreign pundits are perplexed by Biden’s lure among African-Americans given his sometimes borderline racist past comments, but when you are linked to Barack Obama by way of the Vice-Presidency, it makes some sense.
So what happened here on Super Tuesday? Did Democrat voters suddenly come out of their socialist slumber and go en masse to Joe Biden, a candidate so senile he lacks the ability to distinguish between his wife and sister? The same man who often confuses what state he is standing in at any given moment, or what office he is running for?
There is no doubt that Barack Obama, besides stating publicly he would endorse whoever the nominee was, followed through on his private reassurances that he would “work to stop Bernie.” It came in the form of a phone call to Pete Buttigieg. It is suspected to be behind Klobuchar’s decision to drop out of the race and endorse Biden. With Bloomberg, one can surmise they will welcome his money to defeat OrangeManBad. And let us not forget Beto O’Rourke who will parlay his endorsement of Biden into some spot in the mythical Biden administration. Add in a media and DNC infrastructure who wanted Biden rather than Sanders, and you get the picture.
However, there was always another guy out there- Bernie Sanders. Maybe he was drunk on his victories in New Hampshire and Nevada, but something besides a Biden surge had to account for his fall from grace. From exit polls, we know that a lot of the Biden resurrection from political hell was attributable to last-minute voters possibly swayed by the spate of endorsements. A ton of early voting ballots may be the ultimate key to Biden’s popularity among Democrats. How many of those voters cast a ballot for Buttigieg, or Bloomberg, or Klobuchar? Add them together, and they are a vote for neither Biden nor Sanders.
This what we know this far. Over 13,663,000 votes have been cast. Joe Biden has taken 35.3% of them compared to 28.5% for Sanders. That also means 64.7% of all votes cast thus far were for someone other than Biden. Obviously, with a shrinking field, the question becomes who those votes go to and whether the endorsement for Biden by anyone who drops out counts for anything. Does, for example, a Buttigieg supporter automatically shift gears and become a Biden supporter?
There is an equally interesting scenario playing out on the other side of the equation for Sanders. Ideologically, Elizabeth Warren is the closest to Bernie Sanders. Together, they have amassed 571 of the available delegates thus far. They have also collectively garnered 41.3% of all votes cast. The other candidates to have received more than a delegate thus far are Bloomberg (48), Buttigieg (28), and Klobuchar (7). They have all endorsed Biden; so for the sake of argument, I lumped them in with Biden as the “establishment wing” of the Democrats versus the “socialist wing” of the party- Sanders and Warren (although they are really both basically socialist).
In that scenario, it comes 647-577 in terms of delegates in favor of the establishment wing. Next up on the calendar are Idaho (20), Michigan (125), Mississippi (36), Missouri (64), North Dakota (18) and Washington (89) on March 10th. That is another 302 delegates up for grabs before March 17 when four key states- Florida, Arizona, Ohio, and Illinois- vote representing another 577 delegates.
The interesting thing about the March 10th primaries is that other than Mississippi and perhaps Missouri, Biden is out of his comfort zone. He performed well enough in California and narrowly won Minnesota, but Sanders has performed very well in the west as evidenced by his wins in California, Utah and Colorado. If he can win or keep Michigan very close and win Washington by a comfortable margin, Sanders is still very much in this race.
More importantly, Sanders now knows what he is up against and can stop resting on his laurels of winning New Hampshire and Nevada. He can start to campaign to win the nomination noting that the powers-that-be in his own adopted political party are against him, just as they were in 2016. Or, he can roll over like he did in 2016 against Clinton. Biden is stoppable if Sanders wants to win this nomination. Or, he can prove he is simply an empty suit in the Bernie revolution. In other words, he can be just another loser socialist.