With Biden Winning South Carolina, What's The State Of Play For The Democratic Primary?

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden makes a point during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, hosted by ABC News, Apple News, and WMUR-TV at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Joe Biden comes away with a big win in South Carolina, topping Bernie Sanders and the rest of the Democrats running for the party’s 2020 nomination. It is proving to be a big win for him, with early results showing him with well over twice the number of votes over his closest rival, Sanders, and overall a bad night for anyone not named Joe Biden.

That South Carolina was Biden’s firewall was never a question. He practically staked his campaign on it, and it turned out for him. It is clearly a blowout for the former Vice President, and it could provide him with the momentum he needs to come away with some key victories on Super Tuesday.

With all this in mind, what does it mean for Super Tuesday and beyond? Here’s a quick breakdown.

1. Bernie Sanders Is Still The Favorite

To win the most delegates, that is. Unless something really big happens, it looks like the Democratic Party’s voters are still favoring Vermont’s Democratic Socialist. Now, with the strength Biden showed in South Carolina, he could pose enough of a threat to keep it contested at the Democratic National Convention.

Here’s the deal: With so many delegates at stake on Tuesday, if Sanders doesn’t sweep then we are definitely looking at a contested convention. If Biden can keep it competitive and the other candidate line up behind him, then we’re looking at a two-man contest. If the other candidates hold out because they think they can negotiate their way through a contested convention, then you’ll see Sanders with way more delegates than anyone else and a lot more chaos.

Chaos is not something the Democrats want.

2. What Will Mike Bloomberg And Tom Steyer Do?

The two biggest pots of money in the race don’t have a path to the nomination. Steyer performed admirably in South Carolina, but he will not see a delegate out of that primary, and he is dropping out ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries. Mike Bloomberg didn’t even participate in the first four states and has had two awful debate performances. His poll numbers are bolstered only by people who have seen so many of his ads they’ll vote just to get him to shut up.

But that’s the point. They both have spent good money to generate numbers. They aren’t getting votes because of who they are, but because of what they’ve bought. Imagine that spending power lining up behind a single candidate – like Biden, who has a major win under his belt and momentum going into Super Tuesday and beyond. Those two helping Biden would make him the biggest threat to Sanders that the socialist could imagine.

That would, however, put a major target on his back from the likes of Sanders and Warren, who have both decried big money in politics, and could turn the Very Liberal vote further away from the former Vice President.

3. Joe Biden Doesn’t Want Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar To Drop Out Now

Yes, you can (and maybe should) argue that Warren and Klobuchar have no path and should quit, but it actually hurts Biden if they do. Right now, Sanders is winning their home states (Massachusetts and Minnesota) but if they drop out now, then that swings those states almost fully in Sanders’ direction. By staying in, they hurt Sanders and keep him from running away with those states.

Klobuchar, I think, is way more likely to align herself with Biden and will ultimately direct her support to him. Warren’s a bit of a wild card and, I think, more self-centered. She’ll want something out of whoever she ends up supporting. Given that she burned bridges with Sanders, though, you have to wonder if he’ll offer her anything.

4. The Media Will Embrace #Joementum

Look, the mainstream media outlets have been quick to run stories challenging Sanders while they’ve been hopeful for Biden. CNN after Joe Biden’s speech began to build Biden up as a moral high ground for America. They will push ahead to show the strength of a presidential candidate who has only won one state primary in three runs for president. That will end up deepening the divide between establishment and base within the Democratic Party. You actually see reporters on social media leaning pro-Sanders while editorially networks and outlets lean pro-Biden.

That will make coverage… interesting, to say the least.

5. A Biden Sweep Of South Carolina Might Make Team Trump Worry A Little Bit

We know that Sanders is far too extreme for the American voters, and while he polls well against Trump right now, Trump is boasting a solid economy versus Sanders offering fundamental changes to systems that are currently working for people. Biden, however, can be a play for a middle of the road American voter who is turned off by Trump’s personality and the constant barrage of negativity.

It’s why you’ve seen “sympathetic” comments from Trump for Sanders about how the Democrats plan to screw the socialist over again. Trump clearly favors a matchup against Sanders, but if Biden can make the right in-roads and come away with the nomination, it’s clear that

The Bottom Line…

We’re still looking at a Sanders lead through Super Tuesday and into the Democratic convention… but, Biden won South Carolina by way more than most people expected, and it gives him a good bit of momentum to really make a showing on Tuesday. We don’t fully know what to expect, but we can expect most candidates will hold on through Super Tuesday, but once Tuesday is over, we’ll start seeing people drop and back other candidates still in the race.

That is where the momentum Biden picked up in South Carolina really kicks in. If there is a major push against Sanders, these candidates will see Biden as the means to stop him.

Joe Cunningham
Joe Cunningham is a Senior Editor at RedState. You can find his commentary on Louisiana issues at The Hayride. You can also follow him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and Like his page on Facebook.
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