It’s a two-man race now, and the guy in the middle has all the momentum. Former Vice President Joe Biden capitalized on the renewed lease on life granted to him in South Carolina on Feb. 29 with a sterling Super Tuesday showing in the fight for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took delegate-rich California but suffered a disappointing setback in Texas. Biden has a narrow popular-vote win, and something close to an even delegate split with Sanders in the Lone Star State. The former longtime Delaware senator also scored victories in eight other states, including Minnesota, North Carolina, and Virginia, as the moderate wing of the party remarkably continued to coalesce around a candidate whose campaign appeared to be leaking oil everywhere only one week earlier.
And Then There Were Two
Staffers for ex-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg have acknowledged that the campaign is reassessing its viability after a dismal March 3 performance, the Associated Press reports. The multibillionaire spent lavishly on Super Tuesday battlegrounds after skipping the first four primary contests, and the gambit has not proved fruitful. Despite tossing substantial portions of his financial largesse at North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, Bloomberg saw Biden thrash him by hefty double-digit margins in taking all three states.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) limped into the day and was rewarded for her persistence in remaining in the field with a humiliating third-place finish in her home state. Warren is far behind in the delegate count and her candidacy now officially becomes an irrelevancy, whether she defiantly pushes on or not.
Biden surprisingly claimed Massachusetts over Sanders and also won in Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma to go along with the aforementioned states. Sanders took his home state of Vermont and also scored victories in Colorado and Utah. But it was California and Texas that could have made the night for Bernie. As the frontrunner entering the day, he now finds himself locked in a duel with a candidate whose sudden surge has been entirely fueled by a burgeoning desire within Dem ranks to block the self-declared democratic socialist from becoming the party nominee.
Sanders Fails to Pull Away
Sanders took California as expected, but a decisive showing in Texas would have gone a long way to pushing back against the anti-Sanders wave that Biden is now riding for all its worth. Polls leading up to the contest showed Sanders with a strong edge. But he instead found himself in a hotly contested battle, and then saw an early lead dissipate as Biden hurled past him in the overall vote. Even had he eked out a win, the delegate count would have been split in a way that prevents Sanders from putting needed distance between himself and the former vice president in the overall count.
Biden and Sanders exit the day close enough in delegates to assure a tough race moving forward. And with centrists poised to deliver another strong rebuke to the strident progressivism of Sanders in Florida on March 17, Biden has every reason to feel ebullient about his prospects. A brokered convention may mean disaster for Sanders, who needs a dominant plurality, if not a locked-in majority, of delegates to avoid being finessed out of the nomination by party power brokers who have openly voiced their wishes to deny him the brass ring.
Losing in Massachusetts and Minnesota, two states he had banked on, and failing to net a big haul in Texas is surely a setback to Sanders’ hopes to ramp up that needed decisive delegate count heading into Milwaukee in July. The closer a Biden-Sanders battle remains, the more non-radical progressive Dems will flock to Biden. All of this was almost unthinkable a week ago. It points to a pent-up fury to defeat Sanders that is now being released. That does not bode well for the democratic socialist heading out of Super Tuesday.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.
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