Former Vice President Joe Biden went from dead man walking to the frontrunner in less than two weeks. There were rumblings that Bernie Sanders was chipping away at Joe Biden’s firewall in South Carolina. Biden’s support among black voters had dropped 19 points since last November. He was only up five points in the Palmetto State. He’s cooked, right? Nope. We were wrong. I was wrong. Biden had a 20+ point walloping which not only put him a solid number two in the delegate count but overtook Bernie Sanders in the popular vote for the Democratic nomination as well. Democrats love to tout those popular vote totals.
But it was possible that this could be a John Kasich moment. You remember the drill in 2016. Kasich clinched Ohio thinking it could block Trump. It didn’t. Bernie Sanders still had the momentum. He had invested heavily in Latino outreach would be key to winning Texas and California—two of the biggest states last night for delegate allocation. It seemed like Bernie’s race to lose. Sanders should do well, right? Nope. Biden dominated Virginia, won North Carolina, swept the South and that’s with placing Texas in the win column. Biden went from dead on arrival to the undertaker. He’s now the frontrunner. I say again. Biden is now the Democratic frontrunner. Biden won in states where he never visited or had next to nothing in terms of having an operation on the ground. What gives? It seems a lot of late deciders broke his way. In Virginia, nearly half of the Democratic electorate here made up their minds in the last few days and 52 percent broke for Biden. That’s huge.
Sanders can survive being swept in the South but losing MA, MN and/or ME? Tough path to the nomination after that.— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) March 4, 2020
In the course of one week we could be going from Joe Biden being DOA to being the likely nominee.— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) March 4, 2020
Biden now favored to win the most delegates tonight, according to our estimates, and we're pretty cautious about letting the results in one place dictate another, given varying early voters and the late surge— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) March 4, 2020
We're looking at a very real possibility that Biden can extend his gains beyond the South to Maine, Mass. and Minn., all states where Sanders was clearly favored heading into the night but with relatively few advance votes— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) March 4, 2020
Making things even worse for Sanders: many of his best states feature three or more candidates with a solid shot to reach viability, potentially blunting his delegate haul in states like CO, UT and perhaps CA down the line— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) March 4, 2020
In my lifetime, I've never seen an election where late deciders have broken so sharply from early voters than this one.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) March 4, 2020
Biden demonstrating impressive breadth of support tonight across affluent suburban whites, non-college whites and African-Americans. Sanders w/ an edge among Latinos, Sanders/Warren strongest in young, progressive bastions.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) March 4, 2020
Texas exit polls by race via @CNN:— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) March 4, 2020
- Sanders winning Hispanic voters in Texas by ~20 points
- Biden winning black voters in Texas by ~40 points
- Biden and Sanders running about even among white voters
There's a *chance* Biden could effectively end the race with today's results. Still need to see TX/CA, obviously.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) March 4, 2020
MORE from @CBSNewsPoll: Nearly half of Virginia Democratic primary voters decided in the last few days and Biden won them big – 52% went for him. 51% viewed Biden as the candidate best able to beat Trump. Sanders was far behind with 22%. He won more than six in 10 of Black voters— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) March 4, 2020
There has been a debate among Democratic voters: do they want a guy who can beat Trump or someone who runs on their left-wing principles. One has a better shot of winning but is an entrenched part of the Democratic establishment while the other is a revolutionary, ‘burn it all down’ left-winger that risks slaughter in the general. What to do? It seems the former in both of those choices won out on Super Tuesday.
The late decider block is what saved Biden in a lot of places. Yes, he did well, very well with black voters. It’s virtually a carbon copy of 2016. Bernie Sanders does well in Iowa, wins New Hampshire, has another solid night in Nevada, and then crashes and burns in South Carolina. And that leads to a primary dumpster fire on Super Tuesday. Once again, Sanders got walloped in the south because black Democrats aren’t feeling the Bern. In 2016, they didn’t know him and weren’t going to roll the dice on him, so they broke for Hillary, giving Clinton a delegate lead that was insurmountable. In 2020, Sanders performed well in Iowa, despite it being a total disaster of a caucus, won New Hampshire, which was expected, won Nevada, which he had failed to do in 2012, but then it all collapsed once this thing dipped below the Mason-Dixon line. Black Democrats continue to be the boogeyman for Bernie. They’re not for revolutionary change. And this cycle, they do know who Sanders is and what he stands for. He’s not unheard of—and they’re not buying his brand of politics. It’s quite the turn for a man who was two weeks ago the Democratic frontrunner. Now, he has to worry about another thing: Bernie was able to clinch some wins one the contest moved north and toward the West. Well, Biden won the Minnesota primary handily, which could prove to be trouble when it comes to the delegate math.
Sanders has and did do well reaching out to Latino voters but splitting the vote with progressives with Warren and not being able to get solid returns from the suburbs, black voters, and non-college educated whites—all big voter blocs—can throw a wrench in the works. Is it a case of Democratic voters liking Bernie, but not as a presidential candidate or are Democratic voters finally coming to their senses about the man, especially after his remarks about Fidel Castro? The latter might be inside baseball, but I think while the most hardcore of liberals out there might like to feel the Bern, they don’t want to feel that with regards to an electoral wipeout in November. Super Tuesday proved that Biden, for whatever reason, is viewed as the safe choice, the choice who can best beat Trump this year, Mike Bloomberg’s money didn’t do anything, and Liz Warren is pretty much sticking around to sink Sanders. Hey, he’s the guy who reportedly told her a girl couldn’t beat Trump. She’s out for blood, a third-place finish in her home state of Massachusetts be damned.
California may be what saves Bernie after this marathon round of primaries. And he should be thankful since a bad showing here could have derailed the Bernie 2020 train, which is already half off the tracks now. What a difference a couple of weeks make, huh?