Once again, the polls and the pundits were wrong. All the professional expectations leading into Super Tuesday suggested that former Vice President Joe Biden would come out a respectable second, at best. The crystal ball crowd gave him his best chances in a few of the southern states with large black populations.
Though not a pre-emptive winner, Vermont Senator was expected to come out of Super Tuesday as a clear leader in the popular vote and delegate count. He would be on his way to the nomination or at least a brokered convention. That is not what happened.
Obviously, the black vote is a disproportionate percentage of the Democratic Party voters. In South Carolina – where Biden got a jump start on the more serious primaries – black voters comprised more than 60 percent of the voters. In other southern states, they ranged from states, they ranged from 25 to 50 percent. Biden was trending at around 60 percent of the black vote.
If a Democrat candidate is favored by black voters, that candidate will get the vast majority of the votes. More than any other racial or ethnic group, the black vote tends to be monolithic. What gets lost in the hubbub and euphoria of victory is the fact that most of those southern states won by Biden are likely to be in the Republican Party column in November.
The high points of Biden’s string of victories were Texas, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
Prior to the vote, the pollsters and pundits had conceded Texas to Sanders. The Lone Star State and California were to be Sanders’ firewall – along with a couple of other western states. Biden’s win in Texas was an upset by any measure – mostly to the Sanders’ team.
The only question regarding Massachusetts was weather Sanders could slip past Senator Elizabeth Warren in her home state. Biden not only came out on top, Warren was pushed down by Sanders to a humiliating third place.
Until the South Carolina win by Biden and the immediate withdrawal of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar from the presidential race in favor of Biden, Klobuchar was expected to win her home state – with Sanders coming in second. One has to recall that the Minnesota Democratic Party is verrrry progressive – even radical, at times. It is the state that sent Ilhan Omar to Congress and elected radical Keith Ellison as Attorney General.
Klobuchar’s exit and endorsement gave Biden the life he needed to carry the state.
The Delegate Count
Though there are a lot of delegates yet to be assigned due to the complicated Democratic Party rules, it is yet uncertain who will be in the lead when they are. Regardless it will be very close between Biden and Sanders – much closer than it was expected to be. That is not good news for Sanders.
While winning a state has a psychological and momentum benefit, it is by far not the whole story. Since Democrats have a proportionate distribution system for any candidate who passes the 15 percent threshold, losers get delegates. In Iowa, Sanders won the popular vote but second-place Mayor Pete Buttigieg harvested more delegates.
States with large delegations had three and even four of the candidates getting a share of the vote. If the Democratic Party used a winner-take-all system – as does the Republican Party — the race would be over and Biden would be heading to the Milwaukee convention with the nomination locked up.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg never had a reasonable chance at securing the nomination – not in the primaries and not even in a brokered convention. What he had were money and hubris. He believed that hundreds of millions of dollars would sell his carefully crafted screen image – trumping his poor campaign skills and political baggage.
Like Klobuchar and Buttigieg, Bloomberg has faced reality and withdrawn from the campaign and endorsed Biden. The difference between Bloomberg and the others is that he can do more than endorse. He will still be spending money like an obsessed billionaire – but only for Biden and other candidates up and down the ticket. He is the fattest of the Democrat fat cats.
Warren had a bad day – a very bad day, indeed. Unlike Biden’s surprising wins, her approaching bad day could be seen for weeks. She was in a free fall since she would not – then could not – explain how she would pay for her plans. She also had other liabilities. She did not register high on the likeability meter. Like Sanders, she was more of an angry scold than an inspiring leader.
With Warren and Sanders, it was always a question as to which one of them would dominate the far-left progressive wing of the Democratic Party. In reality, the Sanders/Warren voters may not be a wing of the Democratic Party at all – but rather radical leftists who would take a Democrat ballot only to support Sanders or Warren. That could be a problem for Democrats on Election Day.
Obviously, Sanders was the big loser. He lost states he should have won. He lost a lot of votes that should have been his. He lost delegates he should have gained. He lost his frontrunner status at a critical point. He has not been knocked out of the race, but he has been knocked to the canvas. His hope for the future is that in politics anything can happen – even a bounce back later on. However, it is difficult to see where that can take place.
If there is any definitive conclusion that can be drawn out of the Super Tuesday results it is that Biden is now the prospective Democrat nominee – and the only chance to stop him would be at a brokered convention.
So, there ‘tis.