You are here
Super Tuesday and the Biden bounce back
The Americans are typically not know for understatement, but for Joe Biden Super Tuesday was way beyond super and exceeded his, and commentators’ predictions. The former Vice President won ten states – including a major surprise in Texas – and the majority of the delegates on offer. Bernie Sanders is still in the race, but increasingly it looks like a two horse race, although for no apparent reason that I can discern both Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard remain as candidates.
Things moved very quickly from Biden’s double-digit win in South Carolina last Saturday. Steyer, Buttigieg and Klobuchar all threw in the towel, the latter two moving swiftly to endorse Biden; perhaps with an eye of the DNC chairmanship and the VP slot respectively.
I warned after New Hampshire not to write Biden off, and he seems to have benefitted from firstly, a concerted effort in the party to unite the moderate wing, and secondly the famous ‘momentum’. His victory in South Carolina, followed by the endorsements, gave him a bounce in the only polls that mattered…those in the Super Tuesday states.
Exit polls show that many voters chose their final candidate very late, giving Biden better than expected results across the board. Biden is also set to benefit from the endorsement of Mike Bloomberg, who quit the race on Wednesday. Bloomberg will go down in history as the candidate who spent half a billion dollars on ads, took part in two debates (badly) and won American Samoa. He won 19 delegates, around 1% of the winning number, at a cost of approximately $25 million each and proved that money alone can’t buy the presidency. Joe Biden is set to inherit much of Bloomberg’s organisation and cash and we can now look forward to a head to head between Biden and Sanders.
As we move on to a further 14 March contests that offer 1104 delegates, the choice seems stark; left wing v centre; young voters who support Sanders v older voters who support Biden. Most worryingly for Sanders is Biden’s almost monopoly of the Democratic black vote and his better than expected showing amongst Latinos. Biden leads in the delegate count 584 to Sanders’ 509, with California still to complete their count.
The Democratic Party are worried, specifically on two counts. First, will Sanders and Biden fight all the way to the convention and will this lead to a lack of unity in the fall campaign? It will certainly deflect attention away from Donald Trump. If both candidates keep scoring above the 15% threshold then we could be looking at a convention floor fight. Second, a hangover worry from 2016, if Sanders loses the nomination then many of his supporters will stay home, this happened four years ago and contributed to Hillary Clinton’s defeat.
The two remaining – serious- democratic concerns now face a long slog of primaries including Michigan and Florida this month and New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey in May and June. While these likely won’t repeat the excitement of last Tuesday, they will be crucial in the final settlement of the nomination question.
My predictions are that Biden will win the nomination and will select Amy Klobuchar for the VP slot. Beyond that, I’m keeping away from a general election prediction this early in the year!
Dr Chris Bradshaw is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of the West of Scotland and is a member of the Political Studies Association. He tweets at @Chrisbrads10. Image credit: CC by Gage Skidmore/Flickr.