The End of the Line

South Carolina was the desperately needed boost Joe Biden’s campaign required to remain viable. However, it would be Super Tuesday that would give Biden a lead over fellow candidate Bernie Sanders and Super Tuesday II that would cement it. To paraphrase Jedi Master Mace Windu, “This primary’s over.”

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Credit: Lucasfilm

Fourteen states held contests on Super Tuesday. Biden won ten of them. The Sanders campaign expected to win California and Texas (the night’s largest contests). It would not play out the way they anticipated.

With 97% of the total in as of this writing, Sanders won California – but he won’t get the state’s full 415 delegates (which are allotted proportionally). Biden surpassed expectations in the Golden State. With 28.0% (even surpassing Elizabeth Warren’s 13.3%), Biden is walking away with 165 delegates out of California (Sanders is looking at 216).

In one of the night’s biggest surprises, Sanders lost Texas to Joe Biden. Biden won the state by nearly five percentage points.

By Super Tuesday II, Elizabeth Warren (my preferred candidate) ended her campaign – essentially making it a two-man race (how original).

Super Tuesday II held six contests, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington. In 2016, Sanders won four of the contests (with crushing victories in Idaho and Washington). On the Sunday prior, Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper: “We’re working as hard as we can because Michigan is very, very significant in terms of the primary process.” Michigan holds 125 delegates and Sanders won it in 2016. How did he do in 2020? Like Rocky Balboa beating a side of meat… but unfortunately, Sanders was the meat.

Bernie Sanders won only one state in 2020: North Dakota.

If Sanders wanted to win the nomination in 2020, he had to expand his base by reaching out to black voters (the backbone of the Democratic primaries) and Clinton voters. He not only failed to do this, but he couldn’t even maintain his 2016 base.

Take a look at Sanders’ numbers:

Idaho
2016: 78%
2020: 42.5%

Michigan
2016: 49.8%
2020: 36.4%

Mississippi
2016: 16.5%
2020: 14.8%

Missouri
2016: 49.4%
2020: 34.6%

North Dakota
2016: 64.2%
2020: 53.5%

Washington
2016: 72.7%
2020: 36.6%

A faction of Sanders’ supporters will claim Elizabeth Warren’s campaign pulled support from Sanders’ campaign, hobbling it in the process. Out of the six contests above, Washington is the only state where you could transfer Warren’s mail-in ballots and Sanders pulls ahead of Biden.

Let’s also get this talking point out of the way: the “establishment” did not save Joe Biden’s campaign. It was essentially financially broke by the day of South Carolina’s primary. Black voters resuscitated his campaign. In South Carolina, Biden won 61% of the black vote (Sanders won just 17%).

The week following Super Tuesday II, Biden would sweep Arizona, Florida and Illinois. It’s worth noting, Biden won every county in Florida.

joe-biden-bernie-sanders

Credit: Drew Angerer / Getty

What happened to Sanders’ core base? Younger voter turnout (Sanders’ bread and butter) is down. You could also interpret the numbers as a component of Sanders 2016 success was due to voters simply rejecting Hillary Clinton.

Sanders still claims he has a “narrow path” to victory. Given multiple opportunities, the campaign has refused to divulge what that path is. Probably because it’s about as narrow as the Death Star trash compactor at the end of its cycle.

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin primary will go on as planned. In 2016, Sanders won it with 56.6% of the vote. In a recent Marquette University poll, Sanders trailed Biden by 28 points. As Biden continues to lead Sanders by double digits in the overwhelming majority of national polls, it’s clear there is no path forward for the Vermont Senator.

Sanders should drop out and begin unifying the party (an action he fumbled in 2016).

Sanders’ leverage to influence the Biden campaign is quickly dissipating. After Tuesday’s primary, he’ll have even less of a footing. He should use this time to negotiate an out and push for the Biden campaign to adopt some of his policies.

We’re living in a world where a record 6.6 million Americans have recently filed for unemployment. As I type this, nearly ten thousand Americans are dead from the coronavirus. We haven’t even hit the peak of this pandemic.

Under the leadership of our current president, America’s best case scenario results in 100,000 – 240,000 dead Americans.

If your buddy tells you they’re voting third-party or abstaining in November, show them the ever-increasing COVID-19 death toll and ask if they’re willing to risk going through this again in the next four years while Trump selects Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement.

Update 4/07/20: Bernie Sanders has ended his presidential campaign.

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