It was the most eagerly anticipated day of the election year so far. A total of 14 states voted on Super Tuesday, and a third of all available delegates were up for grabs.
The Quickly-Changing Democratic Primary Race
After the previous first three contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, Bernie Sanders had been leading the field decisively. It seemed as if Sanders was leaving his competitors so clearly behind that they could not catch up with him in the remaining stages of the race. However, over the last four days, the race unfolded differently. With Biden’s victory in South Carolina, the momentum shifted and culminated in a triumphant night for Joe Biden on Super Tuesday.
Biden managed to secure wins in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and also in Texas. In Virginia, he even won by over 50 percent while he won Alabama by over 60.
Biden arguably benefited greatly from the fact that the field of moderate candidates cleared enormously with the exits of ex-Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota’s Senator Amy Klobuchar. Buttigieg and Klobuchar support Biden, have made public appearances with him in the past few days, and many of their supporters will have voted for Biden.
It worked wonders. So much so that Biden won in Klobuchar’s home state of Minnesota, which had been previously considered almost impossible. Polls here predicted either a Klobuchar or Sander’s victory. The situation was similar in Massachusetts, the home state of Warren. In the polls, the state had been a lock for either Sanders or Warren. However, Biden simply took it away from them.
With Biden blitzing the electoral map, Sanders was left to win in his home state of Vermont, Colorado, and Utah. Fortunately for Sanders, he is projected to win the most significant prize of all the states with the most delegates – California. If it was not for the Sunshine State, Sanders could have likely booked a vacation in his lake house by now.
The southern states, in particular, remain Sanders’ Achilles’ heel. Already in 2016, he was unable to succeed against Clinton as he did not bond with the non-white demographics in the South. What had begun in South Carolina continued through Super Tuesday and will remain an issue during the upcoming primaries also.
Meanwhile, Mike Bloomberg did not have a great night either, which became evident as soon as the Virginia result was being projected. Virginia was one of the states in which Bloomberg hoped for a victory and, accordingly, allocated a substantial amount of capital towards campaign advertisement in the state. Bloomberg still obtained delegates in some states, but it was certainly not the dividend for the by now $ 500 million he has spent in his campaign altogether he must have anticipated.
Bloomberg currently states that he seeks to stay in the race, but any chances are practically gone. Any other candidate in his situation who is not a billionaire and was dependant on donations would be forced to quit by now. The latter will most likely apply to Elizabeth Warren, who experienced another disastrous and even embarrassing night. The former front-runner failed to obtain the 15 percent hurdle for delegates in several states. In fact, Warren was not even able to prevail in her home state and only ended up in third place. Losing one’s home state usually warrants an automatic withdrawal for a candidate.
Moreover, although Warren has shown herself to be rather stubborn for staying in the race, it is unlikely she will not have to abide by the unwritten home state law. Her chances of winning are zero, and she has been running out of money. Moreover, she is currently weakening Sanders, with whom she is ideologically the closest. Thus, her exit could have a similar effect for Sanders as Klobuchar’s and Buttigieg’s had for Biden. Super Tuesday did not disappoint, and the cards have been reshuffle.
Now, what had been inconceivable a week ago has become a reality: Joe Biden is the de facto favorite in the race
According to the current count, Biden now leads the race with a total of 835 delegates, while Sanders has 606 of the 1991 that are needed to win. The race is not yet decided; however Biden has taken a significant step towards the nomination and towards saving the party from Sanders, who is facing a similar fate as he did in 2016.