After Iowa and New Hampshire, many were convinced Biden’s campaign had pretty much been lost already. According to pundits he was a dead man walking – and the only person who did not realize was Biden himself. Bernie Sanders — according to the media and Sanders’ supporters — had the nomination all but secured.
Nevada: the Start of a Biden Comeback?
However, Nevada’s second place finish for Biden offered some optimism. It allowed for the Biden campaign to revamp its hope and perhaps turn things around.
If Biden were to become president on November 3, he would no doubt recall the week leading into South Carolina and Super Tuesday. In South Carolina, Biden needed to win decisively to keep not only his supporters happy, but his donors too, and he did well.
About 60 percent of South Carolina’s Democratic voters are African American, a vote Biden commands, and the state thus differs significantly from the predominantly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire (or the significant Latino population in Nevada).
Many black Americans remember the eight years that Biden served as Barack Obama’s Vice President fondly. Biden also benefits from the fact that he belongs to the moderate wing of the party. South Carolina is a conservative state, and many black voters are openly struggling with the left-wing, socially progressive course that Democrats have taken in recent years.
Biden’s Growing Momentum: Mirage or the Real Deal?
Naturally, Biden believes in his chances down the road. His second place in Nevada was thus sold as a win, with Biden dubbing himself the “comeback kid” the same night. It was necessary, as the momentum that had died down almost entirely resurfaced with his second place and the delegates he was able to obtain as a result.
The momentum was carried into last week’s debate, where Biden had a solid appearance, fighting against the notion he was borderline impaired by showing some fire while channeling his inner Ronald Reagan on stage.
If Biden manages to win South Carolina decisively, the race that had been considered over by so many would all of a sudden be highly interesting again, and Sanders would have reason to be noticeably nervous. And indeed, according to the latest Monmouth poll, Biden currently holds the decisive lead he desperately needs. He stands at 36 percent, while Sanders is at 16 percent. Even more advantageous for Biden, Tom Steyer is currently at 15 percent. Thus, even a third-place and hence fewer delegates are conceivable according to the poll.
However, momentum is the deciding factor here. With Biden winning South Carolina, the odds for Super Tuesday would have changed tremendously after winning a state his campaign was aimed at.
Increasing Opposition to Sanders within the Democratic Party
Moreover, Sanders is increasingly facing opposition within Democratic circles and in public as his socialist vision for America has become more evident. Moreover, Sanders’ praise for dictatorships while chastising AIPAC and calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu racist has also had an impact that has inter alia now resulted in Biden now leading in Florida also.
It is thus vital for Biden to turn the primaries into a two-person race so that the party can unite behind him. Super Tuesday could start this domino effect, as at least one moderate candidate is likely to drop out, which allows for Biden to absorb those voters left behind.
Most importantly, however, with a decisive win in South Carolina, Biden is highly likely to obtain similar results in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Sanders, on the other hand, is most likely to win Maine, California, Colorado, Utah and Vermont. He may or may not win narrowly over Warren in Massachusetts and split the vote with Klobuchar in her state of Minnesota. This scenario would put the overall delegate count for Sanders at around 679, while Biden would be at approximately 641 – leaving the race wide open and the comeback kid riding on a wave of presidential-level momentum.