Super Tuesday turned out to be super for Joe Biden. The former vice president won primaries in 10 of the 14 states in play, stunning Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. The improbable surge of victories that revived Biden’s flagging campaign followed endorsements from rivals Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana after they withdrew from the race. Topping off Biden’s amazing comeback, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg ended his campaign Wednesday and endorsed Biden.
The idea was to solidify behind the Democrat with the perceived best chance to defeat President Donald Trump in November. Bloomberg spelled it out, saying his objective from the outset was to defeat Trump and staying in the race “would make achieving that goal more difficult.” Bloomberg spent more than $570 million of his own money in advertising, according to an ad tracking firm, and managed to earn only 31 pledged delegates, a cost of about $18 million each. The only contest he won outright was American Samoa with 10 delegates. Similarly, Super Tuesday was disastrous for distant-third place candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who even lost her home state decisively. She suspended her campaign on Thursday.
Trump tweeted his view of the results. “The Democrat establishment came together and crushed Bernie Sanders, AGAIN!,” Trump asserted. “Even the fact that Elizabeth Warren stayed in the race was devastating to Bernie and allowed Sleepy Joe to unthinkably win Massachusetts. It was a perfect storm, with many good states remaining for Joe.” Trump’s “analysis” recalls his own battle with the Republican establishment’s efforts to deny him the presidential nomination. Whether or not Sanders can beat the Democrat establishment is an open question, but he can be expected to stay in the race.
It appears Biden has the all-important momentum versus Sanders who “was slowed, but not stopped, by a newly energized party establishment that has rallied behind Biden,” as the Los Angeles Times observed. The outlook is for a protracted fight between them, pitting “an establishment-backed, old-school Democrat against an independent progressive who wants to upend the party.” Biden has gained support from blacks, older voters and suburban moderates who gave him victories across the South, while Sanders tries to expand his coalition of young voters, Latinos and urbanites, who fueled his wins in California, Colorado and Utah.
Now Sanders is going after Biden on a broad front including support for the old NAFTA trade agreement and the war in Iraq. Sanders also has charged that Biden in the past favored cuts in Social Security benefits, which Biden denies. And Socialist Sanders describes Biden as beholden to billionaire donors and supported by the “corporate world.” Biden attacks the Sanders revolutionary agenda that would upend the nation’s capitalism, impose extremely high taxes on the wealthy, nationalize the health care system, provide free college and cancel student debt among other Orwellian proposals. And of overriding significance to gun owners, Biden cites Sanders’ vote for a 2005 bill to shield gun manufacturers from liability lawsuits and has said, “the first thing I’ll do as president is work to get rid of that.”
In Georgia, Biden’s Super Tuesday victories drew support from Democrat leaders. State Rep. Billy Mitchell, president-elect of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, predicted that 90% of Georgia Democratic legislators would endorse Biden. Even so, at this point the Peach State appears safe for President Trump who held big leads over the top Democrats in a poll by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International affairs. Trump led Biden, 51% to 43, and Sanders 52-41 (margin of error 2.9%).
There are a lot more primaries ahead for the Democrats, but the field has been winnowed down to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Their attacks on each other can only redound to the benefit of Donald Trump who waits in the wings for November. The question now is can Biden possibly finish off Sanders by winning enough delegates before the Democrats hold their national convention in Milwaukee in July?