March 4, 2020

Super Tuesday

On Tuesday, 14 states voted in the Democratic presidential primary. “Joe Biden swept through the South and earned surprise victories in Massachusetts and Minnesota, while Bernie Sanders held serve in the West.” Politico

Both sides see the results as a clear win for Biden and a major setback for Sanders.

“Political junkies figured Biden was on the road to oblivion and that Bernie Sanders was moving inexorably toward the nomination. But [a] time traveler would have said, ‘Wait a minute. Nobody thought Biden would actually win Iowa or New Hampshire. His plan was always to win big in South Carolina and use that to barrel ahead on Super Tuesday.’... it looks like Biden didn’t need very much to get himself back on the very same track he had laid out for himself when he started running last April. If that’s right, then there was never any Biden collapse. What happened to him was a predictable bump on the road.”
John Podhoretz, New York Post

“We've seen candidates skip Iowa, fail to win New Hampshire, and then go on to secure their party's nomination. But competing in both, finishing fourth and fifth, and then ending up the frontrunner? That's unheard of — and it calls into question not just whether those two small and unrepresentative states should come first on the calendar, but whether the way they vote deserves outsized attention at all… Biden also showed that money doesn't matter as much as many of us tend to assume it does. The Biden campaign was outspent 7-to-1 by the Sanders camp and an astonishing 100-to-1 by the Bloomberg juggernaut in the states that competed on Super Tuesday…

“Biden's remarkable reversal of fortune this past week shows that the party decides presidential nominations after all — or at least it can still do so when the stakes are sufficiently high and leading members of the party resolve to intervene. Tuesday's results simply couldn't have happened had the institutional party not engaged in an astoundingly rapid act of consolidation — against Sanders and in favor of Biden.”
Damon Linker, The Week

“Sanders himself declared victory with just two states under his belt… ‘We are going to win,’ he continued as his fans chanted BER-NEE, BER-NEE, ‘we are going to defeat Trump because we are putting together an unprecedented grassroots multigenerational multiracial movement’. That movement somehow doesn’t include African Americans in the south… Sanders’ victory in California will be a source of hope for his campaign. But scraping out a slender delegate lead is not the same as a multigenerational, multiracial movement to beat Trump…

“Every single exit poll in the Democratic contests have stressed a single factor: beating Trump. In the states that voted on Tuesday, between 60 and 70% of Democrats said they preferred a candidate who could beat Trump over someone they agreed with on the issues… Super Tuesday’s super wins for Biden change nothing about his flaws, but they do underscore the strength of his sales pitch to a Trump-weary world.”
Richard Wolffe, The Guardian

“Overall, the story of Super Tuesday is the utter collapse in momentum for Sanders. The African-American vote has just come out in massive numbers for Biden in state after state, while there’s no sign of that massive wave of new and younger voters that Sanders promised. Bernie still has a good chance of winning the nomination, but the Democratic Party’s establishment pulled its act together at the last minute, and it looks like a long, hard fight all the way to Milwaukee…

“Democrats may well end up with some buyer’s remorse; Biden is the same guy who unnerved so many Democrats with his aging appearance, forgetfulness, and gaffes. But the party establishment has put its doubts aside and decided to ride or die with him. After a long, cacophonous noise, the Democratic primary is down to two extremely different candidates.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Left

“There’s a case to be made that two endorsements—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s of Sanders, in October, after his heart attack, and Jim Clyburn’s of Joe Biden, last week, after Biden’s poor showings in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada—have provided the two most pivotal moments in the race so far. ‘We know Joe,’ Clyburn said in his endorsement. ‘But more importantly, he knows us.’ Back in October, Ocasio-Cortez explained her Sanders endorsement to NPR by saying, ‘This is about really creating a mass movement, a multiracial mass movement of working-class Americans to guarantee health care, housing, and education as rights for all.’ After Super Tuesday, those two statements, and the audiences they spoke to, will likely define the two-person race to come.”
Eric Lach, New Yorker

“If you treat voters and officials in the party you want to lead as the enemy, a lot of people in that party aren’t going to trust you to lead them… It’s not that Sanders is running a weak campaign. But he is, in a way, running the wrong campaign. He’s the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination — at least he was until tonight — but he’s still running as an insurgent. The political revolution was supposed to close the gap between these realities: If Sanders could turn out enough new voters, he could sweep away the Democratic establishment and build his own party in its place. But going all the way back to Iowa, that strategy failed. Sanders won as a Democrat, not a revolutionary, and he needed to pivot to a strategy that would unite the existing Democratic Party around him…

“If Sanders and his team don’t figure out how to do it, they could very well lose to Biden, and even if they win, they’ll be unable to govern. Persuading the Amy Klobuchars of the world to support you, even when they know it’s a risk, is exactly what the president needs to do to pass bills, whether that’s a Green New Deal or Medicare-for-all or just an infrastructure package. Biden, for all his weak debate performances and meandering speeches, is showing he still has that legislator’s touch. That he can unite the party around him, and convince even moderate Democrats to support a liberal agenda, is literally the case for his candidacy.”
Ezra Klein, Vox

From the Right

“The former Vice President ran away with the vote among late deciders, which means he benefited from the rush of endorsements that followed South Carolina. The party is almost literally lifting the old war horse on its back despite his many gaffes and stumbles. The prospect of an avowed socialist at the top of the ticket has scared millions of Democrats into Mr. Biden’s arms no matter his liabilities…

“[Sanders] can talk about millennials all he wants, but Mr. Biden overwhelmed him among voters over age 45 who were 65% of the electorate in Virginia, 62% in Massachusetts, 64% in North Carolina, 66% in Maine, and 67% in Oklahoma, according to exit polls. Older Americans vote more than do young socialists.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Super Tuesday finally put to bed the inane theory that Bernie Sanders could win the White House by driving unprecedented voter turnout. He seems to have raised turnout, all right, by Democrats looking to deny him their party's presidential nomination… In 2016, more than 125,000 voters helped Sanders beat Clinton by 23 points in Minnesota. In Oklahoma, 174,228 helped him best her by more than 10. Tonight, Biden earned the votes of nearly 200,000 Minnesotans, beating Sanders by more than 8 points. Biden beat Sanders by more than 13 points in Oklahoma, or by more than 40,000 votes. Meanwhile, turnout in Virginia doubled from 2016 and surpassed that of 2008, only to give Biden a 400,000-vote lead over Sanders.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

“Was there honestly anybody outside of Bloomberg’s orbit who sincerely believed that the former billionaire mayor from New York with the horrible sense of humor and automaton-like sense of empathy would be the Democratic party’s nominee for president of the United States?… The Democratic presidential primary is now a two-man race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, the establishment Democrat who has been in politics for a half-century and the populist revolutionary who has fought from the outside for decades. Democrats will now be confronted with a diametrically stark choice.”
Daniel DePetris, Spectator USA

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