Clash of the old folks seems to begin to be moderately entertaining
Biden hits back: a fight with Sanders inevitable
Super Tuesday, the most important day of the American Democratic primaries, is over. Although it will only become clear later on how many electors each candidate can add, it can already be concluded that Biden and Sanders have trumped their rivals and will fight each other in the coming months for the nomination of their party.
The biggest surprise of the evening was Joe Bidens’ comeback, unparalleled in modern American history.
The former vice president started the campaign for the primaries as the dead favorite, but he fell sharply in the polls early this year after dull appearances on the campaign path and poor results in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
He managed to turn the tide last Saturday with a monster victory in South Carolina. Two of his most important rivals from the temperate camp, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, decided to step out of the race shortly after and give Biden their blessing. The Democratic party stabilization, which until then had kept itself down, also publicly supported the former vice-president. Beto O’Rourke from Texas, who ended his campaign in November last year, also blessed Biden.
These late statements of support appear to have had an effect: American media report that many voters only made their final choice in recent days.
The outlook for Biden tipped within three days. Not only did he win big in the south of the US (Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee) on Tuesday, thanks to his popularity among black voters, he also won Massachusetts and Minnesota.
Especially the victory in Massachusetts was a big hit for Biden. In the run-up to the polls, experts predicted that the battle there would mainly be between Elizabeth Warren, who represents the state as senator, and Bernie Sanders, senator from neighboring Vermont state. In Minnesota, supporters of the failed Klobuchar rallied behind him.
The fact that Biden scored well not only in the south, but also in the northeast (Massachusetts and Maine) and the mid-west (Minnesota), indicates that he has succeeded in overriding the previously fragmented moderate wing of the Democratic Party.
Biden really needed his good results to stay in the race. Not only because a large backlog of Sanders would have been difficult to catch up, but also because his election fund was practically empty. After his victory in South Carolina, money from donors started to come in again.
The pink glow that hung around Bernie Sanders in recent weeks will have been somewhat diminished by the catching up of Biden. The Vermont senator, the clear leader until Tuesday, seemed to have won fewer delegates on Wednesday morning than his biggest rival and should probably give up his status as a favorite for the final win.
However, Sanders cannot be described as a loser: he is heading for a large victory in California, where the vast majority of electors can be forgiven. And in Texas, the second most important Super Tuesday state, he doesn’t seem to end up far behind Biden. He won well in his home state of Vermont, Colorado and Utah.
It is painful for Sanders that he and his team put a lot of effort in the campaign on their promise to lure voters who would otherwise not vote to the polls. Based on the first turnout figures, they do not seem to have achieved that.
The day was disastrous for Michael Bloomberg, media magnate and former mayor of New York. He decided not to participate in the primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina and used his huge personal fortune for an unprecedented advertising campaign in the fourteen Super Tuesday states. For example, he spent $ 500 million (about $ 448 million) on TV commercials.
Bloomberg, himself a former Republican, was accused by his Democratic rivals of trying to buy the party nomination. If that was indeed the case, it would not have been very successful. In the end he only managed to win in the overseas territory of Samoa and seems to be able to count on a maximum of ten delegates.
The New York billionaire said he and his team are meeting on Wednesday to discuss whether he will continue his campaign.
Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts and a progressive kindred spirit of Sanders, also did not perform well. She ended up in her home state behind Biden and Sanders and generally did worse than Bloomberg.
If neither Biden nor Sanders succeeds in getting a clear majority of Democratic delegates behind, Warren hopes to present himself as a reasonable alternative to the fight that will follow the July party convention.
The fifth Democratic candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, who sits in the House of Representatives for the state of Hawaii, seems to be able to count on one delegate at most. It is not entirely clear to connoisseurs why it is continuing its campaign.