NEWS/OP-ED: Biden and Sanders in Two-Horse Race Ahead of Super Tuesday
by Timothy Levine, Executive Editor
With the results of both Nevada and South Carolina, the field has narrowed down and it appears to be all Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden heading into Super Tuesday.
The Nevada Democratic caucus took place on February 22 and saw Senator Bernie Sanders surge to victory, amassing nearly 50 percent of the votes. This caucus was followed by South Carolina’s primary election that took place this past Saturday where Joe Biden had a similar performance that saw him gain 48 percent of the vote in a dominant showing. These are both vital in building momentum for the upcoming Super Tuesday.
The Nevada Caucus awarded 36 delegates, of which frontrunner Sanders was able to get 24 with his 46.8 percent of the votes. This was a huge win for Sanders and one he was hoping would build momentum for South Carolina, but more importantly Super Tuesday. Sanders was followed by Biden in Nevada who received nine delegates of the strength of his 20.2 percent of the votes. The only other candidate to receive delegates was Mayor Pete Buttigieg who got three delegates and 14.3 percent of the votes.
This was a very disappointing night for Senator Elizabeth Warren who failed to receive any delegates and only nine percent of the votes. She will need to strongly exceed expectations on Super Tuesday to have a viable path forward.
This Saturday featured another primary race in South Carolina, one that sees greater Super Tuesday implications in terms of momentum. Biden was able to dominate here, giving himself 39 delegates and 48.4 percent of the votes. The reverse of the Nevada results saw Sanders come in second with 20 percent of the vote and 15 delegates. These two were the only candidates to gain delegates with Tom Steyer coming in third with eleven percent of the vote.
This was a very poor performance for Steyer who was polling as high as twenty percent in the state earlier in the week and one that led him to suspend his campaign entirely. He was also not the only candidate to suspend their campaign, as both Buttigieg and Klobuchar have suspended their campaigns as well. This is a very surprising drop out for Buttigieg, as he had won Iowa earlier in the race and seemed to be a top tier candidate going forward. However, with poor polling in Super Tuesday states and his momentum being halted with Nevada and South Carolina results, it would be difficult to see a path forward to the nomination. Klobuchar’s suspension was a bit more predictable, as she has been polling even worse in Super Tuesday states and has little momentum left from her early results.
With all three of these candidates dropping out and Klobuchar and Buttigieg planning to endorse Biden, this gives Biden a strong wave of momentum heading into tomorrow’s primary elections. Klobuchar, Buttigieg, and Biden were all the more moderate of the remaining candidates, so it would be safe to assume the majority of their supporters would go to Biden now in a race that sees Sanders completely taking over.
Sanders has a double-digit lead in California in terms of polling, consistently above thirty percent. California is the single most important state in the Democratic primary race and Super Tuesday with 415 delegates up for grabs. He is followed by Biden, who is polling between 15 and 20 percent, but if Sanders can win big here, the race will be all but over.
Another candidate who is polling fairly well in Super Tuesday states is Mike Bloomberg, however, in the majority of these states including California and Texas, he is only polling in third place. Bloomberg will need to win at least one of these states to have a chance for the nomination, but if looking for a more moderate lane, he may want to put his resources in endorsing Biden.
At this point, it is Sander’s race to lose, but if moderate voters join together under Biden, he has a chance to win big on Super Tuesday and allow for a contested convention that could hurt Sanders if he does not outright win the nomination.