It took less than 24 hours for the Democratic Party to close ranks and say loudly and clearly, “Bernie Sanders is not our guy, and welcome home Joe!”
On the heels of Senator Amy Klobuchar and Mayor Pete Buttigieg suspending their campaigns, there were some nervous mutterings in the democratic party that many voters might sit out Super Tuesday’s primaries. In addition to their own loyal supporters, what about the voters who had realigned to Klobuchar and Buttigieg after their original picks (such as Gillibrand or Beto) dropped out? Would they still be willing to cast their votes for the candidate behind door number 3? The answer was a resounding, “Yes!” and that candidate was former Vice President, Joe Biden. More importantly, it was not Bernie Sanders.
Biden over-performed in every state, and both the results and exit polls indicate he was likely helped by people who decided within the last 24 hours. His momentum from the South Carolina primary was evident, and the strong endorsements from Amy, Pete & Beto helped the party base recognize it was time to close ranks.
Equally as important as Biden’s big day was Bernie’s bad one. Sanders lost states that he won easily in 2016 (such as Oklahoma and Minnesota) and he under-performed in others that he was expected to do well in (Massachusetts, Maine, Texas and even his home state of Vermont). Sanders only won his home state with roughly 50% of the vote, compared to the 85/15 margin he held in 2016. He also lost his neighboring state of Massachusetts, where Biden didn’t even campaign. But it’s the two biggest prizes of the night, Texas & California, that cement that Bernie was never able to expand his appeal – despite his campaign’s claim that he would attract new voters. Bernie lost Texas, a state where he expected to win big and his margin of victory in California projects to be much more narrow than polling suggested even a few days ago. Biden’s surge on election day changed everything.
The takeaway from all of this is that the democratic party is ready to move on from the primaries. It’s chosen its candidate, and the candidate is a real democrat – Joe Biden. We know from history that Sanders will not go away quietly, but Bloomberg just dropped out, and we can expect Warren to drop out before too long. Biden has emerged as the clear front runner now and with Florida, Georgia and Mississippi on the horizon, his lead will only grow, he has all the momentum now. Scratch that, he has “Joementum.”
Wendy Luxenburg writes for Palmer Report