To give you an idea of how chaotic America has become, the boldest prediction one could have made about today’s Ohio primary is whether it was going to happen or not. The state’s Republican Governor tried to shut it down last night, with judges intervening and ordering it to happen, and the Governor illegally vowing to try to defy the court’s orders.
But let’s talk about the three states voting today whose primaries haven’t turned into a bizarre reality show. The final polling averages, and calculated by RealClearPolitics, have Joe Biden up by 39 points in Florida, 29 points in Illinois, and 18 points in Arizona.
We’ll likely see lower turnout today due to the coronavirus crisis. But it’s worth keeping in mind that people who bother to vote in primary races tend to be motivated voters to begin with. There has been some suggestion that older voters could turn out in lesser numbers, as they’re statistically more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus. But in this primary race it’s younger voters who haven’t been bothering to turn out, even before the virus threat.
If in-person voting numbers are significantly down today, it’ll give a lot more statistical weight to those who voted early. Our guess is that older voters will have cast enough early votes to make up for any absence of older voters showing up today, but then again, there’s never been a modern election scenario quite like this one.
The upshot is this. If any of today’s primary states were going to be close to begin with, the strange circumstances could make the results unpredictable. But with Joe Biden ahead by margins this huge, the turnout would have to be skewed massively today for him to actually lose any of these states. Our expectation is that Biden will still win every state – just don’t ask us to predict the specific margins.
But margin of victory matters when it comes to pressuring Bernie Sanders to give up the ghost of his dead-end campaign and drop out sooner rather than later. So if you’re in one of these states and you’re safely able to vote today, you should definitely do so. The primary should be over tonight, both for the sake of unity, and for the sake of not needing to hold the upcoming primaries in the coming weeks as the coronavirus threat continues to get worse.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report