During the last few days the 2020 Democratic contest has changed dramatically. Three candidates of consequence dropped out, several major endorsements were issued and it looks like we now have a frontrunner. With all that it is still far from over. Let’s explore.
If I were in charge of the theme music at Biden Headquarters going into Super Tuesday I would have selected Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. Despite a resounding win in South Carolina on Saturday the map still appeared to be against them on Tuesday. The score is kept in delegates and it appeared Biden would have a net loss compared to Bernie Sanders when all of Tuesday’s delegates were awarded.
That night billionaire Tom Steyer of California (a Super Tuesday state) ended his quest. Over the next 24 hours Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden. We know Buttigieg talked with former President Jimmy Carter shortly before announcing his decision. You decide how you want to connect those dots; I know what I’m surmising. As for Amy I’m guessing that, probably via a third party, former President Obama made the ask. Lost in this shuffle Leon Panetta and Susan Rice endorsed Biden.
Monday night Klobuchar appeared on stage in Dallas with Biden and at the end of the program Beto O’Rourke was suddenly brought front and center, handed a microphone and just so happened to enthusiastically endorse Biden. Keep this in mind; in a 2016 failed Senate bid O’Rourke garnered more votes in Texas than any Democrat in history. Texas was a Super Tuesday state where Sanders was favored. Biden not only did well, he actually won the Lone Star State the next night.
In the aftermath of a poor Super Tuesday showing on Wednesday morning Michael Bloomberg made the good business decision of suspending his campaign and then made the patriotic decision to immediately endorse Biden.
Trump became the Republican nominee in 2016 in large part because the field stayed too large for too long. Too many of the candidates were in it for themselves not for their party, causes or country. Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio all had spats with Trump during the campaign and because they view it as politically expedient are now all loyal Trump sycophants. Juxtaposing the 2016 GOP contenders and the 2020 Democratic contenders and “party fathers” illustrates the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Steyer all dropped out because their number one goal was to defeat Trump and Biden is far and away the Democrats best chance at this point.
One of the turning points in the campaign was when after the debate in South Carolina a Bloomberg senior campaign staffer asked his counterpart on the Sanders campaign if Sanders would accept Bloomberg’s financial assistance if he were the nominee and the answer was an emphatic no. Bloomberg knew that the nominee would need his financial backing and if they refused it Trump would beat them. Candidates matter and if Bloomberg didn’t his staff was realizing that after two terrible debates their boss wasn’t the right candidate, but they like him were dedicated to the cause.
On Saturday Biden was entering the Super Tuesday stretch hoping to be within 100 to 150 delegates of Sanders. As of 2:43pm on Wednesday Biden is actually ahead in the count by 65 delegates. The totals will change before you read this but when all is settled from the Super Tuesday contests Biden should actually be ahead.
Things are far from settled let alone over. At this writing Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard (who finally won one delegate) are still in the race. Warren presents an interesting and somewhat unique combination of circumstances. Gabbard will not be a factor in the Democratic contest, will end up running as a third party candidate (ala Jill Stein) and could be a spoiler factor in a close state or two in November.
If I were in charge of music at Biden HQ today the song would be the Bee Gees’ You Should Be Dancing. Remember it all started with a Saturday night fever coming out of South Carolina.
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