In all of his previous presidential runs, Joe Biden never won a single primary election. Things changed dramatically with this year’s Super Tuesday vote. Not only did former Vice President Biden win 10 of the 14 states, putting him in the lead in delegate count. All of the centrist rivals to Biden dropped out in rapid succession, leaving him as the only candidate left to challenge democratic socialist Bernie Sanders for the nomination.
In a matter of days, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren all dropped out of the race. And the first three all endorsed Biden in their announcements.
Behind the scenes, the Democratic Party establishment–senior members of congress, former presidents and cabinet officials, state and national party officers and Wall Street party financiers–concluded that if they wanted to avoid a replay of the disastrous 2016 election, they had to get all mainstream factions to converge behind a single candidate before Sanders ran away with enough delegates to secure a first ballot win. Sanders backers cried “fix” after the Super Delegates gave Hillary Clinton the first ballot nomination–and many stayed home or voted for third party candidate Jill Stein, helping give Donald Trump the margin of victory.
Joe Biden was the natural choice for the party mainstream old guard. President Obama’s loyal Vice President, former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees, Biden was the known personality. Party officials were uneasy about Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his billion dollar deep pockets, remembering he floated between the Democratic and Republican Parties and independence. With Bloomberg’s endorsement of Biden, accompanied by a pledge to do everything in his power to defeat Donald Trump, Biden might inherit the state-of-the-art campaign structure that Bloomberg created, using the resources of his corporate empire.
If all that transpires, and Biden continues on the path to the nomination, he could give President Donald Trump a serious run. With the impact of the Coronavirus on the economy, the stock market and the national mood still unknown, President Trump’s ability to ride into reelection on the strength of the economy is no longer so certain. Economists who thought that 2021-2022 would be the earliest point of a major economic downturn and market correction are now warning that 2020 could see a global recession–possibly a replay of 2008. That is if the COVID-19 virus does turn into a global pandemic, another big unknown.
Biden’s turnaround from underperformer to frontrunner began in South Carolina one week before Super Tuesday, when he won a significant victory–on the strength of an eloquent endorsement by Representative Jim Clyburn, a highly respected 27-year House veteran and former head of the Congressional Black Caucus. Clyburn is one of the party elders who made the decision to throw their support behind Biden.
Biden grabbed a larger than expected share of the Texas Hispanic vote after being endorsed by Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke’s father-in-law is a major figure in the economy of the Rio Grande River Valley and he carried a lot of weight among Hispanic voters.
Democratic pollsters have been warning for months that if Bernie Sanders got the nomination, the party would suffer the worst across-the-board defeat since the 1972 election when George McGovern was clobbered by Richard Nixon. Clearly their message resonated and the Democratic Party elders responded in unison.
The race for the nomination is far from over, but the contours of the race to the convention have dramatically shifted.
Republished by permission of Sic Semper Tyrannis.