WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden has pulled off one of the most astounding and historical comebacks in American politics, via a resounding South Carolina primary victory on Saturday and a slew of wins on Super Tuesday, March 3.
After a lukewarm campaign and floundering badly in the Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada primaries last month, the “comeback kid” managed not only to win 10 of 14 states on Tuesday but also to earn the endorsement of several former rivals—including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. After winning just one state—American Samoa—on Tuesday Bloomberg on Wednesday announced he was ending his campaign and immediately endorsed Biden.
The newly buoyed former vice president is now in a neck and neck race with self-proclaimed democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination. Sanders won only three states on Super Tuesday and up to press time was leading in delegate-heavy California.
Bloomberg’s support for Biden will be pivotal, as he’s expected to continue to spend heavily on his stated quest to unseat incumbent President Donald Trump. While American campaign laws limit the amount a U.S. citizen can contribute to a presidential candidate’s campaign, it’s likely Bloomberg will create a Super Pac through which he can indirectly fund aspects of Biden’s bid for president. Bloomberg has also promised to allot his ground organization in several states, including Florida, to Biden’s campaign.
There was evidence in South Florida that Biden’s big victory in South Carolina was pulling support from Bloomberg to Biden. A local poll, since suspended, showed Biden ahead of Bloomberg 39 to 30 percent, with Sanders behind with 21 percent—an 11 percent increase for Biden from a poll conducted on February 26. Moreover, several Miami-Dade voters who cast their ballot in early voting on Monday and Tuesday acknowledged to CNW they had voted for Biden.
Another indication of the momentum Biden got from the South Carolina victory is that exit polls conducted on Tuesday saw 46 percent of voters saying they decided to vote for Biden after his South Carolina success.
South Florida political analyst Dr. Bernard Delisser pointed out there was a clear demarcation between those who voted early before Super Tuesday and those who voted on Tuesday. Delisser told CNW, “Biden’s poor showing in the earlier primaries and his apparent vulnerability cost him votes in early voting, but once he rebounded in South Carolina, those voters who really support him rallied to him. As was seen in earlier polls before the primary season began last month, most Democrats believe Biden is the best candidate to defeat Trump.”
Makings of a comeback
Biden’s phenomenal rebound began on Saturday, February 29 when he won the South Carolina primary by some 30 percentage points over Sanders. Several polls before Saturday had Biden winning by a slim majority, but the former VP grabbed massive support from South Carolina’s black voters buoyed by popular South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn’s endorsement.
Even with his big victory in South Carolina, it was believed Biden would be disadvantaged going into Super Tuesday. Polls had Sanders winning in almost every state, and on target to pick up over 900 delegates.
But after Saturday, the wind of change began blowing in Biden’s direction. First, last Sunday former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg suspended his campaign after fairing poorly in South Carolina, indicating he would endorse Biden. Then on Monday, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who also trailed badly in the earlier primaries announced the suspension of her campaign, and also announced her support for Biden. Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar publicly announced their endorsement at a Biden rally on Monday night. Also publicly endorsing Biden was former Texan Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
These endorsements paid handsomely on Tuesday as Biden easily won Minnesota with the support of Klobuchar, and Texas where polls predicted a strong Sanders win. Biden also won the majority delegates in Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia. Sanders won in his home state of Vermont and also took Colorado and Utah and was leading in California.
At press time, votes in California were still being counted, but the available delegate count saw Biden with 513 and Sanders 461.
Making Biden’s success on Super Tuesday the more remarkable is that because he was strapped for cash, he campaigned relatively little in states like Minnesota and Massachusetts.
In contrast, Sanders has been continuously building a very lucrative campaign chest, and Bloomberg spent some $600 billion on his campaign focused mainly on the Super Tuesday primaries.