‘Prediction has been a terrible business, and the pundits have gotten it wrong over and over…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) After nearly being knocked out with low finishes in the first three primaries, former Vice President Joe Biden drew on his momentum in the recent South Carolina primary—along with several major endorsements—to become Super Tuesday’s big winner.
Biden won at least nine of the 14 states voting, according to preliminary returns, with some West Coast polls still awaiting results.
However, far-left front-runner Bernie Sanders appeared poised to remain in strong contention, and likely remain the front-runner if the night’s biggest prize, California, swung his way.
Sanders pulled off wins in Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont, as well as a closer-than-expected race in Texas, the second largest state for delegates that was in contention.
“He has never compromised, he will never compromise—and that’s why he deserves to be our next president of the untied states,”Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said during his victory party in Vermont, according to the Associated Press.
With 415 delegates up for grabs, California remained by far the kingmaker. Experts cautioned that the state’s unusual vote-tallying methods could mean it was days before the evening’s top prize was decisively determined, although Sanders was the favored victor going into the Tuesday primaries, according to most projections.
Biden kept his hopes high, though, delivering an election-night address in the Golden State shortly before the polls were due to close.
I’m about to take the stage from California. Tune in to watch live: https://t.co/nIysK0qPFK
— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) March 4, 2020
The speech was briefly interrupted by apparent animal-rights protestors who stormed the stage carrying signs that said “Let Dairy Die,” according to CBS Los Angeles.
The night’s major losers were billionaire ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg—whose strategy of eschewing the early states and investing heavy in Super Tuesday states yielded him only American Samoa—and Elizabeth Warren, who barely cracked the 20-percent threshold to secure a third-place finish in her home state of Massachusetts.
Tulsi Gabbard—the Hawaii congresswoman largely regarded as the most “moderate” of all the candidates, who drew accusations from former candidate Hillary Clinton for being a Russian plant—continued to be a non-factor, securing only one pledged delegate at press time.
It remained to be seen whether any of the night’s losers would drop out attempt to press forward in the hopes that a brokered convention might offer them more leverage if neither Sanders or Biden secured a majority.
Bloomberg, who has pledged to spend a billion dollars and already spent half that in his largely self-financed campaign, acknowledged that such a scenario was his last hope of clinching the nomination.
“It’s the only way I can win,” he told reporters during a campaign stop at one of his field offices in Miami, according to the Associated Press.
CBS News reported that he planned a reassessment on Wednesday.
At a rally in Detroit, Warren gave no indication Tuesday that she was going anywhere soon, the AP reported.
“My name is Elizabeth Warren, and I’m the woman who’s going to beat Donald Trump,” she said. “Prediction has been a terrible business, and the pundits have gotten it wrong over and over.”
Much speculation loomed that the Biden camp—or perhaps others within the Democratic establishment—had brokered backroom deals earlier in the week to win endorsements from former rivals Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.
The moves caught the attention of President Donald Trump during a rally in North Carolina on Monday, when he mocked the Democrats for their “quid pro quo” negotiations—a reference to the accusations from his political adversaries that resulted in his party-line impeachment by House Democrats last December.
The Sanders campaign also took note. “The political establishment has made their choice: Anybody but Bernie Sanders,” Shakir wrote in a fundraising message Tuesday according to the AP.
While Warren has been the most ideologically aligned with Sanders, her resounding defeats on the biggest day of the nominating contest could add greater pressure for her to accept the right offer. Biden has previously hinted that he would be open to offering Warren the spot as his running mate.
One significant impact that the contentious Democratic race seemed to have was a massive increase in turnout. According to The Hill, Virginia, one of the earliest Super Tuesday states to go to the polls, reported nearly double its turnout over the 2016 primary.
In that race, which Sanders ran against Clinton, who already had been coronated as the presumptive nominee.