Former Vice-President Joe Biden is back in the running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2020. After months of one embarrassing moment after the other; when all seemed lost for the last vice-president of the last “successful” Democratic presidential administration, Biden is back. Or, at least, that’s what our “betters” in the media tell us.
Of course, the devil is in the details–and the details are quite devilish.
After all, South Carolina is a generally conservative state. Since the beginning of the presidential campaign on the Democratic Party’s side, the Biden Campaign poured every available resource they had into South Carolina.
Still, the fact that the media and DNC establishment are all sighing relief that Biden performed as he should have performed in all of the primaries until now–but did not–shows you how lost and bereft the DNC truly is this election. Biden, at least on paper, should have been running the tables on all of the other candidates leading into South Carolina.
The real story is that Biden had to expend the bulk of his flailing campaign’s resources on a southern state to gain a victory when he should have been so far in the lead, it wouldn’t have mattered.
He toppled Pete Buttigieg.
Elizabeth Warren is still clawing for her coveted number two slot on either a Bernie Sanders ticket or, more improbably (you read that right), a Joe Biden ticket.
Mike Bloomberg still has more money than he knows what to do with and will be throwing it around like TI at Magic City. He won’t be going away until the convention in Milwaukee, and you can bet he is going to be throwing his considerable weight around. Besides, Bloomberg has been seriously buying up the support of local Democratic Party chairmen and women in key primary states. And Amy Klobuchar, my goodness, she’s done.
The neoliberal elite who control the DNC believe that they’ve bested Bernie with this performance in South Carolina. They don’t get it. Regardless of what happens in 2020, the Democratic Party is changing and won’t be going back to the ways things were. Clinton moderation and Obama kowtowing to the plutocrats will not work because the Democratic base will no longer abide with these maneuvers.
Whether it be a battle between Bernie and Biden or Bernie and Bloomberg, the Democratic base–particularly the youth, who are the future of the party–will be staying with Bernie; Bernie’s voters are too galvanized whereas the non-Bernie voters are too scattershot and divided amongst each other.
Sure, the Biden camp keeps chiding media personalities that they walked away with the higher popular vote in South Carolina. But, that misses the point: South Carolina is a conservative place compared to most other states. It makes sense that the more traditional Democratic Party candidate would be walking away with the victory there.
Heading into Super Tuesday, though, Biden does not appear as attractive–even in the traditionally more conservative Texas. Here is Tablet Magazine with an on-the-ground report from Texas heading into Super Tuesday:
I spoke to a Latino man in his mid-30s who wore a jacket from a municipal employees union and an Abolish ICE pin. Sanders holds wide support among young Latinos, the state’s rising political force. The man, who declined to give his name, lived in a historically black and Hispanic east Austin neighborhood; as an active union organizer he had been planning on voting for Sanders even if the Vermont senator hadn’t been the only candidate whose canvassers had bothered to visit his part of town.
Biden dumped the bulk of his campaign resources into South Carolina. He won there–barely. Great. Let’s see how he does tomorrow, when the stakes are higher and the resources were a little more evenly distributed between the Democrat candidates.
Here is USA Today with a stellar assessment on the polling in Texas heading into Super Tuesday:
An NBC News/Marist poll found Sanders leading Biden among likely Democratic voters in the Texas primary 34%-19%. Bloomberg was third at 15%, followed by Warren (10%), Buttigieg (8%) and Klobuchar (3%).
Among those who have already taken advantage of Texas’ early voting, the margin was slightly better for Biden. Thirty-three percent of early Texas voters said they cast their ballots for Sanders, 25% said Biden, and 16% Bloomberg.
The poll found Sanders’ supporters were the most enthusiastic, with 68% saying they “strongly support” him. For Biden, that number was 52% and for Bloomberg, 51%.
That poll’s margin of error among likely Democratic voters was plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.
A CBS News/YouGov poll also found Sanders in the lead among likely voters in the Texas primary at 30%, though by only four percentage points. Trailing Biden (26%) in that poll were Warren (17%) and Bloomberg (13%). Buttigieg and Klobuchar were tied at 6%.
Half of those voters said they were still open to changing their minds, and 21% said the South Carolina vote could affect their final choice.
A third poll, from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, also found Sanders in the lead. Among registered Democratic voters and independents who lean Democratic, Sanders was named the top choice by 29%, followed by Bloomberg at 21%, Biden at 19%, Warren at 10%, Buttigieg at 8% and Klobuchar at 4%.
That poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4.05 percentage points.
As for California, probably the most important state in terms of delegate count, even the Biden Campaign is arguing that they won’t be able “to make up ground” against Bernie there.
A CBS News/YouGov Poll found that 31 percent of California Democrats favor Bernie over Biden (who came in at 19 percent). This does not bode well for the man that the media is treating like the obvious nominee–which, of course, Biden is not the obvious candidate to anyone other than the Beltway bandits running his improbable campaign.
Bernie came in second place in South Carolina as well. That’s not for nothing, particularly considering that the 63 delegates South Carolina will be sending to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee will be apportioned between the various winners. Joe Biden will get the bulk of them, but Bernie Sanders will be walking away with at least six.
Here is Christal Hayes of USA Today:
Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to place 2nd in South Carolina’s primary, coming in behind former Vice President Joe Biden.
The prediction is still a boost for Sanders who maintains a lead in the national delegate count.
Projections show Biden will receive at least 20 delegates from South Carolina, while Sanders will get at least six.
The race boosts Sanders’ count to at least 51 delegates, ahead of Biden, who moved up to second place with at least 35 delegates.
There are 3,979 pledged delegates from all states and territories, and a candidate needs 1,991 of them to win in the first vote at the Democratic National Convention.
North Carolina is also a key state on Super Tuesday in which 110 delegates are up for grabs by the candidates. There is only a two-point difference in the polls between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. I suspect that Biden is correct when he says that he can win “most southern states.” Well, at least the Carolinas. Clearly, Texas is not necessarily in his grasp–though he can still compete there.
The Biden victory in South Carolina all but assures that there will be a contested Democratic Party convention this summer in Milwaukee. You can rest assured that it will be a brutal fight. Bernie currently has the majority of the delegates heading into Super Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how things shake out in the primary after tomorrow night.
Whereas many assumed that the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton face-off in 2008 was going to be the replay of Chicago 1968, few at the time understood just how entrenched with the party elite that Barack Obama had become. Hillary and Obama were vying for the same elite votes at the convention–and most everyone like Obama more than Hillary.
In 2020, you’re going to have a cluster of candidates–Biden, Bernie, Bloomberg, probably Elizabeth Warren, and maybe even Amy Klobuchar–all vying for elite support. Bloomberg will be flooding the zone with his money while Biden will probably be displaced early on (unless he and Bloomberg form a team).
Meanwhile, Bernie will clearly be the favorite pick among the DNC voters, but the people who really hold the power in the DNC are not going to hand it to him. Not only could we see a complete rejiggering of the candidate map at the convention, but we might even see someone not running (like a Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama or even an Oprah) come swooping in to make a last-ditch run at Trump.
Whatever happens, I remain unconvinced that Bernie, under present conditions, will get the nomination. This is why Bernie and his representatives keep insisting that whichever candidate gets a plurality of the votes by convention time should be the nominee. Alas, that is not how the DNC is going to let things happen (which is why the corporate media keeps asking the candidates the same question about whether they’d support one of their opponents if they won the votes by the convention–they’re setting Bernie up).
Should anyone other than Bernie get the nomination in a contested convention, then, you can bet that the Democrats will surely lose as a large portion of those DNC voters who were going for Bernie will simply sit the election out (or, as happened in 2016, they might even vote for Trump out of spite).
You can rest assured also that the mostly young “Bernie Bros” will work assiduously over the next four years to ensure that either they become the rulers of the DNC or they form a new party, an American Labor Party, that reflects their socialist beliefs much more than the neoliberal Democratic Party does. And just as with the Whig Party on the eve of the Civil War, the Democratic Party will die as the more youthful and extreme Labor Party arises in its place.
What should be clear is that Joe Biden is the weak horse of this race. He may have momentum going forward, but any victory he enjoys will not only disenfranchise the Democratic Party’s base, but it could all be taken from him in the “smoke-filled” back rooms of the Democratic National Convention this summer.
So, yeah, Biden won the battle for South Carolina. No, he has not yet won the war–and he is unlikely going to.