Super Tuesday aftermath: It looks like we’re down to Biden vs. Sanders, plus — maybe? — Democrats vs. Trump

March 5, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
March 5, 2020

Joe Biden swept the South on Super Tuesday and did well in the Northeast and Midwest, taking the delegate lead and becoming the Democrats’ clear frontrunner. Bernie Sanders won Colorado, Utah and possibly California and finished a close second to Biden in Texas and other states, positioning him as the party’s most viable alternative to the former vice president.

Elizabeth Warren finished third behind Biden and Sanders in Massachusetts, her home state; her 22 percent share of the vote there was her best showing, leaving her campaign in serious jeopardy. Michael Bloomberg, who spent half a billion-with-a-B dollars, dropped out Wednesday after winning the American Samoa caucus and nothing else. The media mogul and former New York City mayor endorsed Biden.

And so we may soon be down to a two-man race. (Oh, and also U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, putting a Pacific islander twist on the role previously played by Jill Stein and Ralph Nader.)

Now we wait to see how the former vice president out of Delaware and the legislator from Vermont do next Tuesday when Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Washington hold primaries and North Dakota caucuses.

The bigger question, of course, is what kind of unity the party musters for the general election once the battle ends between Biden, the consummate centrist, and Sanders, the democratic socialist. As I wrote Tuesday afternoon, I suspect that Biden is more likely to peel away independents than the senator. Unfortunately, his appeal to progressives is limited at best; a number of leftists have spent the past few weeks proclaiming #BernieOrBust. Lately, they’ve complained the primary is rigged, although I’ve seen significant pushback on that notion.

It frankly boggles my mind that any American would abstain or vote third party rather than back the Democratic challenger to Trump, be he Sanders or Biden. But this kind of thing happened in 2000, with disastrous effect, and it happened again in 2016, with similarly dismal results. My faith that people will retain the lessons of those elections is… well, let’s just say that it’s shaky and leave it at that.

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