If the Sanders’ campaign hoped for a late comeback on Super Tuesday II, it fell short, especially in states where it found success in 2016.
In the last cycle former Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernard Sanders (I-Vt) nearly split the vote in Michigan’s primary, but Sanders inched ahead with a slight 1.5% victory. While hoping to capture a flash of 2016’s momentum, the campaign found itself on the losing end to former Vice President Joseph Biden, the presumed Democratic Presidential nominee. In last week’s results, Biden won the state by 16.5%, besting Sanders by over 261,000 votes. Just 18,427 votes separated Sanders and Clinton in 2016.
After being outpaced, starting with the South Carolina and reaching full speed on Super Tuesday I, the Sanders’ campaign hoped to make up ground in Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington state, but success remained elusive.
While Michigan was the heartbreak of the night, as the results came in it was evident Biden would enjoy another victory lap, after uniting a coalition African Americans, suburban, and rural white voters.
Biden’s largest margin of victory came in Mississippi, where he won by 66.3% or 178,623 votes. According to Exit Polling data, Biden won 70% of white and 87% of African Americans voters. It is estimated that the Mississippi Democratic Party is composed of about 70% of African American voters. Sanders has struggled to win the favor of African American voters, but has built a coalition of Latino and younger aged voters. Neither of these voting groups were largely represented in these states.
Perhaps the singular bright spot came in North Dakota, in which Sanders won by 13.5% or 1,940 votes, but well short of stemming Biden’s momentum. In 2016, Sanders’ won this caucus by 38.6% over Clinton.
Another glimmer came way of the Northern Mariana Island caucus, whereby Sanders defeated Biden 84 to 47 votes.
Washington state, a contest that Sanders won by 45.6% in 2016, remains 95% accounted for with Biden leading by 1.5% or 22,667 votes. After March 2016’s primary, Clinton won a “purely symbolic” victory in the state’s May 2016 contest.
As of today, Biden has 894 delegates to Sanders’ 743. The nominee will need 1,991 delegates to represent the Democratic Party’s challenge to President Donald Trump in November. Also, Congressman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has two delegates, but remains largely an outlier in this contest.
Tomorrow’s contest, aptly named Super Tuesday III, was set to include Ohio, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois.
After Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Frye blocked Gov. Mark Dewine’s request to postpone the primary until June 2, the governor ordered the polls closed tomorrow, citing a health emergency. The Judge was critical of DeWine and legislative leaders who have not called an emergency session of the Ohio General Assembly.
Three other states: Louisiana, Kentucky, and Georgia have delayed primary contests because of the coronavirus.
Should Ohio remain omitted from tomorrow’s contest, 441 delegates will be up for grabs: 67 in Arizona, 219 in Florida, and 155 in Illinois. According to most major polling averages, Biden is ahead of Sanders by double digits.
While there are still four months of primaries on the calendar, time nor delegates are on the side of Bernie Sanders. Should Biden win tomorrow’s contest by sizable margins, the Democratic nomination will be all but over, with Biden left standing.