Joe Biden Back From Oblivion?

Joe Biden eating Bernie Sanders’ ice cream cone.

The results of yesterday’s Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina have, if fans of former Vice President Joe Biden are to be believed, mashed the reset button on the tumultuous 2020 elections just as conventional wisdom was settling into the presumption that Sen. Bernie Sanders was an unstoppable force. But as Politico reports, the depth and breadth of Biden’s victory is perhaps more remarkable than the win itself, which was expected:

The scale of Biden’s victory in South Carolina was enormous. He went into the contest trailing Bernie Sanders in both total votes cast and delegates. He will leave South Carolina, where turnout exceeded Iowa and New Hampshire combined, with a lead in the popular vote and, according to estimates late Saturday night, about a half-dozen delegates behind Sanders.

Biden beat Sanders 48 percent to 20 percent. He won white voters comfortably (33 percent to 23 percent) and crushed Sanders among black voters (61 percent 17 percent). He won voters of every education level. He even beat Sanders among self-identified independents, a core group for the Vermont senator. [Pols emphasis]

The victory was powered by an electorate that was more moderate than the first three states. Half of South Carolina voters identified as moderate (41 percent) or conservative (9 percent) and half as somewhat liberal (30 percent) or very liberal (19 percent). But Biden won every group. The victory revealed an important demographic and ideological divide in the Democratic Party: black voters, especially in the South, are a moderating force in the national party. Biden said nobody should count him out until South Carolina’s more diverse electorate had its say, and he was right.

With Super Tuesday 48 hours away and a large percentage of eligible primary voters in Colorado still in possession of their ballots, Biden’s big win in South Carolina could be the result fence-sitters have been waiting for. The non-Sanders vote in Colorado constitutes around 70% of the Democratic primary electorate based on polling, but the opposition to Sanders is fragmented between far too many candidates to have a chance.

We’ll definitely see a stronger result for Biden on Super Tuesday now than we would have before this victory. In Colorado we’ll be looking to see that effect as well, despite the fact that Biden has basically ignored the state so far–and by cracking Sanders’ invincibility in a big way in South Carolina, Biden could open the door to more votes for the current second-place contender in Colorado polling, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Much like Colorado weather, this one’s going to be difficult to predict. But it’s not over by a long shot.

17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    Our family's five votes went to elizabeth warren.  I was a n Amy man, but she has no chance to get 15 pct here, So Elizabeth got the bow.

    looking down the road, if it's joe, I can live with that — but only if he puts Amy, Kamala or another able woman on the ticket.  If it's Bernie I spend two weeks crying a river, vote for him and get ready for four more years of Trump.

    • MADCO says:

      Unity votes work best when:

      A. Everyone bitches and moans and complains about not getting a better nominee
      B. Everyone supports the nominee just like it's waht they always wanted
      C. Everyone supports the nominee , acknowledging they were not the first choice
      D. Everyone condescends to the nominee supporters and complains about not getting a better nominee, while admitting that they might vote for the nominee.
      E. Everyone pretends to enthusiastically support the nominee and votes accordingly.

      It's a hard 1968 to present Democratic road.
      The D convention will most likely be a contested convention. I believe – and I know I'm stoopid – that most left leaning and anti Trump voters can get behind the result long enough to win.

      If instead, it becomes a "brokered" convention of secrecy and back room establishment Wall st dealmaking the result will be animosity and chaos exacerbated by a anti Trump coalition of whiners and complainers.

      • JohnInDenver says:

        I'm all out of predictions — except I don't expect "secrecy and back room establishment Wall St. dealmaking."  I honestly don't see much leverage from Wall Street.  Virtually none on Sanders and Warren.  Next to none on Bloomberg.  1

        We have Sanders and adequate crowd-sourced money; Biden and less money from fewer people; Bloomberg and no end of money from himself.  I'm hoping Warren can stay in.  I hoping Buttigieg will consider his future and bail out soon (trend line of 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th place finishes, and no delegates from the last two contests).

  2. Pseudonymous says:

    The non-Sanders vote in Colorado constitutes around 70% of the Democratic primary electorate based on polling, but the opposition to Sanders is fragmented between far too many candidates to have a chance.

    So, the non-Biden vote in Colorado is 90%?

    • Canines says:

      Or as Glenn Greenwald tweeted:

      A majority of South Carolina voters rejected Biden in favor of non-Biden alternatives, sending a clear signal that they wanted someone else besides Biden as President.

      That's how punditry works, right?

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        Glenn Greenwald is a creepy journalist who hates mainstream America so take it with a grain of salt my friend.  Biden got 48.4% of the vote and beat the Democratic Party hater by over 150,000 votes so you Glenwald is technically correct but misses the point.  People are starting to wake up to the fact that the non team player has no accomplishments to speak of on his resume and his pie in the sky proposals are just as disingenuous as Trump's were in 2016.  Sanders is going to do great tomorrow but it's only 1/3 of the votes and there is still time to rescue the Party and the election from a con man willing to destroy it for his own vanity and Putin's purposes.

  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    Biden wins his very first primary, ever; and goes out on a high note.  Happy ending.

    A quick return to oblivion in about 48 hours.  Home sweet home.

    “Did I ever tell you about the time I won a primary, sonny? . . . Have a sit down right here, I’ll tell ya’ alls about it . . . I ’member like it twas just yesterday . . . It all began a few years after Nelson and I had gotten ourselves arrested in South Africa . . . And, he’s feelin’ all kinda’ low, being arrested and whatnot, so I thought I’d try to cheer him up . . . So, I says to him, ‘Nelson,’ I says, ‘Nelson, some day things will change and will be different down here’ . . . ‘Some day one of us is even gonna’ win the big election here in South Carolina.’ . . . Well, he just looks at me with that look he does, like I was some kind of damn crazy old fool . . . you know, like how all sorts of folks be doin’ that look all the time? . . . like he can’t hardly even understand the words that’s been acomin’ outta’ my mouth; like my words were some sorta’ strange foreign language to him . . .”

  4. harrydoby says:

    Since Mayor Pete just dropped out, I suppose he decided to give Joe a boost.  As one pundit put it, we have two 78 year olds and a 77 year old duking it out to face a 73 year old incumbent.

    Hopefully, the last hurrah for our gerontocracy.

    • Pseudonymous says:

      Maybe.  If I remember right, Pete's supporters 2nd choice was like 20% each Biden, Warren, Sanders.  Can't remember who else at what.  The split just stuck with me.

    • itlduso says:

      Maybe Pete can take out Senator Todd Young in 2022.

    • ParkHill says:

      538 explains that Buttigieg dropping out benefits Bloomberg & Warren while not making much of a difference for Sanders. This makes a brokered convention more likely… Because: 

      Bloomberg and Warren are at 14% in a number of states, and it won't take very many of B's voters pull them over 15% which means viability and at least some delegates everywhere instead of being skunked.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      I blame it on the shitty debate system we devolved to in 2020.  Young candidates like O’Rouke, Booker, Harris, Bennett got forced out early while the old guys got the cash to stay in.  We should scrap the debate system entirely in 2024 if we’re not all in re-education camps by then.  If we are upset that billionaires can play because they have the money then we should figure out a way to help rising stars stay in the race with some kind of compensation structure.  Maybe have the billionaires (if we have any left after the shitty way we treated Bloomberg) contribute a percentage of what they would have spent to a rising stars fund.  Figure it out so the medium age of the candidates goes down and the young people don’t have to vote for a piece of shit con man who promises them a lot of free stuff without any credentials for delivering.

  5. itlduso says:

    Pete’s ads are still running on MSNBC.  In related news, so are Klobuchar’s ads.

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