It wasn’t pretty and there wasn’t a moment to spare, but the “Saving Joe Biden” campaign did something remarkable. It brought a dead man back to life.
For weeks, the former veep looked to be one gaffe away from elimination but, Lazarus-like, he rose from the grave to turn in a startling Super Tuesday performance. He won all the states he was expected to win, pulled an upset in Minnesota, put up a good fight across the board and won a nail-biter in Texas.
He’ll do very well in delegates and now has Big Mo on his side at exactly the right time. With the field of candidates shrinking and most of his former rivals backing him, Biden has leapfrogged Bernie Sanders and reclaimed the front-runner spot he held almost until the voting started last month.
His victory speech Tuesday night displayed his new vigor. Full of fire and rattling off short, simple sentences from a teleprompter, he pledged to fight for every vote and heal the nation’s divisions. It’s a good message, albeit from a flawed and fragile messenger.
It’s been a remarkable journey back to the top, but Biden couldn’t have done it without Sanders — or rather the fear of Sanders that swept the Democratic establishment like a virus and spurred it to action.
Party leaders were so desperate to stop the Vermont fellow traveler that all Biden had to do was win his first primary in three presidential races and — presto! — he was anointed the savior. If he wins the nomination, he will owe it all to South Carolina, specifically to the endorsement of Rep. Jim Clyburn and the solid support of the state’s black voters.