Last month we all thought we knew what was going to happen in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was going to narrowly win the South Carolina primary. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., would do well and several other candidates would do just well enough to stay in the race.
Then, most people thought, Sanders would head into Super Tuesday with the momentum and have a strong performance.
Of course, things turned out very differently.
Biden emerged from Super Tuesday as the clear Democratic front-runner, with Sanders in second place. We now have a two-person race, giving the campaign a whole new makeup.
In this week’s episode of my podcast “Newt’s World,” I discuss the results of Super Tuesday, the state of the presidential race, and who Biden and Sanders are as people and candidates.
South Carolina really was Biden’s firewall. He dominated the field, while Sanders finished a very distant second. Then the dominos began to fall.
Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the nomination race and endorsed Biden. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., did the same and actually campaigned with Biden in Texas the next day.
Biden – who had no money and hadn’t campaigned in many of the states set to vote – suddenly enjoyed a wave of earned media. People were paying attention to him and he had momentum heading into Super Tuesday.
On Super Tuesday, Biden won several states and gathered a trove of delegates. Remember, delegates are ultimately what matter with the Democrats’ complicated nominating process. Sanders may have won California, the biggest prize of delegates, but Biden clearly won the day.
One of the most fascinating storylines was how quickly former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s candidacy plummeted.
Bloomberg is a case study in the old rule that great advertising can’t sell a terrible product. Sure, he looked terrific in his ads. But when Bloomberg finally went to his first debate and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., began pounding on him, he stood there like a deer in headlights.
Bloomberg’s campaign sputtered out from there, leading him to drop out Wednesday and endorse Biden.
Warren also dropped out after Super Tuesday. But she defiantly refused to endorse anyone for now. Her supporters are probably more inclined to back Sanders, but Warren is more of a party loyalist than most people think. Remember, she endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, not Sanders.
Now we have a clear head-to-head contest between Biden and Sanders. Biden should make the race a clear choice for voters: If you want the socialist, vote for Sanders; if you want the Obama Democrat, vote for me. That is a powerful contrast, since former President Barack Obama is the most popular figure in the
But Sanders is a fighter. He didn’t spend his entire life fighting for socialism in America just to let someone who he considers an establishment figure backed by corporations defeat him.
It will be fascinating to watch how Biden and Sanders frame the choice for voters, and how cordial or hostile they are to each other.
I hope you will listen to this week’s episode to hear my perspective on the presidential race and what to expect moving forward as Biden and Sanders prepare for a two-man showdown.