Super Tuesday fails to solve the Sanders ‘problem’

John Daniel Davidson of the Federalist places Joe Biden’s Super Tuesday surge in a larger context.

What the headlines and the narrative won’t tell you is what any casual survey of the Democratic primary map plainly shows: Super Tuesday didn’t solve the Democratic Party’s Bernie Sanders problem.

Yes, Biden had a good night, but so did Sanders. He won Colorado, Vermont, and Utah, as well as the biggest prize of the night, California, and basically fought Biden to a draw in Texas. He also earned enough votes to pick up delegates in every state Biden won—and he did all this with Sen. Elizabeth Warren siphoning off voters who would otherwise have voted for Sanders, while Biden benefited immensely from the eleventh-hour consolidation of the moderate vote and the endorsements of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke.

Indeed, Tuesday was the best possible outcome for Biden. Not only did his moderate rivals drop out of the race and rally to his banner at the last second, the primary calendar played in his favor, with a cluster of more diverse southern states all going on the same day.

For Sanders, all of these factors had the opposite effect, compounded by a distorted media narrative. Indeed, absent the expectations that had been set from the first three nominating contests in February in which Sanders overperformed, Tuesday would have been hailed as a great night for the Sanders campaign. His victory in California alone is game-changing, to say nothing of his strong performance in Texas.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

Reader Comments