Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden came away from Super Tuesday neck-and-neck, while a poor showing from the rest of the field led several candidates to suspend their campaigns.
The race is far from over, but Sanders might want to save himself some time by throwing in the towel now. Although the Vermont Senator is only trailing Biden by a handful of delegates, the Democrat party is unlikely to allow him to win the nomination. Again.
In 2016, Sanders and his supporters believe the will of the people was overridden by party elites who wanted to see Hillary Clinton as the Democrat candidate. Over the past four years, Sanders has been working to change the way Democrats elect their candidate. When he was running against Clinton, he claimed that the party’s Superdelegates changed the course of the election by supporting her early on.
This year, Superdelegates are out of the equation unless neither candidate can secure a majority of pledged delegates. But with a powerful political establishment working against Senator Sanders at every turn, he has an uphill battle that’s likely to end in disappointment.
All but one of the suspended campaigns has thrown support behind Joe Biden— likely because of back-room dealmaking guaranteeing political favors if Biden wins the oval office. Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Mike Bloomberg have all pledged their support for Biden. That will add to Biden’s total delegate count as the failed candidates’ delegates are all but required to cast their votes for Biden.
Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, ended her campaign without a nod to either candidate . As her policies aligned with Mr. Sanders’, the logical move would be endorsing Bernie Sanders. But Warren hasn’t done that— a questionable tactic for the progressive Massachusetts Senator.
Warren’s political agenda is likely the cause for her reluctance to support Bernie Sanders. While her politics also made the establishment nervous, she was widely regarded as the less dangerous progressive candidate . By remaining neutral, Warren has effectively released her delegates to vote for whomever they want— or whomever the establishment wants, as the case may be.
As of Thursday, March 5, Joe Biden had secured 596 pledged delegates. Sanders followed closely behind with 531. Together, Warren, Bloomberg, Buttigieg and Klobuchar won 156 delegates— the majority of which can be expected to go to Joe Biden.
In order to win the nomination, a candidate needs to secure 1,991 pledged delegates. If neither Sanders nor Biden can reach that magic number, it will go to a second vote in which 771 Superdelegates— a mixture of past and present Democrat politicians and party elites— will be permitted to cast a vote as well.
Those 771 superdelegates are expected to support Biden, as the party has been transparent about its efforts to keep Sanders from winning the nomination.
So, Bernie Sanders could become the Democrats’ candidate if he wins 1,991 pledged delegates on his own right? Wrong. Even then, he’ll probably lose.
That’s because the together with Biden’s supporters, the Superdelegates could hold a last-minute vote to change the existing rules which prevent them from voting in the first round at the national convention.
With that in mind, Bernie actually needs 2,376 pledged delegates to avoid being pushed out by his own party.
Spoiler alert: That’s Unlikely
Results from Super Tuesday are still coming in, but the one-day voting event accounts for 1,357 pledged delegates. That means 2,625 votes are up for grabs in the coming months. The narrowed field of candidates will make it easier for one to emerge victorious ahead of the national convention, but it’s rare for a candidate to secure a majority without superdelegate votes .
John Kerry was the last Democratic nominee to do so back in 2004.
Ironically, the Democrats are probably shooting themselves in the foot by pushing Biden on their voters. That’s because he’s unlikely to defeat Trump. While the establishment touts Biden’s electability and broad appeal, it’s their own aggressive support for Joe Biden that will likely become his undoing as he goes up against Donald Trump.
Die-hard Bernie supporters haven’t forgotten how they were suppressed in 2016, and seeing the party stifle Sanders once again reopens old wounds. In 2016, roughly 10% of Bernie bros voted for Trump while many others didn’t vote at all.
Sanders’ support base is already calling the Super Tuesday results a sham. As the rest of the field stepped down and threw support behind Biden, Bernie bros took to Twitter to chastise the party.
Donald Trump took the opportunity to fuel the fire claiming the Democratic Party was “staging a coup.”
Biden doesn’t appeal to younger voters like Barack Obama did. Only 17% of those under 45 voted for the former Vice President on Super Tuesday. His failure to bridge the generational gap as well as weak support from Latino voters could make it difficult for Biden to secure the necessary support to kick Trump out of the oval office.