In all of his previous presidential runs, Joe Biden never won a single primary election.  Things changed dramatically with this year's Super Tuesday vote.  Not only did former Vice President Biden win 10 of the 14 states, putting him in the lead in delegate count.  All of the centrist rivals to Biden dropped out in rapid succession, leaving him as the only candidate left to challenge democratic socialist Bernie Sanders for the nomination.

In a matter of days, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren all dropped out of the race.  And the first three all endorsed Biden in their announcements.

Behind the scenes, the Democratic Party establishment–senior members of congress, former presidents and cabinet officials, state and national party officers and Wall Street party financiers–concluded that if they wanted to avoid a replay of the disastrous 2016 election, they had to get all mainstream factions to converge behind a single candidate before Sanders ran away with enough delegates to secure a first ballot win.  Sanders backers cried "fix" after the Super Delegates gave Hillary Clinton the first ballot nomination–and many stayed home or voted for third party candidate Jill Stein, helping give Donald Trump the margin of victory.

Joe Biden was the natural choice for the party mainstream old guard.  President Obama's loyal Vice President, former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees, Biden was the known personality.  Party officials were uneasy about Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his billion dollar deep pockets, remembering he floated between the Democratic and Republican Parties and independence.  With Bloomberg's endorsement of Biden, accompanied by a pledge to do everything in his power to defeat Donald Trump, Biden might inherit the state-of-the-art campaign structure that Bloomberg created, using the resources of his corporate empire.  

If all that transpires, and Biden continues on the path to the nomination, he could give President Donald Trump a serious run.  With the impact of the Coronavirus on the economy, the stock market and the national mood still unknown, President Trump's ability to ride into reelection on the strength of the economy is no longer so certain.  Economists who thought that 2021-2022 would be the earliest point of a major economic downturn and market correction are now warning that 2020 could see a global recession–possibly a replay of 2008.  That is if the COVID-19 virus does turn into a global pandemic, another big unknown.

Biden's turnaround from underperformer to frontrunner began in South Carolina one week before Super Tuesday, when he won a significant victory–on the strength of an eloquent endorsement by Representative Jim Clyburn, a highly respected 27-year House veteran and former head of the Congressional Black Caucus.  Clyburn is one of the party elders who made the decision to throw their support behind Biden. 

Biden grabbed a larger than expected share of the Texas Hispanic vote after being endorsed by Beto O'Rourke.  O'Rourke's father-in-law is a major figure in the economy of the Rio Grande River Valley and he carried a lot of weight among Hispanic voters.

Democratic pollsters have been warning for months that if Bernie Sanders got the nomination, the party would suffer the worst across-the-board defeat since the 1972 election when George McGovern was clobbered by Richard Nixon.  Clearly their message resonated and the Democratic Party elders responded in unison.

The race for the nomination is far from over, but the contours of the race to the convention have dramatically shifted.

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  1. JohnH says:

    It’s a virtual certainty that a senescent septuagenarian will be the next President. The debates will feature dueling dotards. Gotta love democracy…or at least the money marinated version we call democracy!
    Meanwhile the CoVid19 is about to expose the substantial weaknesses of the American medical system: millions without health insurance, more millions with enormous deductibles and co-pays that discourage doctor visits, and still more millions who can’t afford to stay home when they’re sick if they want to avoid eviction and homelessness.
    Of course, Democrats could have voted for the candidate who seems determined to make sure that everyone can afford to get medical help when sick. Instead, they voted for the candidate with a long history of diffidence toward universal health coverage!
    With all the remaining contenders in precisely the age group suffering the highest COVID-19 death rate, it makes you wonder if any of them will last until the election.

  2. Jim Henely says:

    I tend to overestimate the intelligence of the American electorate, but even with an economy racked by the corona virus, when Trump’s campaign entertains the electorate with non-stop commercials showing nothing more than the Democrat’s dementia patient’s discordant cerebral disfunction, even the most numb among us must conclude that this man cannot be trusted with the presidency. Tucker Carlson was correct when pointed out that this is cruel and unusual punishment on the part of the DNC.

  3. Vegetius says:

    The oldest organized political party on the planet is advancing a senile globalist meatpuppet (with a son known to be a philandering crackhead) to handle nuclear launch codes.

  4. Jack says:

    IMO, the Democratic primary is over. As Larry has noted Bernie has underperformed relative to his 2016 performance.
    You’re observation of the coalescing of the Democrat establishment and in particular the Obama machine behind Biden is spot on. There were media reports of calls with Obama and Biden and Pete prior to him standing down and backing Biden.
    The South Carolina win with the backing of Clyburn was pivotal. The narrative machine went into high gear imbuing Biden’s campaign with words like “surge” and “momentum”.
    Now the question is who is going to be nominated as the “shadow president” by Obama? Kamala or Amy or someone else? Bernie is not a knuckle dragging political fighter and will back the nominee in the name of “party unity” and “defeating Trump”. Of course he’ll get his few shekels.
    I agree with you that it is not going to be a slam dunk for Trump. Just like Trump wasn’t damaged by the Access Hollywood tapes, Biden’s not going to be damaged by his senility, gaffes and his prior plagiarism, Wall St cronyism and corruption. The vote for the “lesser evil” mindset will consolidate along traditional lines. The Obama machine will run Biden’s campaign and consolidate the Democrat support. The election will hinge on a few states in particular Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And the important point of which candidate can get more of their voters out in November and how the few persuadable independents swing.
    The other question is what is the sentiment and perception of the state of the nation in the fall when those few voters that aren’t locked & loaded start paying attention.

  5. turcopolier says:

    Trump doesn’t look senescent at all to me. To underestimate him is a serious error.

  6. sbin says:

    DNC installing a man with obvious cognitive impairment is a staggering display of arrogance.
    Will be curious to see who the VP will be.
    Guessing a DEM version of the Cheney/Bush administration.
    Bush and Obama were empty suits this is another level.
    Both candidates are older that Andropov and Chernenko were when entering office.

  7. Fred says:

    Insurance pays the bills after the treatment. The weakness is the systematic outsourcing of manufacturing capabilities to China over decades. That was facilitated by the establishment Republicans Trump beat in 2016 and the democrats who are busy doubling down on that and “immigration”, especially the illegal kind who have neither documents nor insurance.

  8. English Outsider says:

    sbin – Biden and Sanders can look to Gladstone for comfort. In his mid ’80’s Gladstone was still in full flood. At that age he was busy with the 80 odd parliamentary sittings it took to get the Irish Home Rule Bill through the House, a virtuoso performance and pretty well single handed. Also felling tall trees with an axe until late in life and able to cope with five hour speeches without notes.
    Not that I’d want to give Biden any encouragement. But given Gladstone’s performance, if Trump gets another term he’d walk it.
    Tulsi for VP? One can dream.

  9. ex PFC Chuck says:

    Vegetius | 07 March 2020 at 03:48 PM:

    “The oldest organized political party on the planet . .

    au contraire! I cite the late, great Will Rogers: “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat!”

  10. Jack says:

    “The weakness is the systematic outsourcing of manufacturing capabilities to China over decades.”
    Spot on. I’ve read that 80% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients in our drugs are manufactured in China. How nuts is that? Relying on the totalitarian Chinese communists for our pharmaceuticals. How much of our military gear is dependent on CCP? What about the rest of the stuff that our economy runs on? Has there been any strategic review on our dependence on a totalitarian regime?
    I’m not going to give Trump a pass either. He’s been in the White House for 3 years. Hunter took a billion dollars from the Chinese communists. Bloomberg’s wealth is hugely dependent on CCP. No wonder he’s a bag carrier.

  11. JohnH says:

    Fred–Have you checked out the usurious cost sharing (copays & deductibles) that is built into Obamacare and many other insurance plans? IMO cost sharing is designed to ration medical care by discouraging people from seeking it–the last thing you want in a pandemic!
    And then there’s the whole issue of people not being able to afford to take time off from work. Watch it and weep:

  12. ambrit says:

    Sanders is facing the fight of his life. This will show whether or not he has the “killer instinct” needed to prevail in the rough and tumble of American politics. If Sanders doesn’t take the gloves off and attack Biden with everything available, and that is a lot of stuff, then he probably would lose to Trump in November. In my biased opinion, Sanders could beat Trump if he framed the contest as True Class Warfare. Trump talks a good “populist” game, but when we look at his actual policy moves, he comes across as a ‘bog standard’ Republican politico.
    If it is Biden against Trump in November, the narrative control so far shown by the DNC will avail nothing against all the attacks possible against Biden.
    As I said before, with Biden as the Democrat Party nominee, all Trump has to do to win is to somehow manage to not blow the world up.

  13. Fred says:

    Obamacre fixed everything! Lack of paid sick leave? Seriously? Where has PBS been for the last 50 years. Perhaps they could do an in depth report on the corrupt UAW leaders charged with millions in fraud and kickbacks while negotiating union contracts here in Michigan, both the recent and prior contracts. But that would reflect poorly on major contributors to the democrats and the Michigan Democratic members of congresss.

  14. Johnb says:

    Biden was front runner before the Primaries and remains the front runner post Super Tuesday. There is still the Convention, I had always assumed Biden, for obvious personal reasons, would step aside in favour of a Unity candidate with DNC and Super Delegate backing and the Bloomberg machine at her disposal. We shall see.

  15. optimax says:

    The shortage of test kits could be Trump’s undoing in November. The US has only tested 2,000 so far while South Korea has tested 140,000. Germany and UK are also far ahead of us.
    Germany and South Korea developed the test before but the CDC decided it was better to develop our own instead of copying their already proven tests, thereby delaying production. This is a government face plant, unfortunately it’s our face.
    Bet Warren is bargaining her delegates to be Uncle Mumbles VP with the hope he’ll contract the Mexican beer virus.

  16. ambrit:
    As a Vietnam vet I’ve had some disagreements with Bernie Sanders over the years. But that’s ancient history. IMO, Bernie is the only honorable man left. I trust him and I will be voting for him.
    Rod Hranko

  17. confusedponderer says:

    Mr. Lang,
    re Trump doesn’t look senescent at all to me. To underestimate him is a serious error.
    Overestimating him also is an error. Rumpsfeld perpetuated the inanity that “there are known knowns … but there are also unknown unknowns”. He’d be perfect for the Trump team but there isn’t enough place for his ego too.
    COVID-19 is a known unknown, but Trump says that …

  18. everything will be fine …
  19. that the disease pandemy will be over in, say, May or June …
  20. and was anyway only invented by the Democrats to harm his re-election campaign …
  21. and that that little crash recently at wall street was to blame only on Boeing (what, not Airbus too?) …
  22. penal taxes! penal taxes! subsidies! subsidies!
  23. … and naturally the FED’s way too low or whatever harming interest rate harms him, him, him and his campaign the US very very badly.
  24. Sadly that is an undeliberate ‘crack fuelled joke’. So I don’t so much think of error but of utter horror, severely aggravated by egomany and incompetence. That’s something worse than obvious and happily tweeted personal character defects or severe over-golferitis.
    The US gvt expert team for disease control? Yes, there was something like that, created and hired by Obama and fired by Trump, ‘to save money and for having Obama’s name on the employment contract‘.
    Their replacement? An improvisation led by Pence who told his underlings on day one of that sub-job to STFU and that only he will talk with media over corona – and then flew off to iirc Florida to collect election campaign donations for himself and/or Trump. Obviously, priorities clearly set.
    COVID-19, if the shit hits the fan, may kill off some – if it has or tops SARS 10% lethality – say 32,8 million American citizens. That’s, let me put it this way, not just bad for Trump’s ego and re-election campaign. It would be a pity for the other bystanders too.
    My employer has yesterday informed us that employer travels to Asia are not permitted atm, and that empoyees in Korea, China, Japan etc are ordered to work from home for the next few weeks to prevent and/or control COVID-19 distribution. That sounds like someone taking it rather seriously; note the contrast.
    Also interesting, my boss earns every day as much as I do in a year, if she wanted to top Trump’s donation for corona virus research she’d have to pay her her salary of 4-5 days, not that of a quarter of a year. That’d be ‘rich vs wannabes’, and the rich win.