Super Tuesday is here and I’m so happy for it all to be over. If you had Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, and Pete Buttigieg on your dropout bingo cards, you are close to winning a prize, but now it’s down to three old white B’s and a Liz. Or three geezers and a papoose, if you’ll allow.
It’s really down to two, though. It’s going to be Biden or Bernie, and everyone in the Democratic field seemed to realize it all at once. Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar have endorsed Biden, but Bernie has “energy.”
It’s pretty likely that nobody is going to stop Commissar Sanders from taking California, Vermont, Colorado, and (ahem) Massachusetts. That’s the same Massachusetts that elected Elizabeth Warren as their senator. That’s the same Elizabeth Warren who’s (still) running for president, about to lose her home state to Bernie. It’s a bad omen to lose your own state. Ask Marco Rubio about that.
Biden has decent margins in North Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas. He has surged in Virginia (and may win), and enjoys a lead in Tennessee. This leaves a plum state undecided: Texas and its 227 delegates at stake. It’s not a winner-take-all situation, and Bernie will get some delegates. But how many?
Texas may be the Bernie Breaker, or it could give Sanders enough umph to continue as the clear leader in delegates and in momentum.
As of now, Sanders has a more seasoned ground game (he never dismantled it from 2016) and more cash on hand than Joe Biden. If Bloomberg stays in the race and grabs some delegates, it’s more likely he’ll be grabbing them from Biden than from Sanders. Whatever meager scraps go to Warren will likely come from Sanders, but they will truly be table scraps.
A big Biden win in Texas and possibly Virginia could take the wind out of Bernie’s sails. It could give Biden enough fundraising power and enough of a push to make him the leader at a time when the field is sufficiently narrow to offer some contrast.
When exposed to any kind of side-by-side with centrist politicians, Sanders’ extreme socialism withers. His Trump-like followers begin insulting and behaving like trolls online. Meanwhile, Joe Biden can assume the “adult in the room” role.
The main thing propelling Sanders has been a firm desire for change, but most voters think too much change is also bad. And if you listen to Bernie for any length of time, it becomes obvious he’s all about changing everything, and in a big way.
Texas, believe it or not, has plenty of liberal voters. But it doesn’t have a whole lot of socialists or communist apologists. Sanders “stick it to the man” vibe might resonate, but his socialism strikes a sour note to independent-minded Texans. Texas Democrats might not think much of Joe Biden, but they may think more of him than Bernie.
Joe Biden believes this too, because he’s in Dallas holding a rally the night before Super Tuesday. Sanders has enjoyed a slight lead, but it’s pretty well tied right now. Sanders will be seen as underperforming if he loses by any significant margin in Texas–it’s almost a “must win” for him. But if Biden can continue a surge and win big, it will go a long way for him.
Without Klobuchar and Buttigieg in the race, and with their endorsements fresh in his pocket, Biden is making a very bold play for Texas. Taking the Lone Star state from Bernie, denying Sanders its delegates in large numbers, is an extremely important move for Biden. You might even say that in this game of Texas hold’em, Joe is all in.