You’ll have to forgive me. I had originally intended to do something meatier today. Last night was Super Tuesday and it was a thing, to say the least, and I was looking to lash together one of them Deep Reads I do from time to time. Unfortunately, I came down with a small something and spent most of the day sleeping it off.
I feel better, for what it’s worth. It wasn’t anything major and, actually, I think it had more to do with my blood pressure and the change in the weather. Speaking of which, it’s been raining and nasty all day. So there you go.
I got a wild hair this morning and did some quick observations on how last night washed out, why it happened like it did and how badly it pissed everyone off. It’s here at the Tumblr site if you’re at all concerned. Long story short, Bernie Sanders stans are not happy at all, mainly because too many of them seem to have a very shallow understanding of how American politics works.
Okay, the nuts and bolts, then. Thirteen states were up for grabs yesterday, with a total of 825 delegates at stake. Conventional wisdom had it Joe Biden would do well in the Southern states while Sanders would do better in the more liberal-ish states and Elizabeth Warren might win her home state of Massachusetts. Michael Bloomberg and Tulsi Gabbard would be wild cars, and honestly, that’s the one that played out the truest.
Joe Biden whipped Bernie Sanders like a government mule, winning 408 delegates and pulling into a slight lead over Sanders in the overall count, 506 to 438. Warren got shut down, losing her state and snagging on 26 delegates. Gabbard and Bloomberg won American Samoa, because why not, with Bloomberg getting the meat of things.
As an aside, Bloomberg announced he was suspending his campaign after spending over $600 million dollars to win a total of 47 delegates, throwing his support to Biden. That’s right, you and I didn’t spend a nickle and almost tied Bloomberg. He will be forever know as the doorknob that blew half a billion to win American Samoa and Sweet Fanny Adams, and nuts to him.
The Sanders followers have spent the past 12 hours losing their minds, throwing around conspiracy theories and bemoaning how American politics is so unfair because it behaved much like it has since Christ was a cowboy. We learned a couple of things from last night, a few strokes Sanders might need to take to heart in what’s become a two-man race.
Noting her disappointing performance, Warren’s people announced she was rethinking her campaign this morning. As I said, I slept all day and haven’t seen where she’s done anything concrete on the matter. And, still, no one really cares what Gabbard does.
One thing we learned was that the Medicare-4-All wasn’t quite the clarion call some were counting on. No one can deny the depth of passion Sanders followers have for their main man, but he was decidedly unable to build any sort of coalition past young voters. Unfortunately, young voters really didn’t turn out in any meaningful numbers. In fact, last night’s primaries cast the huge age imbalance in the Democratic Party into sharp relief. While Sanders has a solid lock on young people, they’re just not turning out in numbers to make significant difference.
Furthermore, as to be expected, Biden dominated the African American vote. We went into the possible why’s the other day, but the fact of the matter is they went almost overwhelmingly for him as opposed to Sanders. In Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia – the latter seeing its highest turnout of black voters in quite a while – he got 70 percent of the vote and didn’t drop below 50 in the rest of the country. In contrast, Sanders only got 17 percent across the board.
On the flipside, Sanders had the Latino vote locked down, particularly in California (49% to 12%) and Texas (39% to 26%). Overall, he won Latino folks 36 percent to Biden’s 25 percent. Not as dominating as Biden’s African American haul, naturally, but significant and something worth pondering. Maybe even more interesting was the slight lead he had among Asian Americans, the fastest growing minority group in the country, at 39% to 21%. Something to consider when taking Sanders’ message to the future, if his followers can see that far.
While the race is far from locked down for Biden – next week will see another 10 states holding primaries, including my own – it’s definitely changed the tone and momentum, as well as the narrative. A lot of people had counted Biden out before South Carolina and considered Sanders’ manic online following as representative of the rest of the country, but anyone who’s followed politics for any length of time will tell you that nothing is written in stone and nothing is guaranteed. The surest way to embarrass yourself is to call the race over before it gets good and started.
This might account for the feelings of dismay and woe with the Sanders fans on Twitter and elsewhere. Either Warren’s staying in the race to hobble Sanders or the Democratic Party is trying to anoint Biden despite voters’ wishes, but that really doesn’t hold. Beyond her only having 42 delegates when the sun rose – nowhere near enough to give Sanders any sort of lead – a fairly solid chunk of Warren voters jumped ship yesterday, but to Biden rather than her fellow progressive-leaning candidate.
Biden had already got the support of ex-candidates Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg and it’s not beyond reason that the DNC would rather have the guy who hasn’t spent the past five years calling them a wretched hive of scum and evil, leading delicate children to socialism like the Pied Piper of Burlington. But the cold, hard fact is Biden got the votes and the turnout while Sanders simply did not. You may not like it – hellfire, I don’t like it – but it is what it is.
Maybe showing how shallow they’re “progressive values” actually are, a lot of Sanders fans were talking hari kari all day and mumbling dark curses at the “neoliberal shills” who want everyone to die in debt, i. e. everyone who didn’t feel the Bern, the man himself seems to have taken last night’s lessons to heart. Today saw a television ad spotlighting his positive relationship with the only man true-red socialists hate more than Trump, former President Barack Obama.
Look. Politics is all about making deals and compromising. It’s said it’s like making sausage, you don’t want to see it being done because it ain’t pretty. Again, Sanders’ support is laudable and I don’t know of anyone on the left who’s drawn the type of passion and dedication from his constituency. But they’re simply not enough to win the nomination. The presidency is another matter, but one must walk before one can run.
With 2,912 delegates left – 1,991 are needed to win the pony – the race is still wide open. Sanders’ ideas – college debt forgiveness, M4A, increased taxation on the disgustingly rich, etc. – are popular and people are indeed tired of the “politics as usual” that put a stone lump like Trump in the White House. He’s just having a problem bringing more than wide-eyed kids and left-wing lunatics like me on board. And they’re needed to win in the long haul. Hope everyone learned that lesson.
Okay, so much for all that. Here’s a neat story about physicists trying to map a “moment in time” only for it to be too fuzzy. Here’s another neat story about something out there in the Great Unknown with enough mass to warp our entire galaxy. Heavy, indeed.
And y’all. The election ain’t over. If you’re giving up now, you didn’t have it within you for the long haul. If you think it’s all going to change within a year, you’re naive. This is going to take work, effort, time, blood, sweat, and tears. If you ain’t got it in you to fight, go ahead and get out of the way.