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Biden Sweeps through Mini Super Tuesday, Sanders Stumbles to New Lows

Mini Super Tuesday has just concluded, and Joe Biden has come away with the same resounding victory he did last week. The former vice president has swept four states so far: Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Idaho. He narrowly tails Bernie Sanders in Washington. Sanders has only come out of the race with one state securely under his belt: North Dakota. 

The surge comes after a wave of endorsements for Biden and a major slump for Sanders. The great moderate consolidation took place just days before last week’s Super Tuesday and since then, Biden has seen major boosts from Mike Bloomberg’s endorsement and Elizabeth Warren’s drop out. Instead of the moderate vote being split in two, Bloomberg’s departure marked the beginning of Biden having his lane all to himself.

Warren’s departure also has surprisingly helped Biden and Sanders equally. Multiple polls reported that Warren’s voters were going to both candidates at equal rates, meaning that Sanders didn’t get the same boost he’d hoped for. 

That showed in Michigan tonight, the state with the biggest delegate pool on Mini Super Tuesday. In 2016, Sanders surprisingly pulled a win in the state to Hillary Clinton. Sanders only won the state by around 1 percent in 2016, but it was a major upset since none of the previous polls had predicted that Sanders would overtake Clinton by any margin.

However, Biden pulled a landslide victory in the 2020 primary, where he currently holds around 52.8 percent of the vote, compared to Sanders’s 37.5 percent. Sanders’s loss is particularly devastating because of his 2016 win. His campaign hoped that a win in Michigan could prove that Sanders could unite a unique and diverse group of voters. His loss in Michigan proves that isn’t the case. 

One of the biggest differences between Michigan in 2020 versus Michigan in 2016 would be Biden’s ability to perform well with African American voters. They showed up in large numbers to back him on Tuesday night as well.

It’s become overwhelmingly clear that Sanders’s win in Michigan back in 2016 wasn’t because of any unique coalition, but rather, it was more attributed to Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity. Voter turnout in 2016 was extremely low, as was African American energy. Voters showed in doves on Tuesday in support of Biden and never Clinton Democrats were more eager to support him as well. 

Biden’s surge and success in Michigan were boosted heavily by two key endorsements Monday night. In a rally similar to the one staged a day before Super Tuesday, Biden was joined by Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Cory Booker, the two prominent African American 2020 Democratic candidates, who both endorsed him in front of a large crowd in Detroit. There’s no question that these key figures and their endorsements played a role in Biden’s landslide victory. 

After Biden’s win in Michigan, Andrew Yang also endorsed the candidate live on CNN, the latest of the former Democratic candidates to rally behind Biden. Warren, the one other prominent progressive figure in the race, still does not want to endorse any candidate. So while all the moderates are crowding into one camp, progressive polarization, even with Warren out of the race, still seems strangely strong. 

Biden’s southern sweep (and Idaho) aren’t big shocks, considering that he consistently performed well in those states. Sanders’s North Dakota win and lead in Washington are also unsurprising. While Michigan’s primary polls have been showing Sanders’s decline for weeks, the Senator held onto the sliver of hope that he would be able to pull a victory like the one he pulled in 2016. 

Now that Sanders has lost Michigan, it’s not clear what he’ll do next. Hours of groundwork and campaigning did little to help his campaign and while he will still get a decent share of the delegate prize, Biden’s delegate lead continues to grow to insurmountable heights. 

Michigan seems to mark the last sliver of hope wiping out in Sanders’s campaign. The entire moderate and inner Democratic party has rallied around Biden. Sanders’s mostly young, radical supporters have fired insults at almost everyone in the party, leading to the Senator’s increasing unpopularity and Sanders seems to be in a position he can’t come back from. Michigan shows, in more ways than not, that his previous success was mainly because of the hatred voters felt towards Clinton and not his actual platform. 

The damage in terms of polarization may already be done though. Many have pledged to vote for Sanders or vote for no one, something that could hurt the Democrats in the general election. If Sanders commits to staying in the race until the very end, it’s likely that he’ll only end up splitting the party in a way that mirrors 2016. The loss in Michigan, Sanders’s last big hope, likely marks the end of his once-promising campaign, in what might be one of the quickest downfalls in DNC history. 

Sanders’s campaign has confirmed they will hold out in the race until at least March 15th, when he and Biden are expected to debate in Arizona. 

Featured Image via C-Span

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Joanna Hou
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Joanna Hou is a 17 year old high school student based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about current events, law, and politics. She is an avid writer, journalist, and musician (euphonium and flute). In her spare time, she enjoys reading and boba.

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