Joe Biden won the Michigan primary Tuesday night, dealing Bernie Sanders a crushing blow in the democratic socialist’s pursuit of the White House.
All eyes had been on Michigan, which gave Sanders a surprise boost four years ago when he was in the Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton.
Biden also won the Mississippi and Missouri Democratic primaries shortly after the polls closed in those two states Tuesday night.
Overall, voters from six states voted as part of the ‘Super Tuesday 2’ primaries that could decide whether Sanders has a future in the Democratic primary race, as Biden has taken the delegate lead and amassed a number of high-profile Democratic endorsements – all in the span of 10 days.
Former 2020 candidate Andrew Yang, now a commentator on CNN, endorsed Biden live on the cable network.
‘I have such admiration and respect for Bernie, and what he means to so many Americans. I waited for the democratic process to play out and I believe it has. The math isn’t there,’ says Yang whose campaign trademark was MATH hat – ‘Make America Think Harder.’
‘We should come together as a party starting tonight,’ Yang added.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, who played a pivotal role in Biden’s South Carolina win, went even further and suggested the Democratic primary be shut down after Tuesday night if Biden wins all six states.
‘I think when the night is over, Joe Biden will be the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and quite frankly, if the night ends the way it has begun, I think it is time for us to shut this primary down, it is time for us to cancel the rest of these debates – because you don’t do anything but get yourself in trouble if you continue in this contest when it’s obvious that the numbers will not shake out for you, Clyburn said on NPR Tuesday.
A strong showing on what’s been dubbed Super Tuesday 2 could cement Joe Biden’s delegate lead and keep his momentum going after his impressive South Carolina win and Super Tuesday showing
Joe Biden had a commanding lead in Michigan when it was called for the former vice president
Bernie Sanders is hoping for good news out of any of the six states to keep his campaign for the Democratic nomination alive. Four years ago Michigan gave his campaign a boost
Six states voted as part of Super Tuesday 2: Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Missouri, Michigan and Mississippi
Bernie Sanders did campaign Tuesday during the day, visiting a polling location at Warren E. Bow Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan
Mississippi was the first state called for Joe Biden when results began pouring in from the six Super Tuesday 2 states
Missouri results came in next, with Joe Biden also adding that state to his column of wins
Super Tuesday 2 marked the first day the 2020 presidential campaigns were truly impacted by the coronavirus scare.
Several hours before polls closed, Sanders – and then Biden – announced they wouldn’t hold rallies Tuesday night due to coronavirus, putting pressure on President Trump to follow suit.
Instead, Trump announced an upcoming ‘Catholics for Trump’ event.
Several hours later, CNN and the Democratic National Committee announced Sunday’s debate in Phoenix would no longer have a live audience – nor could press attend and watch from the spin room.
Biden and Sanders are still set to appear.
They were both due in Cleveland, Ohio Tuesday night – a traditional swing state where voters cast ballots a week from now.
Biden will now address voters from Phidelphia, Pennsylvania where his campaign is headquartered.
As the coronavirus outbreak grows – and with Sanders, Biden and Trump all in their 70s, a group that is in more danger of dying if they contract the virus – there had already been chatter in Washington if campaign events should go on.
Beyond just his loss in Michigan, for Sanders staying off the campaign trail could be disastous, as the Vermont senator uses rally attendance to make the point that he’s a stronger candidate to go up against Trump than Biden, who attracts far fewer supporters in the flesh.
Trump, too, could see his re-election chances dwindle if he’s kept off the campaign trail for long.
Word of Sanders’ cancellation came first.
‘Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland,’ a Sanders spokesperson said. ‘We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak.’
The spokesperson added that ‘All future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis.’
The Daily Beast then reported that Biden’s Ohio event was also off.
‘In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is cancelled. We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events in the coming days,’ said Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, confirming the news to reporters.
The coronavirus cancellations come as Sanders was trying to grab some of the momentum back from Biden who’s now the delegate leader in the Democratic primary race.
In 10 days’ time, Biden has turned around his entire campaign – winning South Carolina, beating Sanders in 10 of 14 states on ‘Super Tuesday‘ and getting a flurry of endorsements – including from ex-rivals Michael Bloomberg, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.
With Biden cementing his frontrunner status, Sanders needed Michigan – or maybe Washington – to change the narrative.
But exit polls were not encouraging for Sanders when voters in Michigan were asked who they trusted to handle a national crisis. Fifty-one per cent said Biden, while 32 per cent said Sanders. In Missouri the numbers were even worse wtih 61 per cent saying Biden and 27 per cent pointing to Sanders, according to CBS News.
In Washington state, 46 per cent chose Biden, while 27 per cent said Sanders.
In 2016, Sanders was down by an average of 21.4 points to Hillary Clinton in Michigan polls when his surprise win – by just 1.4 per cent – poured new energy into his campaign.
But polls, again, showed bad news for Sanders, with the Real Clear Politics polling average having him 22.4 points down.
And Sanders loss wasn’t due to lack of trying, as he spent the last few days campaigning aggressively in the state.
On Friday, he held a Detroit rally with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who represents the city in Congress and is one of the four members of the so-called Democratic ‘squad.’
On Saturday, he held a town hall on ‘racial and economic justice’ in Flint, Michigan, known for its water troubles.
Joe Biden (center left) has amassed a number of big endorsements since his South Carolina primary win 10 days ago including those from Kamala Harris (left), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (center right) and Cory Booker. Harris and Booker, both U.S. senators, already had dropped out of the presidential race
Bernie Sanders (right), pointing a finger at Fox News Channel’s Martha MacCallum (left) and Bret Baier (center), had been dedicating the last few days to campaigning in Michigan
Bernie Sanders also held a coronavirus public health roundtable in Detroit, Michigan on Monday as he focused heavily on the state. It didn’t pay off, however, with Biden winning
During his own time campaigning in Michigan, Joe Biden got in an argument with an auto worker at a Fiat Chrysler plant in Detroit
On Sunday, he was joined on the campaign trail again by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another member of the ‘squad.’ They rallied together in Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan.
Then on Monday in Detroit, Sanders held a coronavirus town hall with public health experts, among other events.
Talking to Chris Cuomo on CNN Monday night, Sanders predicted he could win the state again. He also argued that his large, loud crowd meant he would be best positioned to take on President Trump in the general election.
‘Does anyone really believe, let me throw it out to you, you know this stuff, that a campain like Joe’s, which is frankly the same-old, same-old establishment politics, supported by the wealthy, and they got all the governors and senators supporting them, does anybody really think that that is going to be the campaign of excitement and energy that’s going to grow the base that we need to defeat Trump?’ Sanders mused. ‘I don’t think so.’
But Democrats, in an almost unprecedented way, have gotten behind Biden.
On Monday night, he held his own Detroit rally where he held hands with Harris and Booker – who made their endorsements official – and the state’s governor, the up-and-coming Gretchen Whitmer.
But the rally wasn’t without drama, as a group of anti-NAFTA protesters heckled the vice president.
He told his crowd the ‘Bernie Bros are here.’
Another larger group of pro-Green New Deal activists – a concept Sanders supports – – also showed up. Politico reported that Biden’s senior adviser Symone Sanders, who was Bernie Sanders’ 2016 press secretary, got hit in the head with an iPad and knocked down. She wasn’t injured.
Symone Sanders also wrestled a Vegan activist off the stage at Biden’s ‘Super Tuesday’ primary night event in Los Angeles, California last week. It wasn’t personal to Biden, as protesters from the same group interrupted an Elizabeth Warren event in Los Angeles the night before.
Biden also got into a back-and-forth with Michigan voters Tuesday morning as he toured a Fiat Chrysler plant in Detroit. ‘You’re full of s*** man,’ Biden told a plant worker who accused him of ‘actively trying to end our Second Amendment right,’ according to video of the incident from CBS News. He told another worker to ‘shush’ as he explained his point.
While not a lot of polling has been conducted in Washington, Sanders’ campaign could look for a final glimmer of good news there.
He won’t have the same advantage he did in 2016, as Washington is holding a primary Tuesday instead of a caucus.
Four years ago when Democrats caucused for their presidential pick, Sanders won overwhelmingly – 72.7 per cent to Clinton’s 27.1 per cent.
Now in the state, Biden has had a slight lead in polls taken this month, while Sanders was leading in February surveys.
Also, just like on Super Tuesday when Sanders eventually won the biggest delegate prize – California – the narrative for the night has already been set, with Biden taking three wins off the top.
Additionally, Washington state also has mail-in balloting, which means results could be slow to come in.
The big question on Super Tuesday 2 was where Warren’s voters would find a home.
President Trump – trying to sow discord among the Democrats – blamed Warren for Sanders’ underwhelming Super Tuesday showing.
‘Our modern day Pocahontas won’t go down in history as a winner, but she may very well go down as the all time great SPOILER!’ Trump tweeted Wednesday.
The president suggested that while moderates like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, who dropped out and endorsed Biden before Super Tuesday, cleared the way for the former veep, Warren paid no such courtesy to Sanders, a fellow progressive.
She never endorsed Sanders, not did she give a nod to Biden – though many of her supporters moved to the ex-vice president, the results show.