A Win in S. Carolina Would Revitalize the Biden Campaign
Right now Joe Biden is floundering and Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the race for the Democratic nomination, but the contest is more fluid than some commentators would have you believe. It's likely that there will be several more momentum swings over the next two months.
More than anything, Democratic voters are looking for a candidate to defeat Donald Trump in November and some folks have questions about Sander's electability and his impact on House races in suburban districts. Sen. Sanders says that concerns about his electability are overblown and that he can win in November by bringing throngs of new working class voters to the polls and convincing young people to participate in far greater numbers than in past elections. But, in looking at the results in the first three contests, that hasn't happened. Voter turn-out in the first three states was just a tick above 2016, in line with population increases, and there was little sign of a Sander's surge among young voters. Actually, in New Hampshire, the towns that experienced the largest voting increases were those won by the moderates, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Bernie Sanders won the most delegates in the first three contests because the moderate vote is fragmented and it's going to get worse with Michael Bloomberg on the ballot in the Super Tuesday states. However, the South Carolina primary may winnow the field a bit, either because several candidates drop out or are viewed as largely irrelevant to the eventual outcome.
Here are several scenarios that might result from Saturday's S. Carolina primary:
Tom Steyer is spending a lot of money to capture 10-15% of the vote in S. Carolina, but that will be his campaign's high water mark and he should save his remaining funds for the Fall campaign to help defeat Donald Trump. Amy Klobuchar is an exceptional candidate and one we have trumpeted in these pages, but she doesn't have the name recognition or resources to compete nationally. She failed to gain much traction after her strong third place showing in New Hampshire and she should pull out of the race after S. Carolina and throw her support to a candidate who shares her views.
That leaves Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the moderates, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The latter three are vying to become the moderate front-runner and main competitor to Sen. Sanders for the nomination. Their fates may depend on how the voting turns out Saturday night, and by Monday the race could look very different.
A loss on Saturday would be Biden's cue to get out, but If he wins, he will be the "comeback kid" of this election cycle, and regain much of the momentum he lost after Iowa and New Hampshire. A big win in South Carolina, by 8 points or more, could propel him to Super Tuesday victories in Texas, N. Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama, among other states. It's conceivable that by Wednesday, Biden could again be viewed as the front-runner.
If Pete Buttigieg doesn't demonstrate that he can attract minority voters in South Carolina, he will face increasing pressure to end his campaign. He has clearly exceeded expectations thus far, but Democrats need a nominee who can energize black voters in the Fall. On the other hand, a Biden loss combined with a strong second or third place finish for Buttigieg, would make him the moderate front-runner.
Michael Bloomberg's dream scenario would be a Biden loss in S. Carolina combined with a disappointing 4th or 5th place finish for Buttigieg. That would clear his path for Super Tuesday, and might even propel him to the nomination as moderate Democrats coalesce around his candidacy. He's few voters' first choice, and has more than a few skeletons, but he has the resources a candidate will need to defeat Trump in the Fall. But, if Joe Biden wins on Saturday, whatever momentum Bloomberg has created with his lavish campaign spending may fade quickly.
The race for the Democratic nomination is far from over and South Carolina is going to have a big impact on the eventual outcome.
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By: Don Lam & Curated Content