Biden’s Domination in South Helps Claim Delegate Lead
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
Perhaps channeling energy from his and former President Barack Obama’s magical 2008 “Yes We Can” presidential campaign, Joe Biden turned in what one news outlet called “one of the most remarkable comebacks in modern political history.”
After South Carolina’s primary victory breathed new life into his then-faltering campaign, Super Tuesday left the former vice president dominating the Democratic field across the southern states. Biden and his team have the strong support shown by Black voters throughout the south to thank for the victories.
Biden sat down for an exclusive interview with The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) in Charleston, where he laid out his plan for Black America. During that interview, he predicted that the Black vote would likely determine the next Democratic nominee for president.
“It’s going to be the determining factor in who the nominee is going to be, and I hope that means who the next president is going to be,” Biden proclaimed. “The Black Press is the way I did my politics. You go where people are,” he continued.
“You walk into a Black barbershop or beauty salon, and your newspaper was there. It’s who we are. The neighborhood we come from. It’s incredibly important; you’re incredibly important. I never had the money, but any ads that I’ve ever purchased has only been in Black newspapers because it’s the single best way for people to get access to what I say and what I really mean.”
One day after Biden’s NNPA interview, he received the endorsement from powerful South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn.
“Biden is going to be very successful, and he will be our nominee. I really deeply feel he will be the next president of the United States,” Clyburn stated.
After his victory in South Carolina, Biden’s campaign was further propelled when three former opponents: former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, announced they were endorsing him.
Before South Carolina, it appeared that Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders was poised to place a stranglehold on the nomination and that Biden’s campaign had run out of steam. However, over two days in the Palmetto State, Biden’s fortunes began to turn.
Biden won 10 of the 14 Super Tuesday states, including North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Massachusetts (home state to competitor and now former hopeful) Senator Elizabeth Warren — Maine and Minnesota (home of Senator Amy Klobuchar).
Biden also surprised everyone by winning Texas, a victory that the electorate kept a secret from pollsters, allowing the election’s results to declare their intentions.
To win the Democratic Party nomination on the first ballot at the National Convention this summer, a candidate must obtain 1,991 of the 3,979 total delegates. That requirement is why Super Tuesday, when voters in 15 states and territories select their choice for the party’s nomination, is the most important day of the Democratic primary.
A total of 1,300 Super Tuesday delegates are up for grabs with California awarding 415 (almost 25 percent of the delegate total required minimum to win nomination), and another 228 at stake in Texas.
If no candidate captures the nomination on the first ballot, all delegates become unpledged. A total of 4,750 delegates vote on a second – and any subsequent – ballot.
Early projections pointed to a hefty 351-280 Super Tuesday delegate count edge for Biden over Sanders, his sole remaining competitor for the nomination. However, even while still awaiting results from California and Maine, Biden had already racked up a total of 453 delegates, while Sanders earned 373.
“It’s a good night. It seems to be getting better. They don’t call it Super Tuesday for nothing,” Biden remarked during a rally in Los Angeles.
“Those who have been knocked down, counted out, left behind. This is your campaign. Just a few days ago, the press declared the campaign dead. And then came South Carolina. And they had something to say about it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sanders carried his home state of Vermont as well as Colorado and Utah. As of early Wednesday, in a race too close to call, Sanders enjoyed a 36.6 percent to 24.9 percent lead over Biden for California’s 415 delegates.
At 14.3 percent, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who earned a Super Tuesday victory in American Somoa, finished third in the Golden State.
Of the remaining Super Tuesday-eligible candidates, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren had 39 delegates, while Bloomberg earned 18.
After failing to score any victories and losing her home state, Warren’s future in the race was determined when she announced her exit on Thursday. Likewise, Bloomberg, whose late start and lack of Super Tuesday voter support left no clear path to the nomination, also left the race. However, unlike Warren, who has yet to indicate who she will endorse, Bloomberg threw his support behind Biden and recommitted to his pledge to “do whatever it takes to defeat Trump.”
For his part, Sanders maintains that he will ultimately prevail because voters understand that he’s best positioned to defeat Trump. “What we need is politics that bring working-class people into our political movement. One that brings young people into our political movement, and which, in November, will create the highest voter turnout in American political history,” said Sanders during a campaign stop in Vermont on Tuesday. “You cannot beat [President] Trump with the same old politics.”
While young voters appeared among Sanders’ biggest backers in California, African American voters powered Biden’s South Carolina and Super Tuesday victories, according to exit polls taken by CNN.