Against all odds, Joe Biden is back … in a big way. Buoyed by the support of black voters, the former U.S. vice president blew the doors off of his opposition in early-voting South Carolina, reestablishing himself as a viable contender for the Democratic presidential nomination after abysmal showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Biden drew a whopping 48.4 percent of all ballots cast (255,660 votes) – more than double the total received by socialist U.S. senator Bernie Sanders, who drew just 19.9 percent of the vote (105,068 ballots).
Making Biden’s win even more impressive? Conservative Republicans – whose party controversially cancelled its “First in the South” primary as a sop to U.S. president Donald Trump – organized a crossover campaign in the hopes of throwing the Palmetto State’s open primary to Sanders, a candidate they view as less electable than Biden.
That effort failed miserably …
Also failing miserably? Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s shameless attempt to purchase black support in South Carolina – where six out of ten Democratic primary voters are minorities. After polling at 20 percent in several recent surveys – including one taken just last week – Steyer wound up drawing only 11.3 percent support (59,817 votes) in the final count.
“There are no shortcuts in presidential campaigns,” South Carolina Democratic strategist Laurin Manning Gandy said after the race. “Name (identification) can be bought, but you’ve also got to put in the hard work and show you can deliver in the polls.”
Steyer didn’t do that … and his weak showing in South Carolina ended his presidential bid.
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“I got into this race to fight for racial, climate, and economic justice,” Steyer said in announcing his decision to exit the race following the disappointing results. “I will continue that fight, and do everything I can to support the eventual nominee. I thank all of you for your support and love throughout the campaign.”
Wait … climate justice? Hmmm …
Not in South Carolina, it would appear, where black voters were able to see through the pandering and hypocrisy.
Rounding out the “First in the South” field were South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg (8.2 percent – 43,483 votes), U.S. senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (7.1 percent – 37,285 votes), U.S. senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota (3.1 percent – 16,610 votes) and U.S. congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawai’i (1.3 percent – 6,749 votes).
“South Carolina, I can’t thank you enough,” Biden said. “Tonight’s big victory has launched us forward, and we need your help to keep the momentum going.”
Biden’s massive margin of victory took many pollsters by surprise, although in what is becoming a trend it was correctly called by Atlanta, Georgia-based strategist Robert Cahaly – whose pre-race predications were exclusively leaked to this news outlet on the eve of the election.
Cahaly nailed it once again, burnishing the credentials he established after correctly predicting Trump’s upset victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016 (and demonstrating remarkable precision in subsequent South Carolina races).
By contrast, polling from The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier – conducted by California-based Change Research – showed Biden enjoying only a four-percentage point lead over Sanders as the race approached the homestretch.
He won by more that seven times that margin.
Biden’s win certainly reestablishes his flagging candidacy, but it came amid serious struggles on the campaign trail – reviving questions about his mental fitness.
And while one liberal billionaire has dropped out of the race, a far richer one – Michael Bloomberg – is poised to factor prominently in the election from this point forward after skipping early-voting Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
And while Biden’s victory bolsters his electability argument, Sanders remains the early leader in pledged delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As we noted in a recent post, “the presence of so many potentially viable candidates has dramatically reduced the likelihood that any one of them will enter (the convention) with enough delegates to capture the nomination on the first ballot.”
“That could result in the first brokered national convention since 1952 – a prospect which threatens to shatter party unity ahead of a contentious general election,” we noted.
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