The only way the outcome in South Carolina is meaningful is if Biden gets hope and hype from it. He’s done if he loses, but he’s also effectively done if he wins unimpressively. How excited are voters on Super Tuesday supposed to be about a Biden “comeback,” realistically, if he beats Sanders by a point in his so-called “firewall” state? As of two days ago he wasn’t even airing ads in Super Tuesday states. And there are no more debates between now and then to try to move the needle.
If he wants a burst of voter enthusiasm it’ll have to start with the media, and the only way the media will give it to him is if he blows the roof off in South Carolina. Not just a win but a big win, a win that’ll justify a wave of “BIDEN IS BACK” headlines. Even if Biden gets that, Bernie will still be a heavy favorite to win the most delegates on Super Tuesday. But (a) the Biden comeback narrative may blunt Sanders’s margins, setting up a long-ish primary, and (b) a surprisingly strong finish for Joe on Super Tuesday might convince Mike Bloomberg to give up belatedly, freeing up votes for Biden in the primaries to come.
First, though, he’s gotta blow the roof off in South Carolina. According to a new poll from Clemson University, right now he’s poised … to blow the roof off.