12:24 – Okay, I’m going to call it a night. Not much has changed in the last hour. With about half the vote in, Biden is leading in Idaho. With two-thirds of the vote in Sanders is leading in Washington but his lead is just a couple thousand votes. And in North Dakota, Sanders is leading but only 18% of the vote is in.
The big story tonight was Biden’s convincing win in Michigan. Second to that is Sanders decision to head to Vermont without speaking. Biden is almost certainly going to be the nominee. The question now is how long we have to wait before Sanders admits it.
11:20 – Biden spoke a few minutes ago. It was a subdued speech very different from the viral video of him yelling at a voter earlier today.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 11, 2020
11:15 – Bernie takes the lead in Washington state but the divide is 32 votes.
11:07 – NY Times has numbers for Washington. With 54% reporting Biden is leading 33.2% to 33.1% for Sanders!
11:02 – No projected winner in North Dakota yet. So far only 10% of the vote is in and Sanders is leading. Polls just closed in Idaho and Washington but no calls made.
10:51 – Bernie will not be speaking tonight.
NEWS: Bernie Sanders will not speak or appear in public to address tonight's results, his campaign says.
— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) March 11, 2020
10:27 – Bad night at Chapo Trap House.
Everyone who tells Bernie to drop out so he can “get concessions” from Biden have no explanation for how the fuck that work because they haven’t thought that far ahead they only say it so Bernie will go away.
— matt christman (@cushbomb) March 11, 2020
There’s a non-zero chance the DNC uses Biden to soak up delegates then replaces him with someone else at the convention after he steps down for “health reasons.”
— matt christman (@cushbomb) March 11, 2020
It’s awful but I’ve been at peace since our last show in SF. We did all we could. We’re all still in this for life.
— Will 🦥 Menaker (@willmenaker) March 11, 2020
10:07 – Carville says it’s time to “shut this puppy down.” He wants Sanders to drop out now.
"Let's shut this puppy down and… worry about November. This thing is decided."
James Carville reacts to Joe Biden's projected victories in Michigan, Missouri, and Mississippi pic.twitter.com/BAAvy7HSLI
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 11, 2020
10:05 – More of the same…
What is the @BernieSanders rationale for staying in the race?
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) March 11, 2020
10:02 – Paul Krugman suggests it’s time for Bernie to bow out.
Or he can hang on, bashing Biden for weeks or months to come, which will both lose any leverage he now has and help Trump. I wish I knew which route he'll choose. 2/
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) March 11, 2020
9:56 = Good point from Dave Weigel. The loss in Michigan isn’t just a loss for Bernie as a candidate. It’s a loss for his whole theory about the appeal of socialism to blue collar workers.
Tonight may be worse for the electoral left than Super Tuesday was. Michigan played an enormous role in Sanders’s electoral theory – that there was a big rust belt electorate ready for his ideas.
Opponents will now argue that the 2016 win was a low-turnout fluke.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) March 11, 2020
9:55 – Andrew Yang endorsed Joe Biden on CNN:
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) March 11, 2020
9:10 — This was the biggest prize of the night, and a state Sanders couldn’t allow Biden to win. If Biden won it by double digits, Sanders will be way behind with no big catch-up states until Illinois next week. RCP has only one poll listed for Illinois, where Sanders led by five over Biden 22/17 — a month ago. Might as well have been a year ago. Kyle Kondik is skeptical that Sanders has any path now to catch up:
I personally don't think any of the states next week (FL-AZ-OH-IL) are as favorable to Sanders as Michigan. HRC carried them all last time and only IL was close — and Sanders was dependent there, as in MI, on outstate anti-HRC backing that seems to be deserting him now
— Kyle Kondik (@kkondik) March 11, 2020
9:08 — Add in ABC, too. Michigan must not be too terribly close after all.
9:05 — CBS now calls MI for Biden, and so does the Associated Press too.
9:03 — NBC has called Michigan for Biden, but ABC and CNN are waiting. ABC’s exit poll analysis shows union members account for 25% of voters, and Biden won them 60/35. Biden won 73% of senior citizens, Bernie won 82% of those under 30 — but young voters were only 15% of the electorate. Oof.
8:57 — Michigan’s polls will close in a couple of minutes, but some of them have been closed almost an hour. That’s why we’re getting some results already. Right now Biden’s up 52.7/41.8. I’d guess that a call won’t be long in coming here.
8:40 — Or, er, don’t. FWIW, Silver’s right. If Bernie doesn’t start winning states and winning them convincingly, he’s never going to catch up to Biden or even keep Biden from a first-ballot nomination.
The next set of states "are mostly pretty bad" for Bernie Sanders, @NateSilver538 says, meaning Sanders "can't break even in states like Michigan. He has to win Michigan by 10 points or something. He has to win Washington by 15 points." https://t.co/9rX8r0fVZR pic.twitter.com/JOmsRcNzxN
— ABC News (@ABC) March 11, 2020
8:33 — Keep hope alive!
An email from Bernie's campaign is trying to lower expectations:
"The first polls closed a short while ago. But please know this…tonight’s results are going to get better for us as the night goes on. We expect to do well out west where polls close late"https://t.co/vcqfWtfA6C
— POLITICO (@politico) March 11, 2020
8:27 — Just noticed that we’re getting data from MI already, although their polls are supposed to be open for another 30 minutes. These might be the early votes getting counted; assuming that’s the case, Biden’s up 52.6/42.8. Michigan officials say an absentee ballot surge will keep them from getting a complete count until tomorrow afternoon, though.
8:23 — Another interesting data point: Among those MO voters who prioritized “needed change,” Sanders led but only 53/44. And those were only 35% of the electorate.
8:17 — More evidence that the Bidenmentum is all about electability rather than passion:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 11, 2020
8:06 — My apologies for screwing up the headline; I wrote “MI” for Mississippi, which is supposed to be MS. “MI” is Michigan, and their polls don’t close for another hour.
8:04 — If you want to know how Biden took Mississippi, look no further:
MORE: Black Democratic primary voters in Mississippi supported Biden by a vast margin over Sanders (84-13%) — Biden’s biggest win yet among blacks this primary season. https://t.co/4TRSk74JOe pic.twitter.com/ly08wCFhaE
— ABC News (@ABC) March 11, 2020
That’s an astounding split — normally one you’d expect between a Democrat and a Republican, not two Democrats.
8:00 — Polls just closed in Mississippi, Missouri, and North Dakota. Networks are already calling Mississippi and Missouri for Joe Biden. It’s worth noting that Sanders came within a quarter-point of Hillary Clinton in Missouri four years ago.
Update, 7:06 pm ET — This might be a long wait, according to the Michigan SoS:
Michigan primary update: The Michigan secretary of state confirms to ABC News that complete, unofficial results from the secretary of state's office are now not expected until Wednesday afternoon. https://t.co/YnVPjJoQEB
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 10, 2020
That’s when they figure to have completed the first count, but we should see results this evening that will tell us which way the wind blows. I hope.
Original post follows …
What can Bernie Sanders expect out of tonight’s new round of primary results? To quote Groundhog Day, it will be cold, dark, and last the rest of Sanders’ political life. Democrats have 352 delegates up for grabs in six states tonight, but in reality this comes down to two states — Michigan and Washington. And Joe Biden only really needs to win Michigan tonight to put a fork in the Bernie Bros.
Not that the other states in play are meaningless, of course, but they are already expected to fall into Biden’s column rather easily. Mississippi, Idaho, North Dakota, and Missouri run red in national elections, so their Democratic electorate is already inclined away from Sanders’ brand of extreme-progressive politics, and especially his communist apologias.
For a taste of what’s to come, here are a couple of notable exit-poll results. Electability turns out to be the biggest virtue:
MORE: 69% in Washington state, 59% in Missouri and 53% in Mississippi say beating Trump is more important to them than supporting the candidate who agrees with them on major issues. https://t.co/0dPQiuix6T #PrimaryDay
— ABC News (@ABC) March 10, 2020
Enthusiasm … not so much:
Michigan and Washington, in their own ways, have the potential to bury Sanders for good. Sanders barely beat Hillary Clinton in Michigan’s 2016 primary (49.7/48.3) on the strength of his appeal to working-class voters and the strong anti-establishment impulse in play on both sides of the aisle. Sanders only got a four-delegate advantage out of that, but at least it was a win. In contrast, six polls over the last two weeks put Sanders far behind Biden in the state; his RCP average is 22 points behind Biden, and the closest of the six polls puts him twelve points back.
It’s a margin-of-error race in Washington, RCP notes, but that’s almost as bad for Bernie. He beat Hillary like a drum in 2016 here, where progressivism finds one of its national bases, and he desperately needs a big delegate haul to counter Biden’s presumed juggernaut today. A narrow split doesn’t do Bernie any good, neither narratively nor mathematically, not when Biden looks set to get a large majority of the other 263 delegates up for grabs.
As usual, follow our live-results post for the latest numbers thanks to our Decision Desk HQ partners on election-night coverage, and watch for live-blog updates at the top of this post, starting just after the polls close at 8 pm ET in Mississippi, Missouri, and North Dakota. Michigan follows at 9 pm ET, and Idaho and Washington at 11 pm ET. Stand by for surprises, but there’s an excellent possibility that the competition for the nomination comes to a sudden halt tonight with a Biden sweep. Whether Bernie acknowledges that will be one potential point of suspense in a night that will likely lack any other significant drama. The other — will the Bernie Bros stand down?