A very realistic scenario after Super Tuesday, then, looks something like this. Sanders is the clear delegate leader; a big haul from California makes that almost certain, particularly given that he should earn delegates in states across the South even if he comes in third. But he might have won fewer states than Biden, and no states outside of the West and Northeast. While Biden may have won more states, though, and states worth more delegates in aggregate than those Sanders won, a strong Bloomberg showing could mean that his actual delegate haul is relatively modest, maybe as little as half of what Sanders brings home. And if Warren performs strongly in California and Massachusetts, and Klobuchar wins her home state of Minnesota, no candidate may have accumulated more than a third of the total delegates allocated.
What happens then? It’s hard to say.
Since the Democratic Party may resist coalescing around a registered independent like Sanders and Bloomberg will never have to drop out of the race for lack of funds, a three-way or even four-, five- or six-way contest could well continue to play out well past March 3. In that case, the calendar isn’t going to settle anything.