After his better than expected results on Super Tuesday, Biden’s campaign is looking forward to the next set of primary contests on March 10th. The big prize for that day will be Michigan, with 125 delegates at stake. Today Politico spoke to a few Democrats who think a loss in Michigan would be the beginning of the end for Sanders:
“This thing could be over for all intents and purposes in three weeks,” said Paul Maslin, a top Democratic pollster who worked on the presidential campaigns of Jimmy Carter and Howard Dean. “It’s done unless Joe makes some horrible mistake. He will win blacks 75-25 minimum from here on in. He doesn’t have Hillary’s negatives. And people want to beat Trump big time. This race is over.”…
The electoral map on Tuesday was expected to favor Sanders. But with the exception of California, he underperformed. Next week’s run of primaries represents a far smaller delegate haul, but Michigan — with 125 delegates — is a critical general election state and an indicator to Democrats of a candidate’s broader appeal. A loss there could significantly undermine his electability argument.
“Biden can finish Bernie off in Michigan,” said Michael Ceraso, who worked for Sanders in 2016 and was Pete Buttigieg’s New Hampshire director before leaving his campaign last year…
“Everybody wants to get on the bandwagon now,” Goodman said. “I think if Joe wins [Michigan] by 10, Bernie may not leave yet. But the following weeks, when he loses by 10 in Florida, Mississippi and Georgia, I think it’s done.”
Real Clear Politics only has two polls of Michigan Democrats from the past month. One shows Sanders up nine and the other shows Biden up six. But the poll favorable to Biden is the more recent one and was mostly conducted after his win in South Carolina. Given the results last night, there’s good reason to think the surge toward Biden is real.
With Bloomberg out of the race and Warren probably out before next Tuesday, the race will be a real head on battle between the two wings of the party. But even if Sanders comes up short in Michigan, he could do better in Washington state where the electorate is made up of a far smaller percentage of black voters. Plus Sanders could do something dramatic to win over more voters, like hint that Warren will be his VP.
Looking at the reaction of Sanders supporters to last night’s disappointment, I don’t think Michigan will be the end for him no matter how badly he loses. In fact, I think his people are going to drive him forward for at least two more weeks regardless of the outcome. And as he continues to fade, they’ll get angrier and angrier at the establishment they are certain has cheated them somehow. Time to stock up on popcorn.
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