Joe Biden’s comeback story may be nothing but media hype, according to a Democratic strategist.
The former vice president’s comeback may be impressive, but it’s probably too little, too late, Mary Anne Marsh told Fox News’ America’s Newsroom on Monday. Biden headed into Super Tuesday with a mathematical disadvantage, as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) maintains a commanding lead in delegate-rich states like California.
“Everyone loves a comeback story. Joe Biden finally won something in a presidential race, third try, and I’m glad he had that day. But I think we’re about to learn this is all about math. This is not about ideology or anything else. This is a math problem. … It’s a numbers game and the numbers are decidedly in Bernie Sanders’ favor,” said the Democratic political analyst and former senior adviser to John Kerry.
Biden’s comeback overhyped?
Biden’s crushing victory in South Carolina’s primaries — his first — revived his flagging campaign and set Super Tuesday up to be a sensational fight between two men with starkly different visions for the party: Biden, the 77-year-old party veteran, and Sanders, a 78-year-old democratic socialist. The question now is whether Biden’s comeback will go down as a flash in the pan or a turning point.
A Democrat, Marsh acknowledged that her party is in a tough spot in the struggle to stop Sanders. The Democrats are desperate to block Sanders from getting the roughly 1,900 delegates he needs to win the nomination outright, she said — but Sanders could win more delegates in California alone than Biden would get from all of the states where he has the most robust support. Sanders could also benefit from early voting in states like California and Texas, where he has been leading in the polls. She explained:
Joe Biden’s best states with big pockets of African-American voters are places like Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Those four states together, that’s 325 delegates right there. If he won every single delegate, Bernie Sanders could win 415 in California tomorrow if nobody else clears that fifteen percent threshold.
Sanders is leading by double digits in California, which awards 415 delegates out of the 1,357 up for grabs all across the country. In Texas, which offers over 200 delegates, Sanders is leading but Biden appears to be catching up to him, according to recent surveys.
Establishment unites against Sanders
However, Biden may be getting something of a late polling bump, The Hill reported. A new Data for Progress poll found Biden shaving the gap in California down to five points — 27% for Biden to 32% for Sanders — while Biden has vaulted to a two-point lead in Texas, according to the poll.
It comes as the Democratic Party elite are rallying behind Biden in a desperate, last-ditch effort to stop Sanders. Two of Biden’s centrist rivals — former mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — dropped out of the race and endorsed him on Monday evening after they suffered poor showings in South Carolina. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who dropped out of the presidential race last year, is also backing Biden.
The rapid turn of events has some speculating of a plot by the party elite to deny Sanders the nomination, and President Donald Trump suggested as much, speculating that there is a “coup” afoot and that Buttigieg and Klobuchar were making deals with Biden for jobs in case he wins.
Will it be enough?
Even so, the question remains: will the party establishment’s blessing be enough to put Biden over the top? One thing that may work to Biden’s advantage: the moderate field is starting to thin out. Until now, the packed field of candidates had split up the anti-Sanders vote.
Also in play on Tuesday, however, is billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who until recently was the party’s only hope to stop Sanders. Bloomberg will be on the ballot for the first time after pouring over half a billion dollars into an unprecedented advertising blitz. Bloomberg could split up the moderate vote that Biden desperately needs to win — and both Sanders and Bloomberg are heading into Super Tuesday with a significant advantage in advertising and not nearly as much face time with voters.
Super Tuesday may turn out to be a comeback for Biden or a final moment of glory for a fading political force. The country will know shortly.