Joe Biden is getting cocky.
Riding high on a stunning Super Tuesday comeback, the Democratic candidate for president told a crowd in Los Angeles that the race “may be over” for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Fox News reported. Biden lost California’s primary, but he outperformed expectations by sweeping 10 out of the 14 states up for grabs Tuesday night, according to Politico.
“To those who’ve been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign,” Biden said Tuesday night, according to Fox. “Just a few days ago the press and the pundits had declared the campaign dead.”
Biden: “It may be over” for Sanders
The outcome of Super Tuesday dramatically reset a primary that had been a muddle until recently, with Biden lagging behind. By the end of the night, the primary was clearly a two-man contest between Biden, a former vice president who is championing a return to pre-Trump “civility,” and Sanders, who is calling for a grassroots “revolution.”
It was a sensational comeback for Biden, whose campaign was declared all but dead after a string of disappointments in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Biden’s campaign got a second wind when he won South Carolina’s primary and two of his top rivals, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and former small-town Mayor Pete Buttigieg, dropped out and endorsed him ahead of Tuesday’s matchups.
Buoyed by older and black voters, according to the Associated Press, Biden swept the South, including Texas, where he narrowly beat out Sanders on Tuesday for the second biggest delegate haul. In a demoralizing blow to Sanders and his claims of electability, Biden also snagged Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Maine, states that Sanders had largely been expected to win.
At a rally in Los Angeles, a triumphant Biden rattled off the states he won and took a veiled shot at Sanders, who won the state where Biden was speaking, California. “Then came South Carolina and they had something to say about it,” he said, according to Fox. “And we were told when it got to Super Tuesday it would be over… Well, it may be over for the other guy.”
Biden has long sought to strike this tone of confidence, but for the first time, it felt justified. All the same, Biden continued to stumble through his speech, underscoring the rich irony and dramatic improbability that the candidate, only recently written off as a doddering old man without a prayer, would now be favored to win the nomination. At his rally in Los Angeles, Biden appeared to confuse his wife Jill for his sister, the Washington Examiner reported.
Sanders defiant, Bloomberg humiliated
Backed by young, Latino, and liberal voters, Sanders won his home state of Vermont, as well as Utah, Colorado, and California, according to the AP. Going by delegate numbers, the results could be evenly split when all of the votes in California, the biggest prize, are counted — but there is no doubt that Biden’s comeback slowed what looked like, until recently, an unstoppable surge by Sanders.
While Tuesday was disappointing for the socialist, it was mortifying for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who poured half a billion dollars into a race that won him few delegates and one victory, in the U.S. territory of Samoa.
Bloomberg dropped out Wednesday morning and endorsed Biden, saying there was no viable path forward for his campaign, according to the AP. Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is thinking things over, the AP reports, after winning no states and finishing in an embarrassing third place in her home state of Massachusetts.
In his own speech Tuesday night, Sanders struck a defiant tone and attacked Biden as a member of a corrupt establishment that exploits working people, The Hill reported. He also attacked Biden’s vote for the Iraq War and NAFTA, which has been blamed for the stripping of America’s manufacturing sector.
At a press conference the next day, Sanders predicted that his campaign would be “neck and neck” with Biden’s once votes in California were all tallied up and vowed to defeat the “political establishment” backing Biden’s campaign.
“What this campaign I think is increasingly about is, which side are you on?” Sanders said Wednesday, according to the AP. “There has never been a campaign in recent history which has taken on the entire political establishment. That is an establishment that is working frantically to try to defeat us.”