Another one bites the dust — in what appears to be a way to consolidate moderate Democrat support around former Vice President Joe Biden. Goodbye to former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, and hello to another fellow Biden backer. There are more of us every day now.
Biden has gone from being the front-runner for the Democratic nomination to the underdog about to be counted out and is now the front-runner again after a surprising South Carolina showing and blowout Super Tuesday finish that has completely shaken up the Democratic primary field.
Ahead of the South Carolina primary, many pundits (including me) believed that Biden was lacking the necessary momentum for a continued campaign, and that there was a real need within the Democratic Party to coalesce around another moderate-centrist candidate like Bloomberg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., or former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Needless to say, each of those moderate Democrat candidates made that much-needed consolidation effort easy after South Carolina and then Super Tuesday by stepping aside to give Biden the momentum and endorsements he needed to win what will soon be a two-person race between him and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
While Bloomberg certainly had the funding needed to run a sustained presidential campaign, it was his suspension of his candidacy and endorsement of Biden following his dismal Super Tuesday performance that will likely prove critical to Biden’s campaign — and reaffirmed the latter's front-runner status. It’s no secret that Bloomberg’s finances and nearly unlimited organizational resources would be useful to any presidential campaign attempting to oust an incumbent; undoubtedly Biden is more than grateful for that support as he prepares for first a primary battle against Sanders and then hopefully an eventual general election war against Trump.
Having Bloomberg in his corner will surely help him especially in key battleground states — where Bloomberg already has significant resources and staff, both of which he has already pledged to whomever the Democrat nominee is in an effort to defeat Trump.
What’s more, the coalescing around Biden appears to be a strategic move, coordinated by parts of the Democratic Party and with help from the Biden campaign and his bundlers. His South Carolina primary win and the endorsements from Buttigieg and Klobuchar put him back on the map and clearly had a tremendous effect on the Super Tuesday contests, considering that he never visited, opened local field offices or ran advertisements in many of the states in which he ended up winning on Tuesday night.
Biden’s unexpected double-digit victories now put him above Sanders in the delegate count and reshaped the Democratic primary contest as one between a moderate and a progressive revolutionary. But Biden's performance at the ballot box proved that he has what it takes to continue as the front-runner, and the additions from Bloomberg's team means he now also has a powerhouse apparatus that can withstand even turbulent times.
Interestingly and most important, turnout has spiked in these election contests compared to 2016 — particularly in key general election battleground states such as Virginia and North Carolina, due to aversion toward Trump among moderate, suburban voters who are looking at a Democrat alternative.
Specifically, Biden performed exceptionally well in the suburbs that fueled a Democrat takeover in the House of Representatives in 2018, a voting bloc that will be crucial in the general election and one that Sanders has been unable to capture. With his South Carolina and Super Tuesday wins, Biden can now sufficiently make the case that he is the candidate for disaffected and Never Trump Republicans, suburban independent voters, African American voters, Clinton voters and older voters — all key voting blocs and demographics.
In the days ahead the Democratic primary field will likely get even smaller, and Biden will continue to benefit as voters line up for a candidate who can beat Trump rather than one with whom they perfectly align on issues — as evidenced by exit polling. Policy purity tests may swell the hearts of Twitter warriors, but voters want a new president to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave next year, not just start some eventual economic revolution.
Biden’s resurrection is a compelling narrative — and one that he can and will play up well on the campaign trail. Biden has always thrived when he can lean into his down-to-earth personality, which is exactly what he did on Super Tuesday. “For those who have been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign,” Biden said to supporters at a campaign victory speech in Los Angeles on Tuesday as he continued to ride this wave of newfound momentum.
There’s nothing that America loves more than a good underdog story — and right now, that means there's a lot of Joe-mentum to go around. The Biden train is pressing full steam ahead, and he most definitely has the support of this former Republican.