The luck of the Irish was finally with Joseph Biden. Dismissed as a loser by much of the US political class, Biden had never won a primary until South Carolina. Next he had a super-duper day on Super Tuesday, clobbering Bernie Sanders in state after state. Sanders may take Texas and California, but Bernie is essentially a burnt out case.
It is more clear than ever that his candidacy would spell doom for the Democrats this autumn. He was unable to bring in many new young voters and his appeal to African American voters, the base of the Democratic party, is virtually nil. Exit polls showed that moderate and conservative voters regarded Sanders as about as enticing as the coronavirus. He couldn’t close the sale. No wonder that Donald Trump has regarded Sanders with such favour. He would be his dream candidate.
Biden’s victories are bad news for Sanders. They are even worse for Trump. Sanders would likely go down in flames against Trump. Biden, by contrast, could torch Trump whose incompetence in handling the coronavirus becomes more palpable by the day, or even hour.
Biden’s comeback demonstrates that the Democrats are not going the route of the 2016 Republican party. The centre has held as centrists mobilised behind Biden. He owes a significant debt to Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar who bowed out from the race to back him. The wave of endorsements that Biden has picked up in recent days will surely become a tsunami. Look for Michael Bloomberg, who wasted hundreds of millions in advertising and only ended up winning in American Samoa, to mobilize behind the cash-starved Biden.
In the end, Biden may benefit from his laggardly start. He has found his voice. It’s a tougher Biden that will emerge from the crucible of the Democratic primary. His journey to the nomination is not over. But the end of the beginning has begun. Some 60 per cent of the delegates for the Democratic convention remain to be won. Now that he has shown he is for real, Biden should become an increasingly attractive candidate to Democrats who regard Sanders with dread.
The longer the race goes on, the less enticing Sanders will start to look. Here’s the deal, as Biden likes to say: the Sanders revolution — the flapdoodle about Cuban literacy, the greatness of Venezuela, and harebrained economic schemes — is stillborn. It looks like Democrats will be ridin' with Biden.