Biden wins Virginia and North Carolina, Sanders wins Vermont as polls start to close

Biden wins Virginia and North Carolina, Sanders wins Vermont as polls start to close
Source: The Jakarta Post

Super Tuesday, one of the biggest days in American politics, is winding down. With voters from 14 states going to the polls to vote in the Democratic primary and 1,357 delegates up for grabs, the two Democratic frontrunners, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, are looking to distinguish their position in the race.

Although polling stations on the west coast are open until 11 p.m. eastern time, a few states have already released results. So far, Biden is off to a strong start, winning Virginia, Alabama and North Carolina.

Results in Virginia suggest that Biden won the state by a significant margin. Sanders, meanwhile, won his home state of Vermont in a landslide.

The momentum could be shifting

Bernie Sanders, the self-styled democratic socialist, got off to a strong start in the race for the Democratic nomination. But last Saturday saw Joe Biden win big in South Carolina, leading several candidates in the field, including Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, to subsequently drop out of the race.

On Monday, March 2, just one day before Super Tuesday, Biden received official endorsements from Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke, another former presidential candidate who dropped out late last year.

Although many of the results from Super Tuesday states have yet to come in, some analysts are suggesting that the consolidation of former moderate candidates around Biden’s campaign could be a game changer in the race for the nomination.

According to Adrienne Elrod, a veteran Democratic strategist, “[the endorsements] reflect the urgency of what we’re going into on Super Tuesday” which represents “a big show of force that the left-of-center wing of the Democratic Party is consolidating around Joe because they understand what’s at stake, they understand the urgency, and they don’t want this to be handed to Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday.”

Sanders staking claim on California and Texas

The Sanders campaign, meanwhile, characterized the endorsements as an example of the ongoing battle they are having with the Democratic establishment.

“The political establishment has made their choice: Anybody but Bernie Sanders,” said Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir in a fundraising message on Tuesday.

“The truth is, we’ve always known we were taking on the entire damn 1 percent of this country,” Shakir added. “But we have something they do not have: people. Lots and lots of people.”

Regardless, the Senator from Vermont is holding out hope that the biggest states in Super Tuesday contests will go in his favor, specifically California and Texas.

In polling data from the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies prior to the vote, Sanders was shown to have a 2-1 lead over Biden in California.
California holds more than 30% of the total delegates awarded on Super Tuesday.