NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

Biden demolishes Sanders’ comeback chances as Arizona, Florida and Illinois vote

On Tues­day, vot­ing went ahead under the cloud of the rapid­ly wors­en­ing coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic in three states: Ari­zona, Flori­da, and Illi­nois. All three states went over­whelm­ing­ly for for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, push­ing him into a vir­tu­al­ly insur­mount­able lead over his only remain­ing rival, Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders.

If Super Tues­day was a dev­as­tat­ing punch to the Sen­a­tor’s odds of win­ning the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, the St. Patrick­’s Day “Super Tues­day III” nom­i­nat­ing exer­cise might prove to be the killing blow for his campaign.

As of press time, results in Flori­da were as follows:

2020 Florida Democratic presidential primary

Can­di­dateVotes ReceivedPer­cent­age
Joe Biden1,070,826
Bernie Sanders395,069
Michael R. Bloomberg146,397
Pete Buttigieg39,864
Eliz­a­beth Warren32,775
Amy Klobuchar17,260
Tul­si Gabbard8,694
Andrew Yang5,261
Michael Ben­net4,229
Tom Stey­er2,509
Mar­i­anne Williamson1,740
John Delaney1,572
Cory Book­er1,496
Julian Cas­tro1,031
Joe Ses­tak662
Deval Patrick656

Results in Illi­nois were as follows:

2020 Illinois Democratic presidential primary

Can­di­dateVotes ReceivedPer­cent­age
Biden, Joe909,46059.09%
Sanders, Bernie554,97436.06%
Bloomberg, Michael23,4451.52%
War­ren, Elizabeth21,7091.41%
Buttigieg, Pete8,9940.58%
Gab­bard, Tulsi8,9910.58%
Yang, Andrew3,6950.24%
Book­er, Cory2,5310.16%
Stey­er, Tom1,5810.1%
Patrick, Deval1,4830.1%
Ben­net, Michael1,2500.08%
Delaney, John1,1020.07%

And final­ly, results in Ari­zona were as follows:

2020 Arizona Democratic presidential primary

Can­di­dateVotes ReceivedPer­cent­age
Joe Biden231,35143.11%
Bernie Sanders168,08231.32%
Eliz­a­beth Warren34,5956.45%
Pete Buttigieg24,5834.58%
Tul­si Gabbard2,7330.51%
Andrew Yang1,7790.33%
Julián Cas­tro6970.13%
Mar­i­anne Williamson6290.12%
Roque De La Fuente6070.11%
Deval Patrick2310.04%
Hen­ry Hewes2010.04%
Michael Ellinger1650.03%

Ohio was also sup­posed to vote today, but opt­ed to post­pone its pri­ma­ry.

So far, Sanders has won an esti­mat­ed 861 del­e­gates to Biden’s 1,147. Giv­en that a can­di­date needs 1,991 del­e­gates to win the nom­i­na­tion, and that over half of the states have already held their pri­maries (includ­ing the three most pop­u­lous), the odds of Sanders catch­ing Biden up have gone from extreme­ly slim to vir­tu­al­ly nil.

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Biden, seem­ing to under­stand that the pri­ma­ry race is now enter­ing a new stage, struck a con­cil­ia­to­ry note in a live-streamed speech from his home in Wil­im­ing­ton, Delaware.

Mov­ing from an adver­sar­i­al to a coop­er­a­tive stance, Biden said that Sen­a­tor Sanders and his sup­port­ers brought “a remark­able pas­sion and tenac­i­ty” to the race which had “shift­ed the fun­da­men­tal con­ver­sa­tion in this country.”

Address­ing Sanders’ sup­port­ers direct­ly, he told them, “I hear you, I know what’s at stake, I know what we have to do.”

Sanders spoke before results were announced, but not after.

The three states’ pri­maries might have sig­naled the effec­tive end of the 2020 bat­tle for the par­ty’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, but any relief felt among Democ­rats will be tem­pered by the dev­as­tat­ing impact of the nov­el coronavirus.

Most of Amer­i­ca is hun­ker­ing down to try to weath­er the effects of the glob­al pan­dem­ic – which has now spread to every U.S. state – and in-per­­son vot­ing on Tues­day was at dis­mal­ly low lev­els.

Accord­ing to reports, even elec­tion judges and vol­un­teers were choos­ing not to turn up to polling places, scared by the high risk of infection.

How­ev­er, the turnout rates on Tues­day also offered insight into how upcom­ing pri­maries might be con­duct­ed safe­ly: turnout actu­al­ly increased from 2016 in both Ari­zona and Flori­da, thanks to high rates of ear­ly vot­ing. States such as Ohio that have delayed their pri­maries in the light of the COVID-19 threat should take this les­son into account: invest heav­i­ly in expand­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for vot­ers to cast their bal­lot with­out tak­ing the risk of going to a polling place.

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