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
|Michael R. Bloomberg||146,397|
Results in Illinois were as follows:
2020 Illinois Democratic presidential primary
And finally, results in Arizona were as follows:
2020 Arizona Democratic presidential primary
|Roque De La Fuente||607||0.11%|
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.”
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.