Joe Biden Takes the Lead on Super Tuesday
Sanders takes the win in Colorado
On “Super Tuesday,” March 3, Colorado and 13 other states (and one territory) held their primary votes to decide the Democratic and Republican nominee for the 2020 presidential election. Candidates hoped to collect a majority of the 1,357 delegates, more than a third of all in the Democratic National Convention, available in the March 3 elections. Delegates act as an electoral voting unit assigned to a candidate based on how many votes they receive in each primary. Unlike the electoral college in the overall presidential election, the winner of a state primary does not receive every pledged delegate that state has available. Rather, each candidate collects an amount proportional to the number of votes they received.
Joe Biden claimed the overall victory on super Tuesday. Propelled by his previous win in the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29, and last minute endorsements from fellow moderates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar—both of whom dropped out the night before the primaries—the former vice president won wide majorities in the southeast and picked up narrow leads in Texas and other various states. He now leads Sanders’ (the frontrunner prior to Mar. 3) 551 delegates with his own 627.
Senator Sanders, meanwhile, sits in a comfortable second place. He came out victorious in Colorado with 20 of 66 delegates, and more to come as the final 21% of Colorado’s votes are counted. He won majorities in Utah, Vermont, and California, the largest primary state. Even in the states he lost, the Vermont senator managed to garner at least 15% total vote, meaning he reached the threshold required to collect proportionate delegates from each state. In Texas, the second largest of the primaries, Sanders won 102 delegates, marginally less than Biden’s 111.
State progressives did not support billionaire Michael Bloomberg despite an expensive and prominent campaign presence. The former NYC mayor personally spent hundreds of millions of dollars nationwide, much of that in Colorado, including a full-page ad in The Sentry. Still, Bloomberg found himself at 3rd in the centennial state and his only victory in the American Samoa caucus. The billionaire dropped out of the race and endorsed Joe Biden. In his campaign suspension speech Bloomberg stressed that he will continue his involvement in politics, “I am clear eyed about our overall objective and that is victory in November.”
Biden’s victory was unexpected considering his poor performance in the first four primaries/caucuses. His display of viability in South Carolina and the moderate’s consolidation behind him are what Biden supporters point to as the source of his victory. However, many Sanders supporters believe help also came from a combination of voter suppression and a split progressive vote between Bernie and Warren. The Texas Tribune reported six hour long wait times to vote at Texas Southern University, one of the worst examples of a wider pattern.
Senator Warren announced her departure from the race the following Thursday after failing to place second in any primary or caucus. This leaves Sanders and Biden as the final two prospects for the democratic nomination. 37 primaries and caucuses remain.