The Thinker: Rich Galen

  
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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Biden Wins Big

Rich Galen

Sunday March 1, 2020

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  • "South Carolina is our firewall."

  • That's what the BFP (Biden for President) had been telling us since Biden made it known he was running in the 2020 campaign for President.

  • Biden's people said in April 2019 - just shy of a year ago - and those of us who have been through this once or twice before nodded sagely. We had seen, among other, George W. Bush resurrect his 2000 campaign in South Carolina after being badly beaten by John McCain in New Hampshire.

  • So we knew this was possible. I didn't think it was probable.

  • Amy Klobuchar announced her campaign last February. Minnesotans run for President with some frequency, but with little success. Candidates from Harold Stassen to Michelle Bachmann have graced the nation's ballot cards.

  • Walter Mondale ran against Ronald Reagan in the President's re-election bid in 1984. Mondale won his home state of Minnesota but lost the other 49.

    SIDEBAR

    I know we've mentioned this before but in the election of 1972 incumbent President Richard Nixon won 49 states against George McGovern.

    Turned out Nixon's campaign didn't actually need to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate to win reelection.

    END SIDEBAR

  • Klobuchar, largely on the strength of her debate performances, not only hung around but got to double digits in Iowa, came in 3rd in New Hampshire (10 points ahead of Elizabeth Warren), but came in a disappointing 6th - just behind Tom Steyer - in Nevada with about 4 percent.

  • With about half the votes counted in South Carolina, Sen. Klobuchar is again in 6th place with 3.1% which closer to 7th place Tulsi Gabbard (1.2%) than to 5th place Elizabeth Warren (6.7%).

  • By the time the rest of the votes are counted, Warren might overtake Pete Buttigieg but probably still in single digits and neither is likely to get any delegates when the votes in South Carolina's seven Congressional Districts are counted.

  • Speaking of Indiana's Pete Buttigieg, it is a sign of the times - and a positive sign - that pronouncing his last name was more of an issue than his sexual orientation. The unwritten agreement was to call him "Mayor Pete" and avoid the whole Buttigieg thing.

  • Bernie Sanders agreed that Biden would do well in South Carolina. With Super Tuesday looming only three days later, Sanders made the calculation that he would do a drop by, and go after as many delegates in the 13 states up for grabs on the ensuing Tuesday.

  • Bernie Sanders wasn't in South Carolina for election night, he made his concession speech from Virginia (where I will be voting on Tuesday). You may remember that Biden didn't hang around New Hampshire on election night choosing, instead, to make his concession speech from South Carolina.

  • I thought Sanders looked and sounded very tired. He will have come in second, by the time all the votes were counted in South Carolina and he will still have the most delegates - or be a close second - so, it wasn't as if he was announcing his leaving the field.

  • His voice was hoarse. He coughed at one point. It was clear his heart was not in that performance, especially when he congratulated Biden on his victory.

  • Joe Biden, on the other hand, made his victory speech at a point when he was winning with about 50% of South Carolina Democrats voting for him. He was introduced by Rep. James Clyburn who had earlier endorsed Biden.

  • Clyburn is the highest ranking African-American in the U.S. House, serving as Majority Whip and may be the most powerful politician in South Carolina.

  • If Sanders sounded like he was dropping out of the race (he was not), then Biden sounded like he was giving his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention in Milwaukee (he was not).

  • Biden was energetic to the point of being passionate. He was on point. He was forward looking without being Pollyanna-esque. And, he didn't speak for an hour.

  • Around 9:30 Eastern, Tom Steyer bowed out of the race. He had spent over $22 million in South Carolina alone but ended the night in a distant third getting 38,300 votes. The long division works out to $588.21 and zero delegates.

  • We'll see who makes it through the next 72 hours and who makes it beyond Super Tuesday. It might well be down to two or three (depending upon what Mike Bloomberg does) by the time we break for lunch next Wednesday.

  • As for South Carolina? Biden won.

  • Big.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the list of Presidential candidates from Minnesota, to a terrific page tracking state-by-state primary results, and to the Wikipedia entry for Jim Clymburn

    The Mullfoto is another head-scratcher I spotted in Old Town Alexandria, Va this week.

-- END --

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