The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Super Tuesday

Rich Galen

Wednesday March 4, 2020

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  • It was like that shot of the NASCAR field whizzing the camera by with the sound of the engines pulsing through your TV.

  • Vroom-vroom-vroom-vroom-vroom-vroom-vroom-vroom-vroom-vroom

  • That's how quickly the race for the Democratic nomination changed Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

  • After Joe Biden's huge victory last Saturday in South Carolina, you didn't have to be Larry Sabato to know his fortunes on Super Tuesday were likely to improve.

  • No one, NO ONE, predicted the total domination that Biden would exhibit in the 14 states yesterday,

  • I had determined I would not write this column until we found out what Mike Bloomberg was going to do. At about 11 minutes after 10 this morning the word flashed across the cable nets that Bloomberg was out.

  • It was noted (again, and again) that Bloomberg is "data driven."

  • The data were clear.

  • As of this writing Bloomberg spent over a half BILLION dollars and has collected 44 delegates. Biden won states in which he never even had a refueling stop and has 10 times more delegates with California not yet counted.

  • Remember the race so far has been divided between the First Four and Super Tuesday. The first three - Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada - were not good for Joe Biden.

  • Looking back, though, we should have been able to see that Pete Buttigieg more-or-less winning Iowa; and holding Bernie Sanders to a tie in delegates in New Hampshire should have raised, not just red flags in the Sanders campaign, but hurricane warnings.

  • Everyone knew that spending a year in Iowa and New Hampshire, clumping around the Nevada desert looking for caucus attendees, and then heading down to South Carolina which you can drive on skateboard is a far different campaign model than 14 states on the same day just three days after the First Four.

  • Bloomberg's data must have shown that he didn't need no stinkin' badges from those first four races; he could buy his way into Super Tuesday knowing during the two weeks following 10 more states will be up for grabs.

  • As we were told 1,274,833 times on Tuesday night the rules in the Democratic party include a candidate needing to get to 15 percent to be awarded any delegates in a state; that there are a certain number delegates apportioned by percentage of victory statewide; and then there are additional delegates divvied up based upon how a candidate did in each Congressional District (except Texas when the secondary apportionment is by State Senate Districts).

  • Thus we don't know yet exactly the number of delegates collected on Super Tuesday but we know this: The Sanders campaign convinced themselves and much of the press corps that whatever the actual numbers turned out to be, the nation would awake on Wednesday morning talking about whether or not Biden or Bloomberg could catch up before the Convention in Milwaukee.

  • No need. Biden is about 80 delegates ahead of Bernie. Bernie might catch up, or even surpass Biden by a few delegates by the time California finishes counting, but by that time we'll be deep into the March 10 states:
    North Dakota

  • The big surprise of the night was the Texas result. Bernie Sanders broke from the pack early with a 50,000+ vote lead but it turned out that was largely driven by early voting. Joe Biden was lapping Sanders in the same-day vote and we watched Biden reel Sanders in, his lead shrinking, then disappearing until about two in the morning (Eastern time) when the groups that do this sort of thing, called Texas for Biden.

  • Here in Virginia it was reported that Biden spent about $170,000. I Tweeted that I spent more than that at Landini's. For the price of it Biden beat Sanders by THIRTY percentage points (53.3% to 23.1%) and more than doubled Sanders' delegate haul 66-31.

  • Virginia's polls closed at 7 PM and when it became clear that Biden had scored a massive win, followed quickly by North Carolina's result, I have no doubt that had an effect on voters as the clock moved west.

  • I voted for Biden. We didn't have a Republican primary election in the Old Dominion and we don't register by party so I walked in, took a ballot and for the first time in my life voted in a Democratic primary.

  • With Bloomberg out and Elizabeth Warren looking for the entrance to pit row this is effectively a two man race with Bernie Sanders chasing Joe Biden.

  • vroom

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the delegate tracker site that updates automatically.

    The Mullfoto is of the sample ballot on the door of my polling place on Tuesday - listing the many candidates who had already dropped out.

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