With the votes still being accumulated and the final counts in California and Texas still to be determined, it’s a fool’s errand to declare vice president Joe Biden the indisputable winner of the Super Tuesday slugfest. Bernie Sanders proved formidable in the west, is competitive in the Lone Star State, and could very well turn in an impressive delegate haul in the Golden State. But there is no disputing that Biden, a dying animal only two weeks ago, is now on the invigorated lion that has found his prey. ‘Joementum’ is real.
But let’s look at the losers. You could make a case that Michael Bloomberg squandered hundreds of millions of dollars for a few delegates in places like American Samoa, Tennessee, Utah, Colorado and Texas. But was there honestly anybody outside of Bloomberg’s orbit who sincerely believed that the former billionaire mayor from New York with the horrible sense of humor and automaton-like sense of empathy would be the Democratic party’s nominee for president of the United States?
No, the real loser tonight is Elizabeth Warren, who was considered a front-runner as early as the fall and is by far one of the strongest performers on the debate stage (if you don’t believe me, ask Bloomberg, who was chewed up and spit out by Warren with ease). Whether you like her policies or not, the senior senator from Massachusetts is also one of the smartest candidates in the Democratic field today, true to her beliefs, confident and assertive against her opponents, and a workhorse who didn’t mind doing the boring but necessary grunt work of modern-day campaigning.
And yet despite all of her positive attributes, Warren performed worse than Bloomberg in many of the states that voted tonight. By the time of posting, she only reached 15 percent statewide in 4 out of 14 contests, barely scraping by in Utah and Minnesota. Oklahoma, the state of her birth, showed no love for the New Englander. Massachusetts, the commonwealth she represents in the US Senate, opted to vote for a guy who didn’t even bother to campaign in the state, Joe Biden. She finished third in Boston, about 4,000 votes short of Bernie Sanders. It was as if Warren was treated as an outsider by her own constituents; with the exception of some Boston suburbs like Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts was divided into Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders territory.
Before voting began on Tuesday, Warren insisted that she was in it to win it. She would be bloodied and buried throughout the primary, but persevere like she has persevered throughout her entire career. Her supporters, of which there are many, love her and hope the anti-Wall Street fighter will stick around until the convention in Milwaukee this summer.
Deep down, however, Warren now has to ask herself the same question that Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar asked a few days prior: is there any conceivable way the nomination can be secured? The answer after tonight is an unequivocal no.
The Democratic presidential primary is now a two-man race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, the establishment Democrat who has been in politics for a half-century and the populist revolutionary who has fought from the outside for decades. Democrats will now be confronted with a diametrically stark choice. Is it better to play it safe by nominating a cautious centrist who could win the white, working class voters in the Midwest who delivered Donald Trump the presidency four years ago? Or is it better to nominate the left’s version of Trump (by far a perfect comparison), a person who salivates at the thought of taking down Trumpism as much as he dreams about teaching the Democratic establishment a lesson?