Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had a difficult night Tuesday, losing four out of the six states holding primary contests and, at this point, only drawing the same number of delegates as Joe Biden from a state where he was expected to beat the frontrunner handily. The very poor showing comes one week after Sanders lost 9 of the 15 contests to Biden and saw his early primary momentum utterly collapse.
So is the “revolution” over? Many political analysts believe so, among them the statisticians over at FiveThirtyEight, including the famous founder of the site, Nate Silver.
“There really isn’t even that much to say at this point,” Silver wrote in response to Biden crushing Sanders Tuesday. “Although Biden’s surge in the polls has been remarkably fast, this is not a terribly close primary at this point — it’s much less close than it was in 2016, which wasn’t that close — and there’s no indication that it’s getting closer.”
“Biden’s support is quite geographically robust, and even if there were a massive shift back toward Sanders, we’re at the point where it might be coming too late,” Silver continued. “If the states set to vote over the next two weeks were good ones for Sanders, that might leave at least a little bit of an opening. But instead, this is one of the worst stretches of the calendar for him. He’s going to lose a lot of delegates in Florida and Georgia, in particular.”
Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington all held primaries on Tuesday, and Biden cleaned up in most of them, taking 9 of Idaho’s 20 delegates (Sanders got 7), 53 of Michigan’s 125 (Sanders 35), 29 of Mississippi’s 36 (Sanders just 2), 40 of Missouri’s 68 (Sanders 23), and, so far, 5 of North Dakota’s 14 (Sanders 5) and 17 of Washington’s 89 (Sanders 17).
While delegates are still being divvied up in a few of the states, the current delegate total gives Biden a sizable lead over the former frontrunner. Biden currently has a 165-delegate lead, amassing 837 total delegates compared to Sanders’ 672.
The most devastating result for the Sanders campaign Tuesday was Michigan, as FiveThirtyEight’s Amelia Thomson Deveaux explains. “Sanders gambled on Michigan,” Deveaux wrote after the contest. “He traveled all over the state in the days leading up the primary at the expense of campaigning in other places, so his loss there tonight is that much more symbolic.”
As The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti detailed Tuesday, Michigan’s importance in part rested in its status as the first of the Rust Belt states to hold a primary. “Michigan’s primary was the first time the Democratic candidates officially competed in the all-important Rust Belt and Michigan, a ‘battleground’ state with a large percentage of so-called ‘Reagan Democrats’ — moderate Democrats, many of whom are union members, who lean left on economic issues but straddle the line between the two parties on social issues — is seen as key to winning the 2020 presidential election,” Zanotti wrote as the results streamed in Tuesday night.
Donald Trump’s stunning victory in 2016 was delivered in large part because of his victories in Rust Belt states, which famously went largely neglected by Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated campaign.
“President Donald Trump’s message of economic populism resonated loudly with Michigan’s Democrats in 2016 and the Democratic party likely hopes Biden’s folksy persona and demonstrated connection with the working class helps lure voters back into their camp,” Zanotti notes. “The stakes are high and Democrats believe the numbers are in their favor; Trump won the state by less than a quarter million votes in 2016.” (Read Zanotti’s full analysis here.)