For Democrats, March comes in like a lion

For Democrats, March comes in like a lion
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There will be lots of twists and turns on the long and winding road to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. Voters and the media take a perverse pleasure in building candidates up so they can turn around and knock them down. The Bernie blowout in Nevada was followed only a week later by a Biden binge in South Carolina.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Republicans focus tax hike opposition on capital gains change Biden on hecklers: 'This is not a Trump rally. Let 'em holler' MORE started the campaign as the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Months later, he was hanging on by his fingernails before winning big in South Carolina Saturday. His victory there means he lives to fight another day, which in this case is this Tuesday.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia US launches second Somalia strike in week MORE (I-Vt.) was on a roll after a win in New Hampshire and a big victory in Nevada. After those victories, there was so much talk about the inevitability of his nomination that the New York Times reported that a group of Democratic super-delegates were mounting a coup to deny him the nomination. Then Democrats in South Carolina decided to slow his momentum themselves.

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Former Sound Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegJD Vance takes aim at culture wars, childless politicians Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary The Hill's Morning Report - High-profile COVID-19 infections spark new worries MORE was the flavor of the day after he won the delegate contest in Iowa. After poor finishes in Nevada and South Carolina and with few prospects on Super Tuesday, he is now exiting the race.

Last Fall, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenKavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary MORE (D-Mass.) had lapped Sanders and become the main progressive alternative to the moderate frontrunner, Biden. Now she is in danger of losing her home state primary to her progressive rival and with that her place in the race.

Super Tuesday will be a make or break day for the Democratic hopefuls.

The big day offers Sanders his best chance to win enough delegates to send him to Milwaukee with a big enough lead that he can win on the first ballot with no questions asked. He is the only Democratic candidate besides businessman Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWhy Democrats' .5 trillion reconciliation bill is a losing game Democrats must win big on health care to have a shot in the midterms Stacey Abrams PAC tops 0 million raised MORE with the money to advertise broadly for Super Tuesday. Sanders leads in the California polls and a big victory there could net him hundreds of delegates. The second biggest prize Tuesday is Texas, which, like California, has large numbers of Hispanic voters.

While Sanders has incorporated Hispanic voters into his progressive coalition, he has failed to bring African American voters around. Biden won a plurality of black voters in the Silver State and a large majority of them in the Palmetto State. Biden hopes to parlay his support with blacks and moderate white southerners into Super Tuesday wins in Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Arkansas. 

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Tuesday is an important day for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg because he will be on the ballot for the first time. He was not on the ballot in South Carolina, but the state exit poll indicated he was unpopular with the Democrats who voted there. Super Tuesday will prove whether money can buy love and votes for the former New York City mayor.

Warren’s future and the prospects of Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBiden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks Competition laws could be a death knell for startup mergers and acquisitions MORE (D-Minn.) hang in the balance this week. Both women face tough challenges from Sanders in their home states, and defeats could end their candidacies.

Warren did raise almost $30 million in February, which means she has the money to continue the fight through March. Her showing in the California polling indicates she could win a fair number of delegates there if she hits the 15 percent vote threshold.

If Klobuchar leaves the campaign this week, she will be remembered as the candidate who aced the debates, which could mean second place on the national ticket for the Midwestern miner’s granddaughter.

March comes in like a political lion. There will be lots of roller coaster ride thrills and chills Tuesday night with 1,144 delegates at stake. But there’s still a ton of fun ahead in March. The week after Super Tuesday, there will be primaries in six states with 365 delegates at stake. On St. Patrick’s feast day, March 17, primary voters in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio will select 577 delegates. Only then will we be able to make any clear judgments about what might or might not happen in Milwaukee.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Deadline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.