Who won on Super Tuesday? Clearly, it was Donald Trump.
First, let us be clear: Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit MORE did not win on that big primary day; the Democratic establishment did.
It is true that the former vice president outperformed expectations and prevented Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's Groups push lawmakers to use defense bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen civil war Congress must address the looming debt crisis MORE (I-Vt.) from rolling up a quick trip to the nomination. But the main reason for Biden’s multi-state win is that Democrat puppet-meisters circled the wagons and intervened. Former South Bend., Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Blumenthal calls on Buttigieg to investigate American Airlines-JetBlue partnership LGBT film festival to premiere documentary about Pete Buttigieg MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThis week: Democrats face mounting headaches Klobuchar: 'It is evil to make it deliberately hard for people to vote' Democrats push to shield election workers from violent threats MORE (D-Minn.) were pushed to get out and they did, ceding to Biden the “moderate” lane and guaranteeing that Obama’s wingman would beat Sanders in critical races.
Adding to the Joe-mentum, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg followed the next day; all three threw their support to Biden.
The Bernie bros, still incensed that the Democratic National Committee torpedoed their man in 2016, are furious that party apparatchiks are blocking their advance once again. Assuming that Biden becomes the nominee, that discord does not bode well for Democrat turnout in November. In 2016, remember that about 8-10 percent of Bernie’s army voted for Trump, and many others simply stayed home.
Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE had a score of excuses for her loss to Trump; one of them was that Bernie Sanders failed to deliver his army. We will almost surely see a repeat of that process.
Sanders and his surrogates are already calling foul. Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson calls federal judge's handling of Steven Donziger case 'unconstitutional' Marianne Williamson calls on Biden to drop efforts to extradite Assange Susan Sarandon and Marianne Williamson call for justice in Steven Donziger case MORE, onetime candidate and now a Sanders supporter, said this about the Super Tuesday outcome: “What happened was a coup. And we will push it back.”
Robinson went on: “Bernie was on track to win. Biden had no campaign, and they all knew it. So a few phone calls were made behind the scenes to Amy, Pete, Beto. Several million was put into a pro-Warren super PAC. Voila!”
Biden pushed back against claims that party officials are trying to defeat Sanders, tweeting that “the establishment are all those hardworking, middle class people, those African Americans ... they are the establishment.”
To which the Vermont socialist responded: “No, Joe. The ‘establishment are the 60 billionaires who are funding your campaign and the corporate-funded super PACs that are spending millions attacking me.’”
Commentator and activist Shaun King helped stir the pot, tweeting that MSNBC’s Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowRachel Maddow extends contract with MSNBC: reports OAN loses appeal in defamation lawsuit against Rachel Maddow Nunes sues MSNBC, alleging Rachel Maddow defamed him MORE “reported that multiple ‘senior officials’ within the Democratic Party are interfering with the primaries to stop @BernieSanders,” which Maddow then denied.
Just before the South Carolina primary, The New York Times ran a lengthy piece describing opposition to Bernie Sanders among “Democratic Establishment leaders.”
And, of course, President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE has been stoking Bernie-follower outrage persistently, suggesting that the primaries are being stolen from them.
This does not bode well for party unity.
As Biden and Sanders duke it out, the focus in coming weeks will be on Sanders’s love affair with Fidel Castro and Joe Biden’s involvements in Ukraine, about Bernie’s inability to say how he’ll pay for all the “free stuff” he promises and Biden’s co-authoring the 1994 crime bill. Sanders will attack Biden’s support of NAFTA and vote for the Iraq War, while Biden will thrash Sanders for failing to do much during his decades in Congress. It won’t be pleasant to watch, unless you’re Donald Trump.
Biden leads Sanders by only about 50 delegates. Only 1,060 delegates have been awarded out of 3,979 in total; more than half of all delegates are yet to be won.
That makes Biden’s small lead fragile, especially since exit polls show as many as 40 percent-60 percent of voters in these various races have made up their minds at the last minute, and appear persuadable by current events. Biden could be just one more gaffe away from seeing his lead vanish.
Nonetheless, RealClearPolitics puts Biden’s odds of winning the nomination at 84 percent, a stunning turnaround from just two weeks ago when they were at 10 percent.
Probably, Joe will become the nominee, and will run against Donald Trump. Does anyone question who is the more powerful candidate?
Bloomberg reportedly got into the race initially because he was concerned that Uncle Joe could not get the job done. The former vice president has created goofs galore on the campaign trail, frequently becoming “confused” about where he is or whom he’s talking to.
On Super Tuesday, at a campaign rally, he mixed up his wife and his sister. If you’re a Democrat, you have to worry about Biden’s ability to get through a prolonged campaign without serious embarrassment. If you’re honest, you have to wonder whether Joe is experiencing some mental decline.
Democrats know this, but despite 27 candidates entering the race, the safe choice, the centrist choice, became “Sleepy Joe,” as Trump calls him. Compared to all the others, Biden stood out because of his name recognition, and his attachment to President Obama. Mainly he stood out because he is popular with African Americans, who remember the Obama years fondly.
But Biden has continually lagged in raising money and has been unable to generate excited crowds of the kind that attend Trump or Sanders rallies.
Biden’s fundraising in recent days has surged because of his win in South Carolina and several endorsements, as well as the disappearance of Buttigieg and Klobuchar from the race. He will be competitive going forward, especially if Bloomberg helps fund his campaign, which is likely.
But the former veep’s struggles to raise funds is indicative of a lack of enthusiasm. Money won’t fix that.
And the furor of Bernie’s Army will make it worse.
Biden may be Democrats’ “safe” choice, but that doesn’t mean he will win. Gallup reports that 61 percent of Americans say they are better off than they were three years ago, when Obama and Biden were in charge. Will the nation choose to go backwards? That’s highly unlikely.
Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.