From left, Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, talks before a Democratic presidential primary debate, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Joe Biden probably has to pinch himself to make sure this is actually happening. This is one of those rare moments in life when the seemingly impossible suddenly becomes reality. Real Clear Politics had Biden’s odds to win the nomination at 9% last week, but after his blow-out victory in South Carolina on Saturday, they stand at 35.7%.
On Sunday night, Pete Buttigieg dropped out, followed by Amy Klobuchar on Monday and both will appear tonight with Biden at his Dallas rally to offer their endorsements. He received the support of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today and he also received the all-important nods from former CIA Director John Brennan and Never-Trumper Bill Kristol.
What does this mean for the race? For starters, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, Sanders’s chances of winning a majority of pledged delegates fell from 28 percent to 23 percent which pushes the odds of a brokered convention up from 59% to 64%.
Buttigieg has currently won 26 delegates and Klobuchar has won 7. Heavy’s Caroline Burke offers a good explanation of what happens to those delegates when a candidates drops out of the race. In most states, those “delegates go to the national convention uncommitted to any candidate. There are a few states, such as Virginia and Nevada, which require that delegates vote for their pledged candidate in the first round of the convention no matter what.
But if a candidate drops out and then endorses another candidate:
Those delegates are expected to vote for the candidate the person has endorsed. Again, they’re not required to vote for anyone. For example, if Buttigieg and Klobuchar both endorsed Joe Biden after they dropped out, their delegates might vote for Biden at the convention, assuming Biden was still in the race by then. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it increases the likelihood that a candidate’s delegates will go in a specific direction.
According to The New York Times writes that Buttigieg’s “biggest value to Mr. Biden may be in his ability to transfer some or most of his vaunted fund-raising apparatus to the former vice president. Mr. Buttigieg raised more money than did Mr. Biden in each fund-raising period of 2019, despite beginning his campaign as a virtual unknown in national politics.” The Times reports:
Within hours of Mr. Buttigieg’s withdrawal, staff members for Mr. Biden’s campaign began courting Mr. Buttigieg’s donors and fund-raisers. Some, like Representative Don Beyer of Virginia, swiftly announced their new allegiance to Mr. Biden. Others who had spent recent weeks privately trashing Mr. Biden as too old to defeat President Trump in a general election, said they were likely to eventually move to back Mr. Biden but would not do so right away.
Buttigieg raised over $76 million in 2019, which is impressive considering very few Americans even knew his name at the beginning of the year.
The area where Buttigieg’s endorsement and to some extent, Klobuchar’s, can help the most, is in pulling Biden’s support up and over the 15% mark in borderline districts. If a candidate receives 15% or more of the vote in any given district, then he or she will be eligible to share in the delegates from that district. If a candidate’s support falls below that threshold, they will receive no delegates.
Bernie is expected to win in California tomorrow. The RCP average of polls shows him at 33% and Biden at 18.3%. The previous day (Sunday), Bernie was at 33.7, Biden was at 15.3%, On Saturday, Bernie was over 35% and Biden was at 11% going into South Carolina.
Now that Buttigieg, who was at 8% in California and Klobuchar with 5%, those votes will have to go somewhere. If they endorse Biden tonight, the majority of those votes will go to him. If the California primary had been held before the South Carolina primary and Biden were at 11%, Bernie would receive all of the state’s delegates. With the “little boost” provided from Buttigieg and Klobuchar supporters, Biden will definitely receive some delegates, Warren will likely receive some delegates, and Bloomberg may even receive some.
The bottom line is that Bernie will receive fewer than he would have before Biden’s win in S.C. or before Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropped out.
Perhaps someone spoke to Buttigieg and Klobuchar and gave them a little nudge to strengthen Biden ahead of Super Tuesday.
Can you imagine the Democrats being so determined to elect Joe Biden when he’s clearly in the early stages of mental decline? Not only that, but there may still be “fallout” from his and his son’s business activities in Ukraine. Desperate strokes I suppose.
I’ll leave you with this from Hot Air’s Allahpundit: “If Buttigieg runs for president again in 2060, he’d be younger than Bernie is now.”