Analysis: If Joe Biden Doesn't Finish Strong in South Carolina's Primary, His Campaign Is Over

Analysis: If Joe Biden Doesn't Finish Strong in South Carolina's Primary, His Campaign Is Over
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Columbia, S.C., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

To a lot of political observers on both sides of the aisle, the writing has been on the wall for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign for quite some time.

It started towards the end of the summer last year as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was slowly but steadily chipping away at his frontrunner lead. At the same time, Biden’s campaign was being plagued with questions about his penchant for gaffes and whether or not his age and health should make voters reconsider their support for him.

Along with that were the Democratic calls for President Trump’s impeachment over the July phone call he had with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in which Joe Biden’s admitted role in the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor looking into alleged corruption at the energy company his son Hunter Biden just happened to be on the board of was briefly discussed.

Fast forward a few months later, and not much has changed. Biden is still a gaffe machine. The impeachment issue is still in the news, but primarily as it relates to how it backfired on Biden himself. Biden is still declining in the polls, except instead of losing ground to Warren, he’s losing it to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, and, surprisingly enough, to billionaire businessman Tom Steyer.

The South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, which takes place this Saturday, is now Biden’s firewall – which he admitted before he claimed he didn’t admit it, etc etc.

For a while, it looked like Biden would coast to an easy victory in South Carolina. Polls in late 2019 showed Biden easily besting his opponents there, and his support among black voters was seemingly untouchable.

But Biden’s support among black voters has dropped significantly. And Sanders has caught up with Biden in South Carolina, too. Steyer has come out of nowhere, also, and is proving to be a tougher competitor than the Biden campaign originally counted on, especially when it comes to support from black voters.

After Biden lost in Iowa and New Hampshire, he noted the eventual nominee would not be able to defeat President Trump without a diverse coalition of voters, which South Carolina has. But South Carolina Democrats have been trending towards Sanders as of late, and even if Biden squeaks out with a win it won’t be enough, considering the proportional delegate system.

So Biden has to finish with a strong, commanding lead in South Carolina Saturday, or his campaign for all intents and purposes will be over.

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