Los Angeles Times - 04.03.2020

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crat against an independent
progressive who wants to
upend the party.
The results dealt a poten-
tially fatal blow to the cam-
paign of former New York
Mayor Michael R. Bloom-
berg, who will be under pres-
sure to abandon his cam-
paign after spending more
than $660 million to garner
just a handful of delegates.
In North Carolina, for ex-
ample, the billionaire candi-
date invested heavily. Biden
crushed him, cruising to an
easy victory and relegating
Bloomberg to a distant
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of
Massachusetts lost her
home state to Biden. Al-
though she has vowed to
continue her campaign, her
future seems limited.
The primaries over the
remainder of this month —
especially in big, delegate-
rich states including Michi-
gan, which votes next week,
and Ohio, Illinois, Georgia
and Florida — will test the
ability of both leading candi-
dates to reach beyond their
comfort zones.
So far, each has drawn
strength from different
swaths of the electorate.
Biden’s coalition of
blacks, older voters and sub-
urban moderates helped
him trounce Sanders across
the South.
Sanders’ coalition of
young people, Latinos and
urban voters boosted him in
the West. He won Colorado
and Utah and is projected to
win California, where the
vote count will continue late
into the month as officials
sort through millions of late-
arriving mail-in and provi-
sional ballots.
Texas, where the two
candidates’ coalitions are
both well represented,
proved to be a close
battleground: The two

seemed poised to split the
prize in that state, which has
the second-largest dele-
gation to the party’s nomi-
nating convention.
Biden’s performance on
Super Tuesday was a re-
markable demonstration of
how his breakthrough in
South Carolina and the en-
dorsements that followed
could compensate for glar-
ing weaknesses that con-
tributed to poor showings in
the first three states to vote.
He had a thinly staffed or-
ganization throughout Su-
per Tuesday states, anemic
fundraising and little adver-
tising, leading many ana-
lysts to question whether he
would have the resources to
capitalize on his South Car-
olina win.
In the end, none of that
mattered. Even without tra-
ditional campaign infra-
structure, Biden’s abrupt
change of fortune after
South Carolina had a big
impact on a Democratic
electorate that included
many late deciders — voters

who opposed Sanders’ poli-
cies or doubted he could
beat President Trump, but
who had a hard time decid-
ing on the best alternative.
In Virginia, for example,
preliminary exit polls found
that about half of voters
chose their candidate in the
last few days — a share that
was considerably larger
than typical. Half of these
voters chose Biden.
Similarly, in Massachu-
setts, half of the voters de-
cided in the last few days.
Among them, Biden was
supported by more than 4 in
10 — more than any other
candidate, according to the
exit poll done for the major
television networks by Edi-
son Research.
One of the day’s late de-
ciders was Yolanda Lamp-
kin, a 62-year-old travel
agent in Alabama who was
still trying to pick a candi-
date when she parked at her
polling station.
She’d been considering
voting for Warren or Sand-
ers, she said, but had just

heard a radio ad in which Al-
abama Sen. Doug Jones
urged support for Biden as
the best candidate to beat
“OK,” she told herself.
“I’m going to go with Biden.”
One of the clearest exam-
ples of how late-deciding
voters could swing an elec-
tion came in Virginia. The
state allows only very limited
early voting, so Biden har-
vested the full impact of his
South Carolina victory and
the late endorsements of
two of the state’s most popu-
lar Democrats, Sen. Tim
Kaine and former Gov. Terry
Warren and Bloomberg
also made strong plays
for well-educated suburban
voters in the state, and as re-
cently as last week polls
found both of them poten-
tially competitive. But Bid-
en swept Virginia, taking
53% of the vote in nearly
complete returns, to 23% for
Sanders. Bloomberg and
Warren both ended up well
below the 15% threshold for

winning statewide delegates
Biden was helped by vot-
ers like Dwight Robinson, a
66-year-old retiree from
Herndon. He almost voted
for Sanders but worried the
Vermont senator wouldn’t
be able to beat Trump. In-
stead, he cast his ballot for
Biden, although he told a re-
porter that Biden needed to
“get the fire in his belly” to
win the general election.
The Super Tuesday re-
turns put to rest questions
about whether Biden’s big
win in South Carolina — and
his landslide among black
voters — was a one-shot tri-
umph thanks to his endorse-
ment by the influential
South Carolina party leader
Rep. James E. Clyburn, the
influential South Carolina
party leader.
Across the South, exit
polls found that about two-
thirds of African American
voters in Super Tuesday
states supported Biden,
compared with about one-
sixth who backed Sanders.
Exit polls also pointed to
the ideological division with-
in the party that will define
the coming debate between
Biden and Sanders: Just
over 4 in 10 voters said they
wanted the next president to
return to the policies of the
Obama era — a legacy that is
embraced by Biden; just
under 4 in 10 wanted more li-
beral policies, as Sanders
has advocated; 1 in 10 wanted
more conservative policies.
While Sanders has strug-
gled to gain traction among
black voters, Latinos have
become an important part
of his coalition, which is a big
part of why he had been ex-
pected to do well in Califor-
nia, Colorado and Texas.
Sanders won Colorado,
but three other candidates
— Biden, Warren and
Bloomberg — were also on
track to claim a share of the

state’s delegates.
In Texas, Biden drew
support from moderates like
Antonio Brinkley, 57, an ad-
ministrator who works with
at-risk youth, who doesn’t
like big government and op-
posed Sanders.
“He can bring in moder-
ates” and beat Trump,
Brinkley said of Biden.
Sanders tapped into
young voters like Erek John,
a University of Houston stu-
dent who thinks the prog-
ressive senator can drive
turnout among young and
minority voters.
“He has a way of galvaniz-
ing his base the way Trump
does that Biden just
doesn’t,” said John, 21.
Some analysts argue that
Sanders’ strong progressive
agenda could create a ceiling
on the support he can gar-
ner, while Biden may have
more room to grow among
independent and Republi-
can voters.
But as the exit polls on
Tuesday showed, both Bid-
en and Sanders have com-
plementary weak spots: Bid-
en excels among older vot-
ers, but flags among the
young; Sanders has strong
support among young vot-
ers, not so much among old-
er ones. And both will have
work to do to connect with
college-educated white wo-
men — a swath of voters that
may be up for grabs if War-
ren drops out of the race.
The coming contests will
be a test of whether either of
them can address their weak
spots and reach beyond
their bases to close the deal
on the nomination — and to
unite their party for the com-
ing battle against Trump.

Times staff writers Molly
Hennessey-Fiske in
Houston, Jenny Jarvie in
Birmingham, Ala., and Erin
Logan in Herndon, Va.,
contributed to this report.

Can Biden and Sanders expand coalitions?

[Analysis,from A1]

VOTERSserenaded by a mariachi band march to cast their ballots in Whittier.
Latinos, young people and urbanites gave Bernie Sanders a big boost in the West.

Kent NishimuraLos Angeles Times

whiplash yet? This race
looks nothing like it did a
week ago.
It is no longer Bernie
Sanders versus a muddled
mess of candidates in the
moderate middle. Joe Biden
emerged from Super Tues-
day as the clear counter-
weight to Sanders. And he
emerged strong.
Biden’s last-minute
surge dashed any hopes
Sanders held of gaining an
insurmountable lead toward
the nomination. Indeed, the
former vice president ap-
peared likely to clear more
delegates than Sanders
from Super Tuesday, the
longest of long shots a few
days ago.
Biden quickly notched
decisive victories across the
South: Alabama, Arkansas,
North Carolina, Tennessee
and Virginia. Then he took
Minnesota and Massachu-
setts, Sanders’ strongholds
where Biden hadn’t even
The Sanders victory in
California was undercut by
Biden’s sweep of so many
other states.
Biden was even edging
out Sanders in delegate-rich
Texas, the second-biggest
prize, arguably the biggest
surprise of the night.
So what are the top take-
aways from the 14 contests
on Super Tuesday, the big-
gest day on the Democrats’
primary calendar?

The establishment
strikes back
Biden looked like a goner
for much of February. He
got creamed in Iowa, was
creamed again in New
Hampshire, and hobbled
out of Nevada a distant
second. His vast lead in the
polls at the start of the race
evaporated. He looked tired
at events, overwhelmed on
the debate stage, and me-
andering in the field.
Then came his sweeping
victory Saturday in South
Carolina. And on Tuesday
he plowed through the
South thanks to over-
whelming support from
African American voters
and a big shift his way in
suburban voters who de-
cided at the last moment.
He won states where he was
barely on the radar last

What happened? The
establishment fell into line.
Big donors grabbed their
checkbooks. Democratic
heavyweights like former
Virginia Gov. Terry McAu-
liffe and former Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid
got off the sidelines and
endorsed. Voters who had
considered billionaire
Michael R. Bloomberg
moved to Biden en mass
But the race still has a
long way to go.
Will donors dig deep
enough to help Biden com-
pete with Sanders’ huge war
chest? Will the organiza-
tional chaos in the Biden
campaign ease now that the
establishment cavalry is
invested in boosting him
toward the nomination?
Will Biden finally stick to a
coherent message on the
campaign trail and stop
wandering into gaffes and
goofy non sequiturs?

Bernie Sanders
is hitting bumps
Sanders appeared on a

roll when the opposition
was splintered and aimless.
Now he faces a real fight.
And the bruises started to
show Tuesday.
Sanders won the big
prize of California, as well as
Colorado, Utah and his
home state of Vermont. But
he didn’t get the landslides
polling had suggested even
a few days ago. His drubbing
in the South showed he has
not overcome the weakness
he faced in 2016, when he
also struggled to appeal to
African Americans.
The Vermonter also
proved unexpectedly weak
in his own backyard, losing
Massachusetts and possibly
Maine to Biden, who had
invested almost no re-
sources in the region.
Yet with small donors
pouring millions of dollars
into the Sanders campaign,
the self-declared demo-
cratic socialist has built a
formidable machine. It is
still positioned to barrel
over any number of obsta-
cles — possibly including
the Democratic Party es-


Michael Bloomberg
didn’t get it done
Former New York Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg
spent more than half a
billion dollars and won ...
American Samoa.
The poor billionaires.
They have been beat up and
battered throughout this
contest. Usually by the left.
But Bloomberg is finding
the mainstream isn’t
thrilled to have him around
Bloomberg went from
establishment savior to
spoiler and now punch line.
His entire case for running
was built around Biden’s
weakness, not his stunning
comeback. Bloomberg
spent with abandon to
make the case that he was
the only moderate who
could best Sanders for the
nomination. Voters roundly
rejected him Tuesday.
Bloomberg’s case col-
lapsed once America saw
the candidate and not just
his ubiquitous ads. He face-

planted in his first debate.
He was less a disaster in the
second debate, but he did
little to reassure voters who
chiefly want someone who
can trounce Trump. Now,
voters have delivered their
verdict and Bloomberg is
under pressure to get out of
the way and clear a path for
Both men are in their
late 70s, have made voters
cringe while onstage, and
often seem out of step with
this generation’s electorate.
But Biden, who spent next
to nothing, will emerge from
Super Tuesday with a siz-
able bounty of delegates.
Bloomberg, who spent more
than any candidate in his-
tory, won but a smattering.
A month ago, with cen-
trists splintering the vote
and no clear challenge to
Sanders, the billionaire’s
timing looked impeccable.
Now he looks more like a

Elizabeth Warren
isn’t giving up — yet
The race looks increas-

ingly hopeless for Sen. Eliza-
beth Warren. The left has
largely coalesced around
Sanders. She has yet to win
a state. Her third-place
finish in Massachusetts was
humiliating. She has no
clear path to the nomina-
Will she push on?
As long as a contested
convention remains pos-
sible, the Warren campaign
insists she has a place in it.
So have some very wealthy
backers, who have pumped
millions into a super PAC
aimed at keeping her a
visible presence — notwith-
standing her earlier pledge
to disavow such outside
money during the primary.
Warren supporters argue
she still can rack up enough
delegates to play an influen-
tial role at the Democrats’
convention in Milwaukee —
or even emerge as a compro-
mise candidate.
Beyond that, they just
like having her voice in the
She is a fierce presence
on the debate stage. War-
ren’s broadsides arguably
sank Bloomberg in the
debates. She is an effective
champion for equal rights,
and makes a persuasive
case for big economic
change and expansive social
programs to audiences that
Sanders is not reaching.
But Super Tuesday was
brutal for Warren and may
have her looking toward the

This campaign
will get uglier
A lot happened on Super
Tuesday. But one thing that
did not happen was any
movement toward reconcili-
ation between the warring
wings of the party.
The ideological battle
lines have only hardened.
Sanders ticked off his litany
of grievances with Biden in
an angry, finger-wagging
election-night speech. Bid-
en has been unrestrained in
ripping into the democratic
socialist agenda that Sand-
ers is promoting.
Now that the nomination
battle has narrowed to these
two, all signs suggest it will
get more personal and more
Will they come together
once a nominee is chosen?
Perhaps. But the party risks
lasting damage when
Democrats are desperate
for unity against Trump.

Five takeaways from a dramatic day

By Evan Halper

JOE BIDENgreets supporters at the Baldwin Hills Recreation Center in Los Angeles. The former vice presi-
dent’s surge on Super Tuesday dashed any hopes Bernie Sanders held of gaining an insurmountable lead.

Robert GauthierLos Angeles Times
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