The Green Papers
The Green Papers

The Palmetto State now sets things up for 'Super Tuesday'

Fri 28 Feb 2020

Nevada's Democratic Party caucuses, as things turned out, were indeed not at all determinative as regards the eventual Democratic Party nomination for President: Senator Bernie Sanders, as expected, won handily (although, yes, it was something of a surprise just how well he did among, in particular, Latino voters). Meanwhile, former Vice-President Joe Biden got the proverbial "monkey off his back" (as regards his finish in these early local caucuses and Presidential Primaries) by coming in (an albeit distant) second; while Mayor Pete Buttigieg did what I said he had to at the least do in order to remain potentially competitive- not so much as regards South Carolina's Presidential Primary this Saturday, but more in relation to that "buzzsaw" that will be 'Super Tuesday' three days thereafter- by coming in third in the Silver State.

In fact, all three of the above presidential contenders won National Convention delegates out of Nevada (although, of course, Sanders won the lion's share [2/3 of the 36 delegates up for grabs: with Biden and Buttigieg splitting the remaining 12 three to one]). However, the Silver State's caucuses were but a part (4/10ths actually, delegate-wise) of what I have already described as, more or less, a "Second Ballot" (Iowa and New Hampshire already having been the first) of what is, essentially, a running "brokered Convention" throughout the Primary/Caucus "season" during which the voters are themselves the "brokers" ultimately determining the Party's presidential nominee.

Thus, it is on to South Carolina for what will, in effect, be a rather interesting showdown between the aforementioned three currently leading the total Delegate Count going in.

As for the two women among the leading candidates in the race, Senator Amy Klobuchar seemed the biggest loser of all in the Nevada caucuses: for, with her 5th place showing (in the Popular Vote: she actually finished 6th- behind even Tom Steyer- in Delegates to this April's County Conventions), she had reverted to an Iowa-like poor showing, after her having done so well in New Hampshire thereafter; and the Palmetto State is highly unlikely to give her the same "comeback" she had gotten out of the Granite State. Indeed, as she spoke in Minneapolis the evening of the Nevada caucuses (as more and more results trickled in), I at first thought- based on her own tone and timbre- she might well have been announcing her withdrawal from the race (or at least a suspension of her campaign); it turns out I was not alone (as well as not the only one who was wrong), and her performance in last Tuesday night's debate in Charleston, South Carolina certainly illustrates that she has not yet given up the fight...

yet- if only for now- it seems quite probable that, absent a miraculous showing in many a jurisdiction (including her own home State of Minnesota) come 'Super Tuesday', Senator Klobuchar may well be forced out of the running sometime late next week. In the main, then, South Carolina itself is likely not to have any real impact, one way or the other, on Klobuchar's future as a candidate (unless she, and her campaign, see the "handwriting on the wall" within the South Carolina results and "pack it in" sooner).

As for Senator Elizabeth Warren, she- while speaking in Seattle that same (last Saturday) evening- thanked Nevada "for keeping me in the race", but it was unclear whether she was here referring to her showing in the Nevada caucuses themselves (4th place: not particularly good) or, rather, to her fiery performance in the debate in Las Vegas the previous Wednesday (which allowed her to raise a significant amount of campaign cash in its wake).

The main focus in South Carolina this coming Saturday will, therefore, be on Joe Biden: much as Nevada was about 'How did Mayor Pete do?', the Palmetto State will be about 'How did the ex-Veep do?'. And it appears, more and more, as if Biden will have to win South Carolina outright: not only because he has consistently said he would do so (and not doing so thereby becomes far more of a problem for his campaign), but also because he really needs the largest chunk of South Carolina's delegates in order to better position himself to potentially close the gap in overall Delegate Count between himself and Bernie Sanders going into, let alone through, 'Super Tuesday'.

Senator Sanders, on the other hand, really cannot much better his own position in South Carolina: so long as he doesn't finish behind the others already mentioned herein (something the polling data, as of this typing, suggests as being highly unlikely); even were he to come in third, say, he will still have a significant overall delegate lead once the dust settles in the Palmetto State. It is pretty much the same with Elizabeth Warren, albeit for different reasons: for it really doesn't much matter how she does in South Carolina either (so long as she finishes at least ahead of Amy Klobuchar).

Pete Buttigieg, on the other hand, has to at least come in third again (as he did in Nevada) to best position himself going into 'Super Tuesday', but South Carolina is potentially even more difficult political/electoral terrain for him than was the Silver State last weekend. And then there's Tom Steyer who seems to be trying his most earnest to cut into Vice-President Biden's support within the African-American community (some 60 percent of South Carolina's Democratic Party electorate): how well, or not, Steyer does in the Palmetto State may have a lot more than any other presidential contender's campaign to say about Biden's own fate as a 2020 presidential contender going forward.

And then, again, we still have former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg waiting in the wings for the "Third Ballot" (that is: 'Super Tuesday') yet to come...

like I said above, 'Super Tuesday' March 3rd will be a "buzzsaw"!

Modified .