We knew the South Carolina primary was Joe Biden’s last stand. However, we did not know it would alter the Democratic primary landscape is such profound ways.
Joe Biden won South Carolina in convincing fashion. He added 39 delegates to his tally while securing 48% of the vote.
The fallout was immediate.
On Sunday, one of Biden’s prime rivals, Pete Buttigieg, bailed out of the race. That was surprising. Credit to Buttigieg’s advisors who did the math and realized that Super Tuesday would not be kind to the Mayor from South Bend, Indiana.
On Monday, another potential Biden vote siphoner — Amy Klobuchar — hastily exited the race.
Given that both Buttigieg and Klobuchar leaned closer to the more moderate establishment side of the party than the Bernie Sanders socialist sector, both dropouts must’ve been music to Joe Biden’s ears.
Biden saw his 2020 Presidential election odds improve drastically since winning South Carolina. He’s pulled ahead at most betting sites with odds at around +300.
Credit to Jimmy Vaccaro at the South Point for nailing Biden’s chances a week ago better than the overseas books where betting on politics is legal.
Shift in 2020 Presidential election odds
With Buttigieg and Klobuchar out, Biden again is the main beneficiary. Elizabeth Warren, who yes, is still in the race, is now an impossibly long +10000 to be the next US President.
Donald Trump continues to hold steady as the 2020 favorite. He’s now priced at -150.
While Trump has proven to be totally Teflon, if you think that somehow, someway one of these scandals will eventually get him removed from office before the election — Mike Pence at +15000 might be worth a flier.
|Joe Biden (D)||-225||-225|
|Donald Trump (R)||+188||+150|
|Kamala Harris (D)||N/A||+10000|
|Mike Pence (R)||N/A||+20000|
The next shift in election odds will come Tuesday, March 3. Super Tuesday has 14 primaries (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Vermont). If you’re a true political junkie, American Samoa also holds its caucus.
A total of 1,357 delegates will be up for grabs. That’s easily the most of any date on the primary/caucus calendar–totaling almost 40% of all delegates available.
It’s partly why Michael Bloomberg entirely focused his entrance strategy on Super Tuesday. It was a flawed strategy from the get-go. If Rudy Giuliani’s tragically inept 2008 campaign taught us anything, it was that the early states matter. While Biden is bucking conventional wisdom by performing poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire and then going on a likely run — at least he didn’t flat out ignore those states. By doing so, Bloomberg kept himself out of the conversation and media spotlight. He’s not favored to win any Super Tuesday state.
Joe Biden is though. The former Veep is likely to win 7 of the 14. Sanders will likely win the other 7. Each will claim victory with one major prize (Sanders will get California, and Biden will get Texas).
So they may end up more or less chopping those 1,357 delegates. A Democratic candidate needs 1,991 to earn his/her party nomination.
And that’s where things get sticky.
All of those numbers add up to a likely contested convention this summer. FiveThirtyEight views that as the likely outcome now — at a whopping 65% chance.
In the best possible Cliff Notes’ terms, a contested convention happens when no candidate has the required number of the delegates to secure the outright nomination. The last contested or brokered election (for both parties) happened in 1952. So it’s not common!
If the convention is contested, it gets really complicated. You’ll hear a lot about “super delegates” and their potential role in swinging the nomination. The most important thing to know though is this: if the convention is contested and it’s between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, expect the “establishment” candidate to prevail.
Biden has more traditional Democratic party support. He’ll likely get Barack Obama’s endorsement after Super Tuesday. And somehow against all logic and reason just one month ago, he’ll be in the driver’s seat to secure the nomination. While it’s unlikely he’d defeat Donald Trump, as 2016 showed, anything can happen.