Biden Sweeps Florida, Illinois, and Arizona

It's time to end this thing.

Joe Biden, already the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination, has defeated his longshot rival, Bernie Sanders, in another round of primaries.

NYT (“Biden Sweeps Three States and Takes Commanding Lead, as Virus Reshapes American Politics“):

Joseph R. Biden Jr. easily defeated Senator Bernie Sanders in three major primaries on Tuesday, all but extinguishing Mr. Sanders’s chances for a comeback, as anxious Americans turned out to vote amid a series of cascading disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Biden, the former vice president, won by wide margins in Florida and Illinois and also carried Arizona, sweeping the night and achieving a nearly insurmountable delegate lead. The emphatic outcome could greatly intensify pressure on Mr. Sanders to end his campaign and allow Democrats to unify behind Mr. Biden as their presumptive nominee.

The routs in Florida and Illinois, two of the biggest prizes on the national map, represented both a vote of confidence in Mr. Biden from most Democrats, and a blunt rejection of Mr. Sanders’s candidacy by the kind of large, diverse states he would have needed to capture to broaden his appeal beyond the ideological left.

As detailed further in the article, there were significant disruptions caused by measures to control the COVID-19 outbreak as well as an exceptionally low turnout. Ohio, which was supposed to vote yesterday, postponed their primary.

Last week, when I observed on Twitter that Sanders’ insistence on pressing on in a race he couldn’t win was forcing states to hold elections and expose people to the risk of infection, an interlocutor wondered if it wasn’t a calculation that only younger voters would risk voting. That seems cynical even for Sanders.

Regardless, it’s time to end this thing.

FILED UNDER: Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2020, Joe Biden
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Archway says:

    Being a pugnacious, grumpy old dude soldiering on against the odds might have been admirable for some people in a different context, but it’s now just plain annoying.

    You can’t win now, Senator. Stop forcing polls to open during a global pandemic. Let Team Biden turn their guns on the least qualified president in history, who’s trampling on the dignity of the office, get your Bernie Bros to join the team, and get out of the way Senator!

    15
  2. gVOR08 says:

    I think we should be grateful Biden even wants the job. Dems are used to picking up the mess after GOPs, but jeez. Obama only had to clean up a recession. He’d better pick a young, healthy veep.

    12
  3. gVOR08 says:

    FL just had our prez primary. The state level primary is in August, God and Guv DeSantis willing. The election Guv DeWine just cancelled in Ohio was a combined state and prez primary. (Which leaves me wondering if there’s something down ballot he thinks will improve for him with a delay.) I wonder how many of the pending primaries are prez only. States still have to hold state primaries if Bernie drops out.

    2
  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Sanders needs to drop out.
    Let’s cancel the rest of the primaries, and let’s get on with Job 1…eliminating the festering orange cancer in the Oval Office.

    1
  5. Kathy says:

    All that Bernie can hope now is for Biden to be magnanimous in victory.

    2
  6. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Off-topic: Trump pulled a 180 turn yesterday and announced that the Corona Virus 19 is a HUGE deal after all.

    What’s the over/under on him doing that so he could announce it’s too dangerous to hold elections this year?

    For me, I think it’s pretty much a guarantee.

    8
  7. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    What’s the over/under on him doing that so he could announce it’s too dangerous to hold elections this year?

    1) he prolly thought about that…
    2) it wouldn’t play out as most think.

    IF the election does not happen as required by the constitution, THEN there is no officially elected president, THEN the presidential order of succession goes to the Speaker of the House.

    15
  8. Kurtz says:

    @gVOR08:

    You’re stuck in this shithole too, huh?

  9. Teve says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: I don’t think he’s doing it to call off elections, I think he’s doing it because someone independently wealthy told him, “hey just to let you know, 1 million Americans are probably going to die from this. You can’t bullshit your way out of that.”

    2
  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    He probably got the idea from his pal Rudy Giuliani, who tried canceling the NYC mayoral elections after 9/11.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    @Kurtz:

    You’re stuck in this shithole too, huh?

    I kind of like it here. Better beaches than Ohio and no snow. On the other hand, it does feel like we’re surrounded by hillbillies. But a lot of the northern hillbillies will go home next month.

  12. Anonne says:

    Biden is going to lose in November.

  13. inhumans99 says:

    @Anonne:

    Maybe, maybe not…you assume facts not in evidence.

    Folks, i used the saying correctly, yes?

    6
  14. R.Dave says:

    James Joyner wrote: “an interlocutor wondered if it wasn’t a calculation that only younger voters would risk voting. That seems cynical even for Sanders.”

    Here’s an even more cynical possibility – Sanders might stay in the race so he’d (literally) be the last candidate standing if Biden gets COVID-19 and becomes seriously ill (or God forbid, dies) before the convention. To be honest, I’m guessing some of the younger candidates who already dropped out are thinking the same thing and quietly laying the groundwork for a contested convention if that happens (or, even more crazy to think about, if both Sanders and Biden get sick).

    In all seriousness – does anyone know what the Dem Party rules are for dealing with a situation in which the lead candidate dies before the convention or, even worse, the nominee dies between the convention and the election?

    1
  15. Kurtz says:

    @gVOR08:

    Are you in Northern Florida? East or West coast?

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @Kurtz: SW, near Venice. You?

  17. Kurtz says:

    @gVOR08:

    Ha! Bonita–a little South of you.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @R.Dave: I have worried a bit about candidate health. On the GOP side as well. OK, on the GOP side worry isn’t the right word. But even at Trump’s. or my, age, mortality is only like 5%.

    I wonder more about organizing an online convention on short notice. And how states will facilitate mail voting. I would not be surprised to see Red states continue to make voting difficult. No guarantee this is over by August, or November.

  19. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: My mom owns two vacation condos in Fort Myers and she’s lost $3000 in guests in the last week.

  20. PJ says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    1) he prolly thought about that…
    2) it wouldn’t play out as most think.

    IF the election does not happen as required by the constitution, THEN there is no officially elected president, THEN the presidential order of succession goes to the Speaker of the House.

    Problem is, her term is up too.

    Who is third? The president pro tempore of the United States Senate.

    Chuck Grassley…

    2
  21. Teve says:

    @Anonne: I mean, I assume he’s going to have a better chance than the guy who got way fewer votes.

  22. JohnMcC says:

    Some of the exit polling is strongly pointing to the fact that Bernie ran a horrible campaign. In FL something like 65% to 35% said that Biden was more likely to protect social security.

    Someone I read this morning was saying that the “left” should do some serious soul-searching when it comes to selling their ideas.

    2
  23. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Sanders needs to drop out.

    It is SO hard to give up a dream.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @inhumans99: Seeing as he cited no facts what so ever, it’s hard to say whether he was basing his opinion on anything other than trump farts.

    3
  25. Teve says:

    @JohnMcC: I’ve been telling friends all morning: If you like Sanders’s policies, you need to do a better job of persuading other people, and also find out why African Americans voted 3 to 1 for Biden. Consider the possibility that Bernie was not a good candidate.

    7
  26. Mister Bluster says:

    @Anonne:..Biden is going to lose in November.
    Now you are predicting the future. Please be more specific.
    First you must tell us who Biden’s running mate will be. Then say which states will be carried by the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate. You must post an exact tally of Electoral College Candidates.
    Otherwise you are just guessing.

    4
  27. Radu says:

    @PJ:
    “Problem is, her [Pelosi’s] term is up too.”

    Elections are run by states. Some states like California encourage voting by mail. Pelosi can get re-elected.

    What if half the states vote by mail and half don’t? Republicans have been particularly opposed to making it easy to vote by mail, remains to be seen if they will change their mind.

    1
  28. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: Another quibble. My FL prez only D primary ballot has like 20 or 30 names on it. Biden and Sanders of course, a list of people who’d dropped out, Tulsi Gabbard, and at least a dozen people no one ever heard of. I expect other states have similar ballots. Even if a state’s primary is prez only, if Bernie dropped out aren’t they still required to hold the primary unless Tulsi and the rest of the dregs all agree to withdraw? Primaries are run by the state election officials, does the D Party have a voice in cancelling?

  29. An Interested Party says:

    Biden is going to lose in November.

    Why and how?

  30. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    Yeah, I mean you and I are in the same boat with Warren, right?

    I looked at the cross-tabs of several polls, and the most resistance to Sanders came from moderate Dems, not conservative Dems.

    Even looking at Republicans, Sanders drew favorable ratings from a decent section of them. My guess is that there are quite a few rural Whites who would vote for him.

    Of course, I didn’t do a broad survey, but the polls I looked at were pretty consistent in this regard.

    As far as “bad candidate.” Maybe. But I’m not really sure what that means outside of “electability.” But that concept is nebulous–only some candidates get tested for electability every four years.

    Really, the definition of electability is: whatever the largest group of the respective parties says it is during the primary process. And one of them is, to some extent, guaranteed to be ‘wrong’ about it.

    That last sentence is important, because we don’t know what would have happened if it was Clinton vs. McCain in 2008 or Sanders vs. Trump in 2016 no more than we know whether the Saints would have beaten the Patriots if the refs had called DPI two weeks before the Super Bowl.

    In the end, we can say with high confidence that some candidates are just bad, say Gabbard or Herman Cain.

    But Biden? Well, he was a potentially good candidate in 1988, but he was not a good candidate in 2008.

    He’s suddenly better now? I don’t know. Maybe he beats HW in ’88, but we will never know. However, if we stuck to the notion of bad candidate because of his primary performance in 2008, he wouldn’t be the nominee this year.

    Further, if we had listened to the electability crows in 2008, Obama wouldn’t have been the nominee.

    To bring it back to Sanders, look at the discussion of Sanders on this board–Michael isn’t even really a moderate in domestic policy, but he isn’t persuadable about Sanders in any real sense. He would never choose Sanders on a primary ballot based largely on his perception of electability. But his concerns will never be tested.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    Even looking at Republicans, Sanders drew favorable ratings from a decent section of them. My guess is that there are quite a few rural Whites who would vote for him.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but these primary results have shown that quite a few rural whites voted for Biden…

    But Biden? Well, he was a potentially good candidate in 1988, but he was not a good candidate in 2008.

    He’s suddenly better now? I don’t know. Maybe he beats HW in ’88, but we will never know. However, if we stuck to the notion of bad candidate because of his primary performance in 2008, he wouldn’t be the nominee this year.

    Time and events change things…in 2008 Biden wasn’t yet the vice-president to Barack Obama…so, in some ways, some people would say he is better now…

    Further, if we had listened to the electability crows in 2008, Obama wouldn’t have been the nominee.

    Except during the primary season Obama did much better than Sanders has done in either of his runs…yes, people were skeptical of Obama, until he actually won…much like what has happened with Biden this year…

    In the end, I am with you and Teve…I still think Warren would be the best president of all of these candidates, but we don’t have that choice anymore…pragmatically speaking, obviously most primary voters think Biden is a better candidate to beat Trump than Bernie…certainly we shall see if that is true in November…

    1
  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: Long time Warren contributor here who voted for Biden. For me, voting for Joe over Bernie wasn’t about policy, it wasn’t about electability, it was always about ability to accomplish anything Bernie promised, which I felt was nonexistent. He has always gone his own way, which is fine if you like going your own way and standing on principle. But as president, if you want to get something done you need to work with a party, you need to contribute to a party, you need to make uncomfortable votes for the good of the party.

    Bernie has never done a damn thing for the DEM party. Why would the DEM party do a damn thing for him? Like vote for a Bernie policy their constituents don’t like?

    I’ve known more than a few folks who took the lonely stand for principle, even admired some of them, but if I needed help with something where one had to work with a group of folks who didn’t all see things exactly the same way?

    Ummm, No. Ain’t gonna call on them. Somebody like Joe? Every time.

    ETA: boy that was badly written, hope my ETA helps. been a long day, I shouldn’t comment.

    2
  33. gVOR08 says:

    NYT tells me Bill Weld just withdrew from the Republican primaries. Show of hands, who knew he was still in?

    1
  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party: According to the voters, Biden IS a better candidate than any other DEM. Even if I still think Liz is head and shoulders above the rest, she did not get the votes, which means she is NOT the better candidate.

    Sorry to say.

  35. An Interested Party says:

    Bernie has never done a damn thing for the DEM party. Why would the DEM party do a damn thing for him?

    He was never even a Democrat…the Democratic Party owes him nothing…just because the GOP was taken over by an outsider doesn’t mean that the Democrats should allow the same thing to happen to their party…

    @OzarkHillbilly: I agree…I think she would have made a better president, but her missteps showed that she was not the better candidate…

  36. Kurtz says:

    @An Interested Party:

    You’re missing what I’m saying.

    My points are:

    -assessing Sanders as a “bad candidate” is flawed because the primary process doesn’t guarantee the best potential candidate wins.
    Moreover, the general doesn’t provide clarity, because we cannot replay it with different candidates.

    -Biden is a good candidate, but it is hard to imagine that he is substantially better this year, at his age, than he was 12 or 32 years ago. But specifically, using the primary process to assess the quality of a candidate for Sanders requires one to also question Biden’s quality via the same process, given his history as a candidate.

    -White, rural voters certainly voted for Biden, but that is irrelevant to whether they would vote for Sanders in the general if he were the nominee. I didn’t make the claim that you answered.

    -Reynolds may be correct in his criticism of Sanders. Ozark may be as well. But to argue that they are absolutely correct is just not credible.

    -Finally, blaming Sanders or his supporters for not being persuasive enough is a little weird given that Reynolds (and most moderate Dems) were not willing to even consider Sanders as a viable choice. But that is more a result of perceived electability, which suffers from the epistemic problem described above.

    Please note that I am not arguing Biden vs. Sanders. I am arguing that Teve’s assessment is lacking in a few areas.

    1
  37. Kari Q says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Agree. I might have been willing to vote for Sanders if he hadn’t spent so much time battling the exact people whose help he would need if he were president. Attacking the “Democratic establishment” is fine, if you’re an iconoclastic Senator. If you’re trying to be elected president as a Democrat it’s guaranteed to make you less likely to win and your job as president impossible should you actually get elected.

  38. An Interested Party says:

    -assessing Sanders as a “bad candidate” is flawed because the primary process doesn’t guarantee the best potential candidate wins.

    It is not flawed if one assesses Sanders as a bad candidate in the primaries…if he can’t win at this stage, it is easy to assume that he probably wouldn’t win in a general election…

    -Biden is a good candidate, but it is hard to imagine that he is substantially better this year, at his age, than he was 12 or 32 years ago. But specifically, using the primary process to assess the quality of a candidate for Sanders requires one to also question Biden’s quality via the same process, given his history as a candidate.

    In the end, Biden only has to be good enough to beat Trump…