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Super Tuesday round-up: Biden surges, Sanders takes the top prize & Bloomberg quits as complaints of ‘voter suppression’ mount

Super Tuesday round-up: Biden surges, Sanders takes the top prize & Bloomberg quits as complaints of ‘voter suppression’ mount
The stage looks set for a drawn-out Democratic contest between an establishment centrist and a socialist agitator, after Super Tuesday voting saw Joe Biden sweep the south while Bernie Sanders claimed the top prize in California.

The biggest voting day in the Democrats’ primary calendar, Super Tuesday brings in vote tallies from 14 states, as well as from American Samoa, and has a major impact on shaping the race to nab the party nomination. 

So, what happened and what does it all mean?

Biden’s (finally) in the game

After a poor showing in early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, former VP Joe Biden’s campaign had been on life support until his South Carolina primary win last week. That victory finally offered him the ‘Joe-mentum’ he needed heading into Super Tuesday – and it certainly seems to have made an impact.

There was more at work than just a handy win in the Palmetto State to set Biden up for Tuesday’s success, however. 

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On the eve of the big day, two fellow moderates, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, dropped out of the race and threw their support (and voters) behind Biden. Meanwhile, semi-progressive Elizabeth Warren, who holds little chance of securing the nomination, stayed in the race in what Sanders’ voters felt looked suspiciously like a party effort to split the progressive vote and damage the democratic socialist. By Wednesday morning, Warren was reportedly "talking to her team" about whether or not to continue on in the race.

The slew of new endorsements reportedly came at the urging of former president Barack Obama who was the “quiet hand” behind the rapidly moving effort by centrist Democrats to coalesce around their man Biden. He also picked up endorsements from the likes of former FBI director James Comey and ex-CIA chief John Brennan, as well as former national security adviser Susan Rice and former UN Ambassador Samantha Power.

Revived by the wave of establishment approval, Biden took Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, shooting him into first place in the ever-changing and all-important delegate count. He also racked up surprise victories in Minnesota and Massachusetts and is expected to win in Maine, too, though the final tally has not yet been announced.

Sanders secures top prize California

With Biden riding high on a sudden spurt of voter enthusiasm, Sanders missed his opportunity to secure a large lead in the delegate count. Instead of locking in a lead for the Vermont senator, Super Tuesday turned the Democratic contest into a two-man race – and a close one, at that.

Lower than hoped-for turnout by young voters in the southern states, who often favor Sanders, also seems to have hurt his campaign.

Still, as expected, Sanders managed to capture the night’s top prize, winning easily in California. He also pulled off victories in his home state of Vermont, as well as in Colorado and Utah, keeping him very much in the game.

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Bloomberg’s millions go to waste

It was another bad night for former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars of his own cash to buy himself a place in the race. Yet, despite spending a whopping $500 million on ads, the idea of Bloomberg as president never took off with voters.

His disastrous showing on Super Tuesday was likely no surprise to anyone who witnessed his dismal debate performances, which saw him clobbered by other candidates. Bloomberg did manage to pull off a win in the US territory of American Samoa, however, earning five of six delegates on offer there. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took the remaining delegate in her birthplace.

Ultimately, Bloomberg’s strategy of pumping money into his campaign and skipping the contests in the early voting states did not pay off. With seemingly no way for him to bounce back (having never really bounced forward in the first place), Bloomberg threw in the towel and dropped out of the race on Wednesday morning, endorsing Biden as he went.

Voter suppression

Amidst all the celebrations and commiserations for candidates as exit poll numbers began to trickle in, it was another story entirely for voters, some of whom found themselves waiting as long as seven hours to cast their ballots.

Social media was awash with complaints of “voter suppression” as voters, particularly minorities, complained of broken voting machines and insufficient staff at polling stations. Voters were still casting ballots six hours after the polls closed at Texas Southern University in Houston, the Texas Tribune reported.

The idea that minority voters are victims of voter suppression efforts is not new.

An analysis published by the Guardian on Tuesday found that 750 polling stations have been closed in Texas since 2012 – most in areas where black and Latino populations are growing fastest.

In California on Tuesday, Sanders’ campaign filed an emergency injunction to keep polls open as long lines remained as the closing hour of 8pm approached.

Also on rt.com Mike Bloomberg drops out of presidential race after disappointing Super Tuesday, endorses Joe Biden

From here on out

Now that Super Tuesday is in the rearview mirror, the race looks set to become a whole lot dirtier as Biden and Sanders battle it out to become the Democratic nominee to challenge Donald Trump for the White House in November.

With the weight of almost the entire Democratic and liberal media establishment behind Biden, it seems Sanders will need to step up his attacks on the former VP if he wants to convince more Americans that a Clinton-style Democrat is not best placed to beat Trump.

Ultimately, the race going forward between Sanders and Biden won’t be one based on personality, as was the case between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008 – but will be one based primarily on ideology, as Biden sticks to the centrist creed, while Sanders rallies his troops for socialist revolution.

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