The two are neck and neck, but the Michigan Primary and a debate in Phoenix are fast approaching.
Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren have all dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination. All within five days of each other. Everyone but Warren has now endorsed Joe Biden. Warren, having just suspended her campaign on Thursday, has not endorsed anyone yet. The moderates coalesced behind Biden just two days before Super Tuesday, while Warren waited until two days after the 14 primaries to officially end her bid. The decision was understandable after finishing third in her home state of Massachusetts and fourth in her birthplace in Oklahoma. This consolidation has pros and cons for both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
With the math still close and with delegates left to allocate from Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders is not as far behind as the media narrative insists. It is likely that fewer than 70 delegates separate the two with over 3,000 left to be contested the remaining primaries means, barring some unprecedented breakaway from Biden, a long primary will likely ensue.
This consolidation could be a benefit for Biden, as the endorsements of the three other moderates stands to gain him potential new voters across the country. However, this could also be a disaster for Biden, as he now has to debate Sanders one-on-one in the CNN/Univision debate in Phoenix on March 15. This means Biden is going to have to, you know, talk more. Biden has said some odd things on the campaign trail. The Declaration of Independence mishap, the sister-wife thing, Corn Pop, etc. Joe Biden is a walking, talking gaffe machine, and the strategy of limiting his talking up to now has done him a lot of good.
All of these candidates dropping out can only be good for Sanders if he gets a Warren endorsement in the near future. Given that they’re both progressives with the same policy goals in mind, it’s possible that this happens. However, she could also remain silent until a winner has clearly been chosen from the primaries. This would be a disaster for Sanders, as it would mean his only endorsement from a former candidate would be none other than Marianne Williamson. The others will have figuratively cast him out to sea. However, a one-on-one debate with Biden is an opportunity to shine a light on Biden’s spotty record on trade, gay rights and the Iraq War.
Before the next debate, however, the next set of possibly decisive primaries are this Tuesday, with all eyes on Michigan. Michigan presents an opportunity for Biden to cement a sizable lead or for Sanders to begin his charge to the nomination. It also provides a litmus test on who swing state voters can trust. Voters seemingly have an easier task when arriving at the polls, since their choices have gone down from six to two.