Biden as the Obi Wan Kenobi of 2020

The former Vice President must maintain significant energy and build up heading into Super Tuesday

Publisher’s Riff

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Without putting too much colorful commentary on it, Joe Biden won big in South Carolina Saturday night. Big in a way that defied even many of the most optimistic forecasts of his performance in the Palmetto State. Indeed, South Carolina shows Biden embracing his status as a perpetual underdog in a crowded field - perhaps channeling some scrappy Philly metro energy - the most underestimated and the most underfunded. Some other key takeaways …

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  • Even with a crowded field, Biden crushed Bernie Sanders by nearly 30 percentage points. He did so with Black voters and voters age 45+, more than likely a sign of things to come on Super Tuesday on March 3rd.

  • Sanders continues to keep hitting age and race ceilings, the signs of which were more visible in the first three states than most folks are willing to admit.

  • The Black electorate in South Carolina proudly showed, and reminded the nation, just how powerful the Black electorate can be in a major election.

  • The massive Black voter turnout favoring Biden also suggests that Black voters in the South, especially, are not messing around: they are the voters who either lived through Jim Crow or who have parents and grandparents who lived through brutal Jim Crow. They, of all Black communities throughout the U.S., understand how high the stakes are.

  • Turnout was more than 523,000 voters - nearly matching the more than 532,000 voters in the 2008 South Carolina primary and far exceeding the 371,000 voters in the 2016 South Carolina primary.

  • Money, so far, doesn’t seem to matter so much in 2020. Biden won on pure old school politicking, name brand and political relationships. Tom Steyer dropped more than 20 percent of his total primary spend - $22 million alone in South Carolina - and ended up dropping out tonight. But, we’ll see what happens on Super Tuesday after a ridiculous $400 million spend by Mike Bloomberg. So, yes, Biden needs to pick up on his fundraising to support fresh infrastructure heading into Super Tuesday and beyond, but it’s secondary to his ability to show authenticity and credibility.

  • Even after Bernie Sanders pivoted out of Nevada after winning the caucus to put more resources into South Carolina, he did not close the enormous distance between himself and Joe Biden.

  • After South Carolina, the 2020 Democratic presidential primary is now a two-person race: Biden vs. Sanders.

From this point forward, Biden needs to run his campaign with the same energy, raw passion and hopeful tone found in his South Carolina victory speech tonight. This is not just about Biden “having his back to the wall” in the context of this primary. Biden must continue to show teary-eyed urgency about the state of things, stressing to voters how much the country faces a real existential threat and that he is the most equipped and experienced to save it. He needs to portray himself, using Star Wars analogies here, as the nation’s Obi Wan Kenobi: the old, seasoned Jedi fighter who is pulled out of self-exile, who dusts of Tatooine sand, and is the only “hope” to save a tattered, disorganized Rebel Alliance from the Death Star. Run on that in direct contrast to Sanders, the “Democratic” candidate who is constantly being highlighted by President Trump and Republicans as their preferred candidate.

Super Tuesday

Now it’s time to focus on 15 states on Tuesday, March 3rd. Here are those states:

Super Tuesday may very well underscore a two-man race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, despite a massive advertising flood engineered by Mike Bloomberg. It’s very conceivable Biden will win these 7 states:

  • Alabama

  • Arkansas

  • North Carolina

  • Oklahoma

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Virginia

Biden will dominate these 7 states where Black voters account for anywhere from 14 percent to 54 percent of the electorate based on 2016 exit polling data. Super Tuesday will very much be a South vs. West battle map.

Biden Wins Texas? Really?

Yes, we said Texas. While recent polling, such as a CNN poll, shows Sanders with a comfortable lead in Texas, prognosticators may be prematurely diminishing the influence and turnout of Black voters teamed up with some Latino voters plus voters age 45+. Keep in mind that in three out of the first four contests of the Democratic presidential primary, Biden won over voters 45+ years of age.

Iowa

New Hampshire

Nevada

South Carolina

In each case, these represent 55 percent or more of the electorate in those states. This should worry the Sanders campaign which is heavily reliant on voter turnout from Millenials and first time Generation Z. This is what Texas looked like in 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. As we see, Clinton maintained an enormous edge with voters 45+ years of age and older, who constituted nearly 60 percent of the overall electorate and a combined Black and Brown vote constituting 51 percent of the overall electorate …

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