What Did Just Happen Last Week in the Democratic Primary?

Dr. Louis Perron
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The last week has fundamentally altered the race for the nomination of the Democratic Party. What did just happen? The establishment of the Democratic Party rallied behind Joe Biden and stroke back. Indeed, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race even before Super Tuesday and endorsed the former Vice President, Michael Bloomberg did so the day after. And even Kamela Harris has now endorsed Biden. The stunning thing for me is not the fact that this happened, but how fast it happened.

The race for the nomination of the Democratic Party is now basically a fight between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. It takes 1’991 delegate votes to win the nomination on the first ballot. At the time of writing, Biden has 664 delegates while has Sanders obtained 573.

Looking ahead to the next weeks, it is important to keep in mind that Democrats allocate their delegates proportionally. This has two important consequences: One, it might take a long time for a candidate to reach the needed 1’991 pledged delegates. And second, once a candidate has a lead, it is difficult to overcome that lead absent a collapse of the frontrunner. Sanders must now make up a residue of 91 delegates. This is not insurmountable, but quite a challenge. This coming Tuesday, there will be primary elections in Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Michigan, Idaho and Washington. The important thing to watch out for is not who wins a state and not even how much percent of the vote a candidate gets. The most important number to watch is the net advantage either candidate has over the other one in terms of delegates in each state.

In the meantime, Donald Trump is trying to get as much media attention as possible. He’s not just leaving the oxygen to the Democrats. He’s holding rallies in the states where the Democrats hold their primaries, and last week, he also held a town hall on FOX News (which, by the way, took place in Joe Biden’s home town). It was apparently watched by 4.2 million viewers, a new record for a town hall in cable news history.

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