Guy Farmer: Joe Biden from also-ran to front-runner
In a remarkable Super Tuesday turnaround, 77-year-old, gaffe-prone former Vice President Joe Biden defied the odds and emerged as the Democrats’ most likely candidate to face a 73-year-old egomaniac, President Donald Trump, in November’s nationwide presidential election. The Democratic establishment finally coalesced around Biden as their last, best chance to defeat Trump.
Before I engage in any analysis, a confession: I underestimated Biden and overestimated former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg in last Saturday’s column. Billionaire Bloomberg, who failed to attract enough Super Tuesday voters despite spending more than $500 million on his campaign, dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden on Wednesday morning. He joined two other also-rans, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (my candidate), who dropped out and endorsed Biden on the eve of Super Tuesday.
Bloomberg will now contribute hundreds of millions of dollars – indirectly, of course – to Biden’s campaign in a continuing effort to achieve his primary objective: defeating fellow New Yorker Trump. I’ve enjoyed their “I’m richer than you” battle during the campaign. They despise each other.
Biden won 10 states on Super Tuesday: Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. An endorsement from former Texas Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, a 47-year-old fake Hispanic skateboarder, probably helped him win Texas.
Biden’s chief rival, 78-year-old “democratic socialist” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, won his home state along with populous California (narrowly), Colorado and Utah. And we remember that Sanders won the Nevada caucuses last month. As of Thursday, Biden had 605 and Sanders had 538 of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination. With so-called “super delegates,” it now appears likely that Biden will have enough delegates to win a first ballot nomination at the party’s convention in Milwaukee in mid-July.
The irascible Sanders, who believes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “stole” the 2016 presidential nomination from him, may have a similar experience this year as mainstream Democrats come together to deny their presidential nomination to a lifelong socialist who admires Cuba and believes the government should control everything from healthcare to higher education. The conservative Wall Street Journal called his Super Tuesday loss a setback for socialism, which it was.
Besides Bloomberg, who won the American Samoa primary (woo hoo), the biggest Super Tuesday loser was Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor and fake Native American who quit the race on Thursday after finishing third in her home state. By the way, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (yes, she’s still in the race), who was born in American Samoa, finished second there.
African-American voters turned out for Biden in large numbers on Super Tuesday, as they did last Saturday in South Carolina following an impassioned endorsement from Congressman Jim Clyburn, a Democratic kingmaker in the South. “We know Joe and Joe knows us,” Clyburn said, as crowds went wild.
If Biden wins the Democratic presidential nomination in July, as expected, Sanders and his wild-eyed, mostly young band of would-be socialists – most of whom can’t define socialism – will go berserk all over again, as they did four years ago. Sanders basically declared war on Biden in a fiery speech after polls closed on Super Tuesday.
“You cannot beat Trump with the same-old, same-old type of politics,” Sanders told supporters as he called for a revolution against “the establishment.” I think that includes those of us who pay federal income taxes. After all, someone has to pay for all that “free” stuff.
One final question: Can shaky old Joe Biden go the distance? I hope so.
Retired diplomat Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.