Through a series of articles we call The State, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Advocacy and Political Affairs team is providing analysis related to "the state of" various aspects of the 2020 campaign season, including the race for the White House and key elections around the country.
Super Tuesday proved “super” indeed for former Vice President Joe Biden, who rode the momentum of a landslide victory in South Carolina last weekend to take the lead in the delegate count with wins in several states.
Biden's campaign was essentially broke and many in the punditry declared him all but dead until he won South Carolina and the earned media that followed. The endorsements from the Democratic candidates who dropped out of the race after the South Carolina primary and the votes of Americans who wanted electability over reform and perceived instability also provided a big boost.
As highlighted by his victories in the Deep South, mid-Atlantic, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas, Biden’s Super Tuesday revival was built on strong support from African Americans as well as a consolidation of white, establishment Democrats who rallied around the former vice president. Additionally, rural voters played a significant role in Biden’s victories.
Axios politics editor Margaret Talev writes that “this may not be over for a while. Sanders' enduring appeal to younger voters, Latinos and progressives foreshadows a long fight.” Sanders performed better in Western states than anywhere else outside his home state of Vermont.
The demographic and geographic battle in the Democratic primaries may be one of the most intriguing to watch. Exit polls showed Biden winning large percentages of the African-American vote in Alabama (70%), North Carolina (56%), Texas (50%) and Virginia (66%). Whereas, Sanders carried the larger percentage of Latino and Hispanic voters in California (46%), Colorado (42%) and Texas (39%).
How these two important demographic groups vote in the remaining states will determine the Democratic nominee for president.
With Democrats heading to the polls in 10 more states in the next few weeks, the race for the Democratic nomination continues, but Super Tuesday certainly narrowed the field down to two viable options: the progressive reforms of Sanders or the electability of Biden and his coalition of traditional Democratic groups.
Cody Lyon is managing director of advocacy & political affairs at the American Farm Bureau Federation.