Commentary

NC helps winnow Democratic presidential field to two

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and his wife Mary Jane O’Meara (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaking at a recent campaign event. (Photo: Sean Rayford-Getty Images)

Political experts and analysts across the country expressed almost unanimous agreement after last night’s stunning comeback by former Vice President Joe Biden that the race for the Democratic nomination has now become a two-person race between Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

If that’s so, North Carolina played a leading role in the drama by handing Biden a surprising 19 point victory just days after polls showed him tied or trailing sanders and former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

Here’s Dan Balz of the Washington Post:

There are few commodities more valuable in political campaigns than momentum, and, right now, Biden is blessed with it in abundance for the first time in his campaign. Biden had a noticeable deficit in money and organization in the Super Tuesday states, compared with the well-resourced and well-organized Sanders.

The rapid consolidation around Biden’s candidacy has given him what Sanders’s money and ground game could not produce, and the results Tuesday put the former vice president in position to compete on at least an even basis with the senator from Vermont for supremacy in the contest to become the party’s nominee.

Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns of the New York Times put it this way:

The Democratic presidential race emerged from Super Tuesday with two clear front-runners as Joseph R. Biden Jr. won Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and at least six other states, largely through support from African-Americans and moderates, while Senator Bernie Sanders harnessed the backing of liberals and young voters to claim the biggest prize of the campaign, California, and several other primaries.

The returns across the country on the biggest night of voting suggested that the Democratic contest was increasingly focused on two candidates who are standard-bearers for competing wings of the party, Mr. Biden in the political center and Mr. Sanders on the left. Their two other major rivals, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Michael R. Bloomberg, were on track to finish well behind them and faced an uncertain path forward.

And here’s Stephen Collinson of CNN:

Joe Biden just pulled off the biggest, fastest and most unexpected comeback in modern political history.

Nothing about the former vice president’s electoral history, hitherto lackluster campaign and the dynamics of this presidential race suggested his Super Tuesday rampage.

The former vice president’s three White House campaigns were a punchline until Saturday. It took the 78-year-old 33 years to win a single nominating contest. Now he’s suddenly turned into a primary machine, reeling off 10 wins in a span of four nights.

The apparent bottom line: The Democratic Party — a party that is now increasingly based in populations of color — will now have to choose between two older white men for the right to oppose Donald Trump in the fall. Whichever of the two has the most success in connecting with those constituencies seems likely to secure the nomination.

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