This morning, the Trump team went on the air in South Carolina with a negative ad against Joe Biden – just as they did in Nevada, once again making it clear who in the Democratic primary they fear the most.
Between Joe Biden’s strong debate last night, and this morning’s endorsement from House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) in South Carolina, Biden is to follow up on his comeback 2nd place finish in Nevada with a victory in South Carolina, with a favorable map on Super Tuesday ahead.
The biggest challenge facing Joe Biden and our goal of helping him to a big night on March 3rd isn’t Bernie Sanders, or any of the other candidates who have been on the debate stage over the summer. Rather, his biggest challenge is the work Michael Bloomberg is doing to divide the moderate vote to the benefit of Bernie Sanders. In fact, today, it is fair to argue that the single best thing Bernie Sanders has going into Super Tuesday is Mayor Bloomberg.
This is the reality of the situation. Mayor Bloomberg made the decision to not compete in the first four states (even though he announced before the filing deadlines in all four), allowing him to saturate the airwaves uncontested in the March 3rd states. However, as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, while his support has stalled – and even decreased in the Super Tuesday states, the blunt force of $500,000,000 in ads has accomplished one thing: further divided the moderate/liberal lane and simply lowered the necessary win number for Sanders in a number of big southern states.
For example, take Texas. Polling today shows a jump ball race between Biden and Sanders at 24%, with Mayor Bloomberg taking 17% of the vote. When they remove Bloomberg from the poll, Biden jumps to 31% with a six-point lead over Sanders – and poised to win a solid plurality of delegates from the state. In North Carolina, a similar trend is in place, with Biden leading Sanders by 3, with Bloomberg in 3rd, once again using his ads to divide up support among the non-Bernie candidates. We know Bernie is going to get his 20-30% of the vote in most places – but the Bloomberg’s ads have the effect of blocking Biden from getting a strong plurality in these states, while allowing Bernie to build up a delegate lead while Bloomberg divides up the other lane in the race.
Joe Biden is best positioned of the Democrats in the race to have a solid month of March. More than 75% three-quarters of the delegates awarded in March come from states where at least 30% of the vote comes from communities of color. Of these states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia are all home to African American populations that will make up at least 20% of the electorate on the days their state will vote.
As we saw this week with his strong defense of Fidel Castro, a Sanders nomination is problematic for beating President Trump – and for House and Senate candidates in swing districts and purple states. Joe Biden is demonstrating he can build the type of diverse coalition needed to win the nomination and defeat Trump, but as long as Mayor Bloomberg continues to divide up the non-Sanders lane, there is a very real chance the biggest beneficiary of his ads will be Bernie Sanders.