What Happened in South Carolina

Last night proved our thesis of the race – once the coalition that looks like the Democratic Party starts to vote, this would turn into a two-person.  Following up on the second-place finish in Nevada, Joe Biden proved the pundits wrong, with an overwhelming win in South Carolina that was far beyond what was expected.  He not only won by nearly 29oints, but he swept every single county in the state. 

It is clear that Joe Biden has real momentum.   After four contests, Joe Biden leads the popular vote among the first four states, and is nearly in a dead-heat when it comes to delegates.  Imagine how the media would be talking about this race if the first four states had voted at the same time.

Equally as important, exit polls are showing Joe Biden won among the Democratic party’s core constituency – African American voters – with more than 60% of the vote.   In fact, exit polls also show that African American voters under 45 and liberal African American voters both backed Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders.

Moving forward this is key:   Five of the Super Tuesday states have electorates where at least 30% of the likely vote will come from the African American community – and a total of nine states in total during March will see at least 25% of their vote come from African Americans.

In addition, we saw Biden’s win driven by a large gender gap – winning women by 31% statewide – which helped to drive him to a ten point win among white voters.  Here at Unite the Country, we see white women 40+ as a group that is increasingly favorable towards Joe Biden.

South Carolina picks Presidents, as both President Clinton and Obama showed – and South Carolina voters are similarly aligned, in both demographics and ideology with the voters in Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and looking forward beyond Super Tuesday, to states like Missouri, Mississippi, Florida, and Georgia, all that vote in March.

The South Carolina results also reveal quite a bit about Bernie Sanders’ shortcomings. Putting aside his defense of Fidel Castro and attempts or that he likely puts the Democratic House majority in jeopardy, Bernie Sanders is also not expanding his appeal. Last night, it appears that he did as well with African American voters as he did in 2016.

Another thing we know for certain is that it’s time for the billionaires to exit the race. For the fourth consecutive state, Tom Steyer’s support, built on the backs of unprecedented early state spending, collapsed when voters went to make a choice, just as polling has shown Michael Bloomberg’s numbers fall as more and more voters get to take a close look at him.

Bloomberg’s $500 million in advertising is basically serving as the Bernie Sanders Super PAC, dividing the large share of Democratic voters who do not identify in the super-liberal lane of the party.  His entire argument for existence was Joe Biden stumbling – and after four states, Joe Biden has received more votes than anyone.  Mayor Bloomberg should decide soon if he wants to be the reason why Bernie Sanders is the nominee of the party.

Joe Biden’s momentum heading out of South Carolina is real. The enthusiasm is significant. He is generating endorsements from leaders in key states, such as former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and current Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott.

The contours of this nomination battle are clear. As former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said last night, “I think this is a two-person race right now. There’s only two people I think are going to accept our party’s nomination. It’s either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden.”

We need your help more than ever.  As Bloomberg has shown, the budget we could spend in March is essentially infinite, and while we will never have those resources, we need to significantly expand what we are doing on Super Tuesday and beyond in order to put the race in a strong position at the end of the month.