Over the course of the last 48 hours, the Democratic Party has made one thing perfectly clear. They do not intend to allow Bernie Sanders to be their nominee. In fact, they will stop at nothing to prevent that from happening. Which is why, in the days leading up until Super Tuesday, lesser moderate candidates were squeezed out, giving full access of the moderate lane to former vice president Joe Biden.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar was the latest Democratic centrist candidate to quit the presidential race ahead of Super Tuesday. Given that her home state, Minnesota, would vote that day, the timing is significant.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar was the latest Democratic centrist candidate to quit the presidential race ahead of Super Tuesday — which included the primary of her own state.
Klobuchar’s decision came after a disappointing finish in South Carolina over the weekend. She placed sixth, trailing all her other major rivals. Her fundraising dried up after getting just 3% of the votes. In the state where black voters constitute the majority of Democratic base, Klobuchar’s numbers were worrisome.
The third-term lawmaker built her campaign on a moderate platform, often touting her ability to unite both Democrats and Republicans, as well her appeal to Midwestern voters. She finished fifth in the Iowa caucus and earned a third place win in New Hampshire. Her strong debate performance helped boost her numbers.
In Nevada, with more diverse voters, Sen. Klobuchar failed to sustain her debate momentum and slumped back to sixth place behind all the other major candidates.
Klobuchar Joins Biden
Still, the timing of her dropout seems more than coincidental. With her home state on the line, it seemed an odd time to drop out suddenly. But she followed other Democrats in doing so and joined a coalition in Texas on Monday night to endorse Biden.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to end my campaign than joining his,” the senator said appearing in a Dallas rally to endorse Biden.
“We need to unite our party and our country and to do it not just with our words, but with our actions,” she said.
Buttigieg Joins In
But Klobuchar wasn’t the only mid-tier moderate to join the Biden camp on Monday. Her bitter debate rival, former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, also came to Texas shortly after suspending his campaign over the weekend.
He ended his own bid for president on Sunday, admitting that he had little chance of winning the Democratic nomination.
“When I ran for president, we made it clear that the whole idea was about rallying the country together to beat Donald Trump … and it is in the name of that very same goal that I am delighted to endorse and support Joe Biden for president,” Buttigieg said.
.@PeteButtigieg: "I'm looking for a leader. I'm looking for a president who will draw out what is best in each of us, and I'm encouraging everybody who was part of my campaign to join me because we have found that leader in Vice President – soon to be President – @JoeBiden." pic.twitter.com/4FKvJiHVVh
— Matt Hill (@thematthill) March 3, 2020
Buttigieg described Biden as a “leader who will draw out what is best in each of us.”
Biden stood by his rivals-turned-comrades and called for support from Sen. Klobuchar and Mayor Buttigieg’s supporters.
“For all of Amy and Pete’s millions of supporters: the door is open, come on in,” the former VP said. He touted his admiration for the South Bend mayor’s “historic… and brave campaign” being the first major openly-gay presidential candidate. He also praised Sen. Klobuchar for being “one of the hardest workers I know.”
An Old Friend Reappears
But in the eyes of the Democratic Party, even these two major endorsements weren’t enough to certify the defeat of Bernie Sanders. They brought out another old rival on the Democratic stage, local Texas politician and short-term presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.
O’Rourke, who dropped out of the race back in November, also announced he is voting for Biden.
“I will be casting my ballot for Joe Biden,” the former Texas lawmaker told Biden’s Dallas rally. “Let me tell you why: we need somebody who can beat Donald Trump.”
In exchange, the former VP hinted afterward that O’Rourke could hold a future role related to gun control in his administration once president.
Last night during his rally, Joe promised that if president, Beto "will be the one who leads" his gun control efforts.
Remember when Beto screamed, "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15?"
They all want the same things: gun bans and confiscation. We must STAND and FIGHT. pic.twitter.com/BJJDEOzW68
— NRA (@NRA) March 3, 2020
As the above tweet indicates, that partnership might create problems for Biden nationally if he does secure the nomination. But in the short term, as he tries to secure Texas’ delegates, O’Rourke’s support will be a tremendous victory for him.
Today is the Day
Super Tuesday is here now, and by tomorrow morning, we may have a very clear picture of the road forward in the Democratic Party.
With the new endorsements, Biden is expected to become the primary opponent to current frontrunner Bernie Sanders. Yes, Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren are still in the race, but their paths to a nomination are nonexistent. Currently, Sanders has 60 delegates to Biden’s 54.
Of course, these events weren’t going to pass without comment from the Oval Office. President Trump renewed his warning that the Democrats are again rigging the primary against Sen. Sanders — a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist.
They are staging a coup against Bernie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2020
Whether coordinated or not, the turn of events is eerily similar to the Democrats’ last primary. Then, it was Clinton who received mainstream support while Sanders was silenced. This time, it will be Biden. But there is no question that the Vermont senator-turned-frontrunner will not go away without a fight.