The best of all possible primary results!

Post Joe

I was really hopeful, but I never would have guessed that, once South Carolina FINALLY got to have its say, things would have gone as wonderfully as this.


The best shot I could get from where I was standing.


South Carolina DELIVERED.

Now, finally, you can see national media — who have seized every opportunity to be as dismissive of Joe as possible — saying that he has emerged as the man to stop Bernie Sanders.

Joe was always the candidate for real Democrats wanting to save their party, and beat Trump. (And he was the candidate for a lot of us independents, too.) People — especially African-American voters — in South Carolina knew that. Today, they told the rest of the country.

And the rest of the country is taking note.

Will it be easy? No. This helps on Super Tuesday, but it’s impossible to predict anything with so many variables. But right now, at this moment, the race has taken on its proper shape, and I am hopeful.

Just a few thoughts before I sign off for the night:

  • Now, the only person who might be able to contest for the role of moderate savior of the party is Mike Bloomberg, who has been spending like crazy trying to win Super Tuesday while everyone else was campaigning. After Tuesday, we’ll know whether he’ll still be a factor or not. But even though he wasn’t on our ballot, South Carolina has passed judgment on him — only about a fourth of voters viewed him favorably in exit polls. Biden was favored by about three-fourths of respondents.
  • Tom Steyer, the guy who spent $23 million just on media trying to be a spoiler in South Carolina, has dropped out. I don’t know why he was disappointed at the result. He got third place. But he won’t be terribly missed as we go forward.
  • Will one of the other moderates — say Amy Klobuchar — drop out and throw her support to Joe? Or just drop out, in which case Joe is the most likely beneficiary anyway.
  • Pete Buttigieg will probably wait and see if he does better on Tuesday. If he doesn’t, he will likely quit. And when he does, he should leave the race feeling pretty good about how well he did. He made a tremendous, positive impression on the country, and has laid a good foundation for a stronger run when he has more life experience under his belt.
  • Thank you, Jim Clyburn. The country owes you one. I think Joe would have won without your endorsement, but he wouldn’t have won like THIS.
  • Joe got more votes than Sanders, Steyer, Buttigieg and Warren combined. Just in case you didn’t notice…
  • Also, notice the map of South Carolina in the screenshot below. You can take a closer look here. Joe won every single county in the state.

That’s all for now.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to see what happens next…


22 thoughts on “The best of all possible primary results!

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    As a postscript — a lot of people, and not just Democrats, liked this Tweet tonight from Tyler Jones:

    Absolutely. We all wasted too much time and energy these last weeks talking about what all those white people in Iowa and New Hampshire want…

    1. Phillip

      But should we waste time and energy talking about what the verdict is of Democrats in a state where the standard-bearer (regardless of who it is) has NO chance of carrying in November? Moreover, while we can agree that for various reasons Iowa and New Hampshire are not terribly representative of the Democratic electorate as a whole, a chart like this one will show you that SC is actually also about as unlike the Democratic electorate as a whole as is possible (46th out of 50 states—Illinois is the closest match to the national Democratic party as a whole). For these two reasons one can make the case that SC would also be an odd choice to go first in the nation.

      Actually, no one state should be first in the nation. We should go to a series of Super Tuesdays, with about 1/5 of the states (widely distributed geographically and demographically) in each clump, and rotate these groups each election.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Hmmm… I’m not sure I like that idea. If you have a series of Super Tuesdays, then the candidate with the most resources, such as Bloomberg, has an enormous — and I would say unfair — advantage. That’s why he skipped everything before Super Tuesday.

        I have a similar objection to having big states like Illinois go first — the emphasis becomes on purchased media rather than retail politics.

        I think it’s better to have a mix of large and small individual states early on. Allow candidates to be test-marketed. Open in New Haven before you go to Broadway.

        And as to this: “But should we waste time and energy talking about what the verdict is of Democrats in a state where the standard-bearer (regardless of who it is) has NO chance of carrying in November?”

        Yes, we should, and it’s not a waste to give people whose votes count for nothing in November a chance to have a real impact as citizens on the selection of our president.

        A Democrat in South Carolina is just as worthy and valuable as a Democrat in Illinois, and just as deserving of consideration.

        In fact, I would argue, perhaps more so. First, it takes guts and perseverance to continue to be a Democrat in a state where you get slam-dunked in every election. You have to really believe in your principles.

        Second, South Carolina Democrats are more moderate than those in big, blue states. Therefore their choices will be closer to the choices who MIGHT appeal to independents and perhaps, if things go really well, some disaffected Republicans.

        Which means they are more likely to pick someone who can win the election….

        1. Mr. Smith

          “A Democrat in South Carolina is just as worthy and valuable as a Democrat in Illinois, and just as deserving of consideration.”

          Except in the fall — when voting D in SC counts for about as much as warmed-over spit.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            And that’s why I think they deserve to have as much consideration as possible during the nomination process — because they have no effect later. They deserve to have a say at SOME point…

          2. Mark Stewart

            I feel Jaime Harrison is going to have a better shot than anyone else has had at unseating Lindsey this November. From the way that Graham has slunk back into the shadows I think he knows this, too. Will be an interesting race if Biden holds his shtick together and is the reasonable, responsible adult to Trump’s romper room toddlerisms.

              1. Barry

                That’s a funny tweet given the dependence S.C. has on the federal government and from a state that owns a huge electric cooperative. LOL

  2. Doug T

    Amy and Liz should stick around until after Super Tuesday to keep Bernie’s vote down in Minn and Mass. Bloomberg may end up as Steyer after Tuse.

  3. bud

    Congratulations to the VP. Time to feel the Bern and make SC a Pyrrhic victory for Biden.

  4. Mr. Smith

    Sorry to rain on this parade (again). But by Tuesday evening Biden’s performance in SC is very likely to quickly fade into the foggy past. He simply lacks the resources and infrastructure in the Super Tuesday states to sustain that result. And he cannot rely on the Black vote, because in most of those states it is not significant — and those Black voters tend not to be as conservative as in SC, where conservatism practically bubbles up from the water table.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You’re not raining on anything. As I said, “Will it be easy? No. This helps on Super Tuesday, but it’s impossible to predict anything with so many variables.”

      We know that Joe is at a relative disadvantage in the Super Tuesday states, because he spent time and other resources on South Carolina instead of those states — and to tremendous effect.

      Here’s what’s NOT going to happen: He isn’t going to win in Super Tuesday states the way he did in South Carolina. Lightning doesn’t strike everywhere at once, not the way it did here.

      What IS likely to happen is that he’ll do better than he would have done had he lost here, or had a weak win. And Sanders, and possibly Bloomberg, will do a little worse (although conventional wisdom has it that Sanders has California sewn up).

      It’s all about one of the most absurd factors in politics — the bandwagon effect. I’ve always thought it ridiculous that people will vote for someone because other people are voting for him or her — why wouldn’t a person vote for the candidate he or she thinks will do the best job, regardless of what others think — but there’s no denying that it happens. And Bernie lost some of that yesterday, while Biden recharged his supply, and then some.

      Will that mean he’ll come out on top in a state where he would have been a distant fourth before yesterday? Probably not, but he’ll do better.

      Almost as important as how Biden and Sanders do is how Bloomberg does in these states where he’s spent all that money, the first states where he’s on the ballot. His strategy depended on shock and awe on Super Tuesday. Can he still achieve that? It’s in some doubt.

      But here’s the most important thing: Unless Bloomberg triumphs Tuesday big-time, this race has a new central narrative. We now have the beginning of an answer to the question, which moderate can emerge to stop Sanders?

      If Bloomberg fizzles on Tuesday, he may throw up his hands and quit. If Biden does better than Buttigieg and Klobuchar on Tuesday, they should drop out; they’ll only be doing themselves and the party harm by staying in.

      If, if, if, right? But here’s the thing — those ifs would likely have been impossibilities before Saturday. Now, they’re quite tantalizing.

      What Joe’s stunning victory yesterday did was provide hope for a path away from a Sanders nomination. Hope for the party, and hope for the nation. And that is a huge thing.

      So rain on the parade all you like. You can’t diminish the joy in what just happened…

        1. Bill

          Not to worry…
          I saw Pete on TV,going into a hotel w/his new bodyguard(?) and started worrying about a scandal..
          Joe’s gonna make him VP and call him,”Petey”..
          Kamala ain’t playing.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          This seems precipitous. Why didn’t he wait until after Tuesday?

          Still, as Michael Corleone said about Tessio, Pete was always the smart one. He gets out now, making room for the eventual nominee, and the party will be grateful to him, which helps when he runs again. He’ll still be a prime presidential age if he waits 20 years. He’d be no older than some running hard now if he waited 40 years.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s an interesting question, Mr. Jones. (I like it: “>Mr. Smith, meet Mr. Jones.)

      I would love to think that some of Joe’s votes were Never Trumpers, trying to help the Democrats come up with someone who might beat Trump. But there’s no way to be sure of that.

      However, there are some indications that Operation Chaos DID turn out a few Republicans who tried to sabotage the Democrats by voting for Sanders.

      Take a look at the results for our two neighboring counties:

      In Richland, a strongly Democratic county, Joe got 51.9 percent of the vote, and Sanders got 17.7 percent.

      In Lexington, one of the most Republican counties anywhere, Joe only got 39.9 percent of the vote — still a big win, but 12 points lower than in Richland. And Bernie got 23.6 — 6 points higher than in Richland.

      Bernie did even better in Greenville — 24.7 percent to Joe’s 38.2.

      Makes you wonder how big Joe’s victory margin would have been without Republican interference….

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    I decided to go with a straightforward celebratory headline on this post, but that wasn’t my first instinct.

    The victory was SO awesome, so far beyond what most people would have hoped for, that I thought of emphasizing it with ironic understatement. So my first pick for a headline was, “Yeah…That went well…”

    I was in a “let’s have fun with this” mood.

    I was even going to link to this clip of Capt. Malcolm Reynolds saying that line:

    But I decided it would confuse non-Firefly fans.

    That clip appears at the start of the episode, and the rest of the episode is a flashback leading back up to that moment. The story tells how Mal came to be sitting there naked, alone in the desert.

    SPOILER ALERT: That makes the person watching think he’s being sarcastic, that obviously something has gone terribly wrong.

    But Joss Whedon was playing with us. Turns out everything has gone perfectly, totally according to plan.

    It’s a very satisfying episode, not least because it has Christina Hendricks in it as Mal’s adversary and inadvertent wife, Saffron. But of course, ALL “Firefly” episodes are satisfying…

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