Joe Biden Blowout In South Carolina Could Stop Bernie Sanders From Winning Nomination, Say Insiders

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to guests during a campaign stop in Conway, South Carolina.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden entered the Democratic Party presidential race as the clear frontrunner, and continued polling as one until weeks before the Iowa caucuses. But Biden collapsed in both Iowa and New Hampshire, finishing fourth in the former and coming in fifth in the latter. In Nevada, he finished some thirty percentage points behind Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the new national frontrunner.

The former vice president could nevertheless make a comeback, according to some Democratic strategists and donors. Per The Hill, although Biden’s path to the nomination is still unclear, a commanding victory in South Carolina could at the very least stop Sanders from winning the nomination on the first ballot and generate momentum for Biden’s campaign.

As Basil Smikle, who served as the executive director of the New York State Democratic Party, put it, “A Biden win turns the tide.” Nevertheless, according to The Hill‘s sources, stars need to align for Biden to have a shot at stopping Sanders and winning the nomination.

Firstly, Biden needs a big win in the Palmetto State, where he has long been the frontrunner. Polling suggests that he still is, and some polls show him leading Sanders by as much as 20 points. Secondly, Biden would have to turn the hypothetical South Carolina victory into Super Tuesday momentum. Lastly, according to donors and strategists, billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would have to drop out of the race soon for Biden to be able to consolidate the centrist vote.

According to a donor neutral in the primary race, however, “the likelihood of all three of those is slim.” According to the individual, the most likely scenario — apart from Sanders going into the convention with more than 51 percent of the delegates — is Biden and other candidates winning just enough delegates to ensure a contested convention, which would activate the superdelegates who are under no obligation to respect the will of the people.

A major obstacle standing in Biden’s way is Sanders’ advantage in Super Tuesday stats. The Vermont senator has dedicated a significant amount of resources to a number of states scheduled to vote on March 3, and seems poised to cruise to victory in a number of primary contests, including the delegate-rich California. This would make his delegate lead virtually insurmountable.

“If we’re in a strong position coming out of Super Tuesday, Bloomberg needs to weigh his options or Bernie is going to win,” a Biden ally told The Hill. “He said he got into this race because he felt like we couldn’t win. But that changes, I would think, if we’re winning.”