Joe Biden swept all nine Democratic primaries that were held on Tuesday but is still short of capturing a majority of delegates that would put him over the top and quell grumbling in the party that someone else should be the nominee.
In truth, there was no suspense about the outcome. Biden doesn’t have any opposition. But it’s telling that despite not running against anyone, Biden has not yet clinched the nomination.
In all, nine states and the District of Columbia held primary elections to decide a series of state and federal contests, including the 2020 presidential race. With no real competition, Biden and US President Donald Trump easily won their respective primary elections in Indiana, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Mexico, Montana and the night’s biggest prize: Pennsylvania. Biden also won South Dakota.
Voters practiced social distancing and wore masks as they stood in line. But it’s a sign of the times that many were still waiting to vote after the polls closed while fretting that they would be out after curfews imposed in some cities.
Voters waited in long lines hours after polls closed in some cases, brushing up against curfews in Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, two cities rocked by protests following the police killing of George Floyd. Officials in both places said voters wouldn’t be arrested for breaking curfew, but thousands of protesters defied the mayors’ orders at the same time, setting up a potential clash with law enforcement agencies and National Guard troops patrolling the streets during a fifth night of social unrest.
Biden is still waiting to clinch because some die-hard socialists can’t bring themselves to vote for anyone but their hero, Bernie Sanders.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is not actively campaigning, having suspended his operation and endorsed Biden, but his name will appear on the ballots. On the eve of Tuesday’s primaries, senior adviser Jeff Weaver encouraged progressives to vote for Sanders anyway.
“People who support Bernie Sanders and his agenda, who want to maximize the influence of progressives at the convention, should cast their vote for Bernie Sanders,” Weaver said, reminding voters that the Vermont senator is seeking leverage to shape the party’s platform and rules.
That Biden is still having trouble placating the radical left is not surprising. In order to do that, he’s probably going to have to give them a free hand on writing the party platform. It won’t be pretty. Democratic politicians from all across the country are going to have to run on that platform and there is going to be significant pushback from less crazy elements of the party against some of the kookier ideas.
But the Democratic Party is now the radical’s party. They will get most of what they want as far as social policy and the economic planks in the platform that will make many of us pine for the days of George McGovern and Ted Kennedy.
Unfortunately, voters don’t pay much attention to party platforms. But the blueprint for an American “transformation” will be right there, in black and white, for all to see.