History didn’t repeat itself in Michigan for Bernie Sanders.
And because of that, the populist U.S. senator from Vermont had an extremely disappointing evening on “Super Tuesday II” last night and now faces daunting delegate math that leaves him slipping swiftly out of reach of the Democratic presidential nomination.
As of this morning, Biden grew his lead over Sanders in the race for delegates, with 823 delegates to the Vermont senator’s 663.
Just four years ago, it was in Michigan where Sanders pulled off a historic upset over eventual nominee Hillary Clinton. At the time, the victory kept his White House bid alive.
Fast forward four years later and Sanders – down in the public opinion polls by double digits once again in the Great Lake State – was convincingly defeated by former Vice President Joe Biden.
Four years ago Sanders nearly topped Clinton in Missouri. This time around he lost the state by a nearly 2-to-1 margin to Biden. And the former vice president trounced Sanders in Mississippi and won in Idaho as well.
Sanders – who won a landslide victory in the 2016 Washington state caucuses – was neck and neck with Biden in the state’s 2020 primary with just over two-thirds of the vote counted. Biden initially had the slight edge in Idaho – with more than three-quarters of the vote counted — and was eventually declared the winner.
Sanders was up in North Dakota’s caucuses, where only 14 delegates were up for grabs.
Biden’s blockbuster performance boosted his lead in the all-important race for presidential convention delegates and further cemented his status as the undisputed front-runner for the Democratic nomination. And Biden’s strong performance presented Sanders with a difficult choice to make on whether to continue his White House bid.
In a remarkable and uncharacteristic move, Sanders opted not to deliver a primary night address, passing on the opportunity to speak to a national audience.
Biden, speaking near his national campaign headquarters in Philadelphia on Tuesday night after canceling a rally in Cleveland due to coronavirus concerns – and after an ugly clash with an auto worker in Michigan earlier in the day — reached out to Sanders and his legions of supporters with an olive branch.
“I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless energy and their passion. We share a common goal and together we’ll defeat Donald Trump. We’ll defeat him together,” Biden said.
Sanders flew home to Burlington, Vt., after also canceling a primary night campaign rally in Cleveland due to coronavirus concerns. Huddling with his advisers, the senator now faces a primary calendar that doesn’t get any easier.
The four major states that hold primaries next week – Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Arizona – were states that Sanders lost to Clinton four years ago.