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Late changes upend Democratic race on eve of Super Tuesday

With one lopsided result in one Southern US state and a pair of prominent withdrawals, a lot has changed in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Saturday’s results in the South Carolina primary, in which Joe Biden trounced frontrunner Bernie Sanders by more than 28 percentage points, had already thrown a ratchet into the…

Late changes upend Democratic race on eve of Super Tuesday

With one lopsided result in one Southern US state and a pair of prominent withdrawals, a lot has changed in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Saturday’s results in the South Carolina primary, in which Joe Biden trounced frontrunner Bernie Sanders by more than 28 percentage points, had already thrown a ratchet into the convoluted race, puncturing the aura of inevitability that surrounded Sanders.
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Then, the unexpected withdrawals of Pete Buttigieg on Sunday night and Amy Klobuchar on Monday afternoon turned what had been a multi-person race into one with four viable candidates, all of them in their 70s and from states in the northeast corner of the country – Sanders, Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg.
The fifth Democrat still standing, Tulsi Gabbard, is polling just over 1 percent in national polls.
Tuesday’s primary votes in 14 states are the closest thing the US has to a national primary. More than two-thirds of the delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination – 1,357 out of the 1,991 needed – at the party’s convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July are up for grabs.
California and Texas are the day’s biggest prizes, with 415 and 228 delegates, respectively. California, the most populous US state, held its primary in June during the 2016 presidential race but opted to return as a Super Tuesday state this cycle to try to increase its influence.

‘Joementum’
After Biden’s big victory in South Carolina, Buttigieg and Klobuchar both united behind him.
“I’m looking for a leader, I’m looking for a president, who will draw out what’s best in each of us,” Buttigieg said as he stood on stage alongside Biden at a rally in Dallas. “We have found that leader in vice president, soon-to-be president, Joe Biden.”
Speaking at another campaign stop later in the night, Klobuchar called for unity: “If we spend the next four months dividing our party and going at each other we will spend the next four year watching Donald Trump tear apart our country,” she said. “We need to unite our party and our country.”
While, the result in South Carolina was one of the best nights of Biden’s political career, his first primary victory in three presidential runs, Biden still trails Sanders in the delegate count and most national polls.
He has followed the win with back-to-back days of five-million-dollar fundraising hauls, by far the best 48-hour stretch of his campaign, and a newfound momentum, or “Joementum”, as his supporters have taken to calling it, that came with a number of high-profile endorsements.
“Democrats need a candidate who can assemble the largest, most diverse coalition possible to defeat Trump and lead our country following the trauma of Trump’s presidency,” said former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Monday’s endorsements. “That candidate is Joe Biden.”
Buttigieg and Klobuchar’s departures have left Biden alone in the middle of the ideological stage with one exception: Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg, the former New York City Mayor, has spent more than $500m on his campaign so far, and Tuesday will be the first time he actually appears on a ballot. Despite poor debate performances, the Bloomberg advertising juggernaut has boosted him into third place in national polls behind Sanders and Biden.
Establishment Democrats, fearful that Bloomberg’s continued presence in the race will siphon off moderate voters and favour Sanders, have quietly urged him to follow the other moderates’ lead and drop out of the race. He has so far resisted.
“I’ve won three elections so far. I don’t plan to start losing now!” Bloomberg said at an event in Virginia on Monday.

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