By Eva Lynch
Former mayor Pete Buttigieg and lesser known candidate Tom Steyer dropped out of the 2020 Presidential race on Sunday, quickly followed by Senator Amy Klobuchar on Monday. Following former Vice President Joe Biden’s victory in South Carolina, the dwindling Super Tuesday ticket features Senator Bernie Sanders, Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and former mayor Mike Bloomberg.
The three rapid departures from the race can be speculatively credited to a combination of Super Tuesday looming and the increasing gap between the two front runners, Sanders and Biden, and the rest of the candidates. Following news of their exits, many Democrats are taking their departure as the DNC’s eleventh-hour attempt to ensure Sanders is not the one to ultimately face President Trump. As Sanders has climbed further and further away from the rest of the pack, sentiments of doubt have arisen among Democrats, worrying that such a far left-leaning candidate will not close out the quest to defeat Trump. Further, many fear that if elected, the Sanders administration will follow in the same vein as Trump’s: disregarding party values and all political rules in favor of perpetuating his own enlightened agenda.
Klobuchar and Buttigieg are among those embracing this last-ditch effort, the former of which endorsed Biden on Monday and the latter of which is expected to do so later this week. The two latest drop-outs join a long list of centrist endorsements of Biden, whose victory in South Carolina proved instrumental in keeping him in a tight race with Sanders. Recent polls show moderate voters rapidly throwing their support behind Biden to avoid a choice between two evils: Sanders and Trump.
Also feeling the weight of Super Tuesday is Bloomberg; reports of talks between Bloomberg and Biden’s campaign staffs reflect increasing pressure for Bloomberg to drop out as well. He entered the race while Biden was struggling and rose to the top quickly because of this opportune timing; however, donors who switched to Bloomberg following Biden’s briefly declining polling numbers are reportedly threatening to switch back to Biden. Super Tuesday, falling on March 3 this year, is the day when more delegates will be collected than any other day of the election cycle, representing the most important day of the primary race. According to NBC News, over one million voters across more than a dozen states have cast their votes, either through early voting or by mail-in ballot. With more than 1,300 delegates at stake, combined with the 155 already collected from earlier-voting states, almost 40% of the delegates will have been awarded following Tuesday’s votes. Sanders will look to sweep delegate-heavy states with large Latino populations, like Texas and California, and Biden will look to prove his South Carolina win extends across the country. Most notably, Tuesday is the first time Bloomberg’s name will appear on the ballot; few projections about his Super Tuesday showing have been made as everyone waits to see how the wild-card will perform.