Biden-Bernie showdown day one: March 10 primaries
The delegates from six states are up for grabs tomorrow.
Yes, Tulsi Gabbard is still running for president. But beyond the resilient Hawaii representative — who’s only won one delegate from American Samoa — it’s a two-horse race down the stretch between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Early on, Sanders looked the strongest candidate as Biden stumbled out of the gate. However, after winning South Carolina in a landslide and capturing the most delegates on Super Tuesday, Biden now sits in the driver’s seat with 664 delegates. Sanders is second with 573.
The amount of delegates needed for the Democratic nomination is 1,991.
March 10 may not be as significant a voting Tuesday as last week’s Super Tuesday, but the delegates of six states will be up for grabs.
They include, in order from most to least delegates: Michigan (125 delegates), Washington (89 delegates), Missouri (68 delegates), Mississippi (36 delegates), Idaho (20 delegates), North Dakota (14 delegates).
Of those six, Michigan is the state where most eyes will be focused. With 125 delegates, its results will have the most impact on the overall race and it represents a potential point of redemption for the Democratic party from four years ago.
During the general election in 2016, Michigan, along with Wisconsin and Pennsylvania went in favor of Donald Trump, all by less than 100,000 votes. This partial collapse of the Democratic blue wall was key in Trump’s victory.
In the lead up to March 10, both Biden and Sanders got a chance to regain some of the electorate that either went for Trump in 2016, or didn’t vote at all because of a lack of engagement.
Biden’s strategy has been to highlight President Obama’s bailout of the auto industry in the aftermath of the 2008 recession and also rely on an African-American vote that carried him to victory in South Carolina and many southern states on Super Tuesday.
Sanders canceled a visit to Mississippi to hold rallies in Flint, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor (the University of Michigan) and Dearborn — home to a large Arab-American population.
After a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday, Sanders stuck by his campaign’s plan to engage young people in hopes they translate into a new, powerful electorate, but admitted more needed to be done.
In Michigan, he needs to appeal to a large working-class white and black population. The black population particularly, were those most often ignored in 2016.
Biden wins favor among most black voters across the country, but that could change with Sanders winning the endorsement of Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition.
As for Latinos, Sanders’ nationwide approach for them likely won’t make much of a difference in Michigan. According to Pew, they make up a little more than 5% of the state’s overall population (about 515,000 people) and of the electorate, only 3.5% (or approximately 251,000 people).
Michigan is also an open closed primary, meaning voters don’t have to register with a party to participate and instead, must choose a party ballot when they get to the polling station.
A heavy loss for Sanders in Michigan will severely damage his path to the Democratic nomination.
One day before the primary, Biden still holds major advantages across most polls in the state, with some putting him as high as 24 points above Sanders. Biden is banking on big poll leads in Detroit to carry over on March 10.
Despite being a massive underdog, it’s a position familiar to Sanders in Michigan. In 2016, he trailed Hillary Clinton in most polls heading into the day, but eked out a small victory to keep his campaign alive.
This time, the task looks a lot tougher, but only tomorrow will tell.
Of the remaining five states, Biden is expected to win big Mississippi, but Sanders could potentially pull out victories in Idaho and North Dakota like he did in 2016.
Missouri, like Michigan, is also an open primary. Sanders beat Clinton there in 2016, but this time around Biden holds a slim lead in polls and a larger one among voters of color.
Washington state was also once a surefire state for Sanders, but Biden looks to have closed the gap.